Canadians are known for creating some pretty great foods: poutine, tourtierre and Nanaimo bars are just a few delicious examples. But one of the greatest creations of all is one you might not even realize is Canadian: The humble Pizza Pop.
The freezer staple is currently owned by Pillsbury, but the man who invented them all the way back in the 1960s sadly passed away earlier this month. Paul Faraci was 89 years old when he died on February 6th in Vernon, B.C., and thanks to his famous creation, he certainly left behind a legacy worth taking about.
According to The Toronto Star Faraci envisioned the snack as a cross between actual pizza and panzerottis or calzones, and he served them up at his burger and fries restaurant in Winnipeg, where they were an immediate hit with customers. In fact, his Pizza Pops became so popular that he eventually decided to pursue his pizza dreams full-time.
“It took off so well that he decided to get rid of the restaurant and started manufacturing them, took in a couple of partners and started going into grocery stores,” Faraci’s nephew, Phil Faraci, told the publication.
Eventually, the entrepreneur wanted to focus on other projects and his partners bought him out of the company, which they then sold to Pillsbury. (Pizza Pops are now owned by General Mills and are still being produced in Winnipeg.)
“In 1980, my partners ended up with the company, and, of course, I didn’t end up with too much,” Faraci recalled in a YouTube video posted just before his death.
As the recipe continued to change hands over the years, it was tweaked to suit mass production, eventually transforming from the flakier, tastier version that Phil Faraci remembers into what’s sold in grocery stores across the country today. Phil explained that his uncle would talk about wanting to reacquire rights to the original Pizza Pop recipe so that he could turn it back into the product he first conceptualized all those years ago. Obviously that can’t happen now, but Phil — who owns a food truck — may step down that path.
“He always wanted to get it back so that the family could produce it again, under a different name or whatever,” he told The Star. “The original was a little more flaky, a little more taste to it. The ingredients were different.”
Different or not, Pizza Pops are still the freezer snack of choice for many Canadians, who purchase them over Pizza Pockets and other similar products that spawned over the years to compete. In fact, as news of Faraci’s death began to spread, people took to social media to express their genuine love of the product.
— Ryan Parker (@kidparker) February 28, 2018
— Travis Symington (@IamGEMington) February 28, 2018
Rest in peace, Mr. Faraci. May we all dine on Pizza Pops in your honour.