Everyone loves mozzarella sticks––really, who wouldn’t? They are undoubtedly one of the country’s most beloved snacks. In fact, you will find them on the menu of just about every restaurant ranging from your local burger joint to your favorite gyro spot. Despite its popularity, it’s still surprising how little many people know about this wonderfully cheesy snack. Many of you may be surprised to find that this snack actually has an interesting and colorful story attached to it.
To correct this great injustice and to enrich your knowledge of food history, we’ve prepared a brief recap of the history of the humble mozzarella stick. If you want to know more about this, read on as we discuss the complicated and surprising origins of mozzarella sticks.
The First Mozzarella Stick
While you may think that mozzarella sticks are a fairly new creation, the concept of breaded cheese sticks has actually been around for quite a while. The first mention of it can be traced back to Paris, France, in the late 14th century. A recipe for a breaded cheese sticks dish called pipefarce can be found in the Le Menagier de Paris cookbook. However, the recipe called for the use of muenster cheese instead of mozzarella. This isn’t too surprising as mozzarella cheese wasn’t that common outside of Italy back in the day.
While the pipefarce is similar to the modern-day mozzarella stick, the two dishes are still quite different. So, when was the first mozzarella stick that we know and love today invented?
You may be surprised to know that the dish doesn’t originate in Italy. However, the Italian influence is vital to the creation of the snack. This is because the dish was first served in pizza joints in the United States. As you may know, pizza was brought about by the surge of Italian immigrants back in the 1880s.
The Mix of Italian and American Influences
Now, you may be a little confused. How is a dish that comes from Italian immigrants not considered to be Italian in origin? Well, you have to understand that Italian-American food is quite different from Italian food. This isn’t to say that one is better than the other, but it’s important to acknowledge the difference between the two. A great example of this would be Italian pizza. Italian pizza is made with hand-pulled dough, fresh mozzarella, and a light tomato puree to act as the sauce. On the flip side, American pizza makes use of a ton of different toppings, multiple types of cheese, and a thick tomato sauce.
To get back on topic, the mozzarella stick started appearing in different restaurants due to the popularity of mozzarella cheese, thanks to the growing popularity of American pizza joints’ menus in the late 1970s. In fact, the reason for their creation may be less about adding to the rich American-Italian culinary tradition and more about making the most of the ingredients that the restaurants already had on hand.
Today, mozzarella sticks can be found in just about every restaurant; this is true even for establishments that don’t normally serve Italian-American cuisine. In fact, we feature mozzarella sticks in our gyro menu as they’ve become a culinary mainstay. This is understandable as you can’t really go wrong with fried cheesy goodness!
If you’re looking for one of the best restaurants in Chesterton, Indiana, where you can get stellar mozzarella sticks, George’s Gyros Spot is the way to go. Order from us today and enjoy a wonderful meal at any time!