Pizza Etiquette: To fold or not to fold – that is the question!


There are numerous different sizes, shapes, styles, and flavours of pizza in existence around the globe and various ways of devouring said pizza, each born out of local culture, custom, and tradition. In fact, you might be surprised to discover just how much controversy surrounds the etiquette of eating pizza. Whether you’re a stuffed-crust aficionado, a thin-and-crispy buff, a fan of a slice on the go, or simply have a fondness for a pizza anytime, anyplace, anywhere – read on to find out more about the right way to consume one of the world’s favourite foods.

Food plays an enormous part in Italian culture and Galateo, the Italian word for etiquette, is deeply ingrained into this. The term originates from Florentine Giovanni della Casa’s 1558 manuscript Galateo: The Rules of Polite Behaviour which provided guidance on the dos and don’ts of dress, table manners, and conversation. The book proved so popular that the word gradually evolved into a widely used Italian term for social etiquette.

Traditionalists would almost certainly argue that, in formal settings, pizza should be eaten with a knife and fork, the way the Italians do. Unless it’s sold al taglio (literally ‘pizza by the cut’) in rectangular or square slices priced by weight and eaten as street food, restaurants in Italy generally serve pizzas circular, whole, and unsliced. The consumer then cuts up their own pizza, typically from the central point out towards the crust, before consuming it with a knife and fork. Eating with cutlery means you’re less likely to rush through your meal and you can give your pizza toppings the appreciation they deserve, to say nothing of the fact that picking up a piping-hot slice with your fingers could prove to be a recipe for disaster!

Galateo also dictates that eating pizza like a true Italian means not asking for a dipping sauce (an authentic pizza in Italy is an experience in itself), leftovers don’t leave the restaurant with you (doggy bags aren’t really a thing in Italy), adding parmesan to your pizza is a no-no (parmesan is for pasta, not pizza), and asking for pepperoni will get you a pizza topped with sweet peppers (if you want a pepperoni pizza in Italy, you should order a Diavola!).

Those with a less traditional outlook would no doubt argue that pizza has evolved into the ultimate informal food nowadays. It is often enjoyed in a social setting with friends and family, as an accompanying snack to your favourite boxset, or as a comfort food and, as such, it’s perfectly acceptable to pick up your pizza and eat it with your fingers.

Folding your slice is the most practical way to eat pizza with your hands and certainly makes it easier to eat on the go! A slight fold to form a handy V-shape from the crust is an efficient way to tame your slice, preventing your toppings from sliding off onto the floor and keeping the edges from dripping melted cheese down your front. Folding your slice completely in two also means that you’re much less likely to burn the roof of your mouth on molten cheese and scorching toppings!

At the end of the day, how you choose to chow down on your favourite pizza is a matter of personal preference. However you eat your next pizza, we hope you enjoy it!