The history of Pizza
As strange as it may seem, pizza owes its origins to the ancient Greeks. They used to bake large flat discs of bread topped with olives and spices. The idea re-emerged in 18th century Italy, where flat “pizza” bread was sold in the streets and in markets. The addition of tomato to the pizza and the visit of a queen contributed to pizza taking the form that we know today.
In about 1889, Queen Margherita was touring the Kingdom of Italy with her husband, Umberto I. She saw people eating the bread, tried it herself and loved it (which caused a negative reaction at court because she had deigned to eat the food of the poor). She then summoned the chef Rafaelle Esposito and ordered him to bake a selection of pizzas for her pleasure.
The chef decided to create a special pizza in the queen’s honour, adding tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil (the colours of the Italian flag). This became the queen’s favourite – and soon enough, all Italy’s. The Pizza Margherita inspired by the queen became famous throughout the world, and remains so to this day.
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