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My idea of a pizza, bought from a pizzeria in Sweden (at least growing up and when I last did, which was a few years ago now), is as follows:

  1. A standard pizza dough is grabbed and turned into a flat circle. It's very thin.
  2. Some tomato sauce is put in the middle and circled around to just cover the dough.
  3. Small shreds (or flat, thin squares) of ham are sprinkled over this, in a reasonable amount which doesn't add significant height.
  4. Cut pieces of standard "champion" (Agaricus) mushrooms are added, complementing the ham pieces but not "taking over" them in quantity nor taste.
  5. Standard pizza cheese shreds are added on top, causing the entire thing to still look very thin and absolutely not anywhere near a "pan" pizza.
  6. It's put into the pizza oven for a few minutes. (I don't remember exactly how long.)
  7. The finished pizza has some oregano sprinkled on top from a jar.

It could also be that the cheese is put on before the other "toppings". I'm foggy on that detail.

The pizza described above is called "Capricciosa". If you remove step 4, it instead becomes what is known as a "Vesuvio". These two pizzas are what I consider "real pizzas". I have tried many other versions, but (almost) none of them taste good at all to me; it seems like this is the "gold standard" for what a pizza is.

However, Americans (and probably Italians) seem to have a completely different idea of what makes a pizza. At least judging by countless movies, TV series, live streams, videos, cartoons and photos I've seen. Most notably, the USA pizzas seem to be much thicker, what I'd call a "pan" pizza, with both way more bread part and fillings/toppings, and seem to never, ever contain the ingredients I mentioned above. It seems like "Pepperoni" is by far the most common. That is, little round slices of Pepperoni sausage. While that can be good for sure, it really gives the pizza a very different taste compared to the ham or ham + mushroom kind which I like.

I tried to locate a good photo, but sadly didn't find any. These two pizzas (which don't look very appealing on these photos) at least give an idea of what I'm talking about, I suppose:

  1. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/Pizza_bella_vista.jpg (also includes pineapple and shrimps, so please ignore that)
  2. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/13/Italian_pizza_from_stockholm.jpg (Vesuvio)

Is this "thin" kind of pizza, with specifically ham and mushrooms (or ham only), entirely nonexistent in the USA? Is that just something that nobody makes over there? Would perhaps nobody even want such a pizza? The typical American pizzas do look tasty, but it seems like they would be just "too much" with such enormous amounts of toppings.

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There is a fantastically wide range of pizza styles available in the US. The traditional American "fast food" pizza, such as one would get from Domino's or Pizza Hut, has a fairly thick, doughy crust, but thin-crust pizzas are nearly as widely available, and have become more common over the past two decades.

In the US, it's less common for pizzas to be ordered by a particular well-known "standard" name like "capricciosa" or "pugliese". A pizzeria will often have its own menu of topping combinations with their own names. Depending on the pizzeria, people might tend to order one of those, or they might be more likely to specify the full set of toppings directly, e.g. "ham and mushroom" (definitely not an uncommon combination, and one that would be available from virtually any pizzeria).

I've only had pizza in Sweden once, but what I had would not have been at all unique or remarkable in the US.

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  • Even Pizza Hut and Domino's now sell thin crust pizza. – Juhasz Oct 5 '20 at 16:15
  • Just note, to get "quality" pizza like OP is describing, they'll be better off trying boutique or higher-end pizzerias that use wood fired brick ovens, etc - not Dominos. While Dominos makes a good pizza, it's not the same as wood fired brick oven thin crust pizza with premium toppings. – SnakeDoc Oct 6 '20 at 17:31
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In the USA the definition of pizza is wide. Different regions in the US have different styles of pizza. As a result, Americans have pioneered an entire lexicon to help them navigate the churning sea that is popular pizza culture. Looking at your pictures, I would describe your pizzas as thin-crust pizza with ham and cheese.

I wish I knew more about you so I could tailor my answer better. I'm going to assume you want to find a pizza like you remember. My instinct is that you will want to go to a place that does a wood-fired pizza. If you can find a restaurant that specializes in "Neapolitan" pizza, you will find a pizza that is more balanced, less filling.

American pizzas as a whole are designed to be a stand-alone meals with sides being more of an add-on or afterthought. That is part of the reason the pizza you see is so thick and heavy. However, health conscious consumers and people who grew up with different ideas of pizza do influence the market in cities. It may however, be impossible to find pizza like this in a small town.

Good luck! Maybe you will find something new that pleases you!

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The pizze on your photos look to me quite near to what is known as New York style in the US, rather flat, but leavened and with some toppings. NY style is also also the US style that comes closest to the Italian original.

If you are interested in an even flatter pizza St. Louis style might be for you.

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To answer the main question in the title:

No, it is not unknown:

Capriccosa is a "standard" Italian pizza recipe, so many places in the US that serve thin-crust "Italian" style pizza will have it.

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