Pizza 101: Pizza Vocabulary Every Pizza-Lover Should Know

Are you a true and proud pizza lover? Do you enjoy showing off your knowledge of pizza to friends and family who scratch their heads in confusion when you throw around words like ‘Aromi’ and ‘Cornicione’? Would you like to be able to do that?

Whatever the case, there are certain pizza terms that every genuine lover of pizza should know. If you want to improve your pizza vocabulary, we’ve got you covered. Or, if you think you know all the important terms and words, go through the list and give yourself a pat on the back if you know them all.

Better yet, if you know them all, it’s time to celebrate! Fire up that backyard pizza oven and start making a celebratory pizza or two!

Pizza Terms That Matter

Much of the pizza vocabulary consists of Italian cooking words. That’s only natural because we all know pizza and Italy are a two-for-one deal. So don’t worry if you can’t pronounce the words on our list perfectly. (But don’t shy away from trying, it’s fun!)

Without further ado, let’s get right into it! Note that not all of these are strictly Italian cooking words, some are associated with Italian pizza, which is why we included them.

Al Forno

This literally means ‘in the oven’ and refers to any dish that can be baked (or roasted) in the oven. Foods that have al forno tied to them include pizza, chicken, fish, potatoes, and pasta.

Al Libretto

This is a bit of a technical term. The libretto is the way a pizza slice folds and is one of the characteristics of true Italian pizza. It is also one of the main features of Neapolitan pizza.

In true Italian style, the pizza crust that is exposed by folding the pizza must be one to two centimeters high. It must be a beautiful golden color, puffed up but even, and not have many bubbles or burns. You want only a slightly blistered crust.


This refers to the herbs and flavors that give the pizza its wonderful taste and aroma. Examples of aromi are ginger and garlic.


Bianco is Italian for ‘white’ and refers to a version of a dish that can be prepared with or without tomatoes. A pizza bianca is one that is made only with cheese and you’ll find no tomatoes on it, not even tomato sauce.

Generally, you’ll find that these pizzas are topped with veggies, cheese, spinach, and herbs.

Bread Flour

pizza dough rolls on baking tray

Okay, this isn’t an Italian or fancy word, but it’s definitely one that any pizza lover worth their salt would be very familiar with. Bread flour is a high-gluten flour that is used to make pizza.

Buffalo Mozzarella

Fresh buffalo mozzarella, which is also known as mozzarella di bufala, is made from water buffalo milk, typically in Italy. Many pizza lovers consider this to be the very best cheese for pizza that cannot be outranked by any other cheese.

Buffalo mozzarella has a subtle flavor and is creamy, making it absolutely perfect for any kind of pizza.


This is pizza dough that’s been folded over and encases cheese, toppings and sauce, and baked in the oven. It makes the shape of a half-moon and is quite delicious.


Char is what happens when a pizza’s crust has been burned somewhat. It is blackened spots that you’ll find on the thin crusts of pizza prepared in very high-temperature ovens.

Char is sometimes a trademark of Neapolitan brick-oven pizza and New York-style coal-oven pizza.

Cheese Pull

When you close your eyes and imagine your favorite cheese-topped pizza, what do you see? Chances are you see that moment when a pizza slice is picked up and the cheese stretches out, promising you a little piece of heaven as soon as you put the slice in your mouth.

That is cheese pull. The phrase kind of gives itself away, doesn’t it?

Cheese pull is a tactic used by pizza restaurants to entice people into buying their food. Commercials of pizzas will never not show you cheese pull. It just doesn’t happen.

Cheese Drag

As you might guess from how it sounds, cheese drag isn’t a good thing. This happens when the cheese of your pizza falls or pulls off the top of a slice. You’ll find it happens when the pizza has too much sauce and the cheese hasn’t been given a chance to attach to the crust.

Most commonly, this unappetizing occurrence is noted in frozen pizzas, and occasionally in delivery pizzas.

Cheese Lock

Cheese lock is when you basically use cheese to lock in other toppings so they stay in place and won’t slide around when you try to take a bite.


Such a lovely word, it just rolls off the tongue and refers to the outer puffy edge of the pizza. You’ll also hear this referred to as the lip.


This term stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata. Way back in 1955, it was decided that Italy would make laws that serve to protect the origins, traits, and names of its trademark foods and wines.

These laws are there to ensure that food marked with ‘DOC’ can be trusted as the best possible quality and authentic Italian.

Fior Di Latte

This literally means ‘flower of the milk’ and refers to fresh mozzarella that is made from the milk of cows. Not to be confused with buffalo mozzarella.

Hole Structure

The hole structure is all about the inside of a pizza crust (or bread). A good structure is when the dough was properly proofed and wasn’t kneaded too much. This is to ensure that when pizza is made Italian style, it tastes as good as possible.


This word means ‘scents’ and refers to the aromatic vegetables and herbs that are used in cooking. Typically, this will include garlic, onion, and celery. It’s a fantastic smell and you will mostly experience it in markets, but also at home when making authentic Italian meals like pizza.

San Marzano Tomatoes

san marzano tomatoes

Probably the most well-known tomatoes in the world of pizza-making and pizza enjoyment. They are plum tomatoes grown in the unique volcanic soil of Italy’s San Marzano, which is where the name comes from.

San Marzano tomatoes are perfect for pizza sauces because they have nice and juicy flesh and are low in sugar.

Pizza Love With or Without Fancy Words

Don’t worry if you can’t say or remember all these words. If you want to impress your friends and family with an admirable pizza vocabulary, just come back here and refresh your memory before showing off a bit. But, if you fail, don’t stress about it. Most people only really care about the taste of their pizzas anyway.

That’s why Fontana Forni is such a beloved and admired brand. Fontana Forni manages to bring Italian cooking in the form of authentic pizza right to their home. With a wood-fired backyard oven made by Fontana Forni, you can make mouth-watering pizza in the style of Italy in the comfort of your own home. What’s not to love about that?