Italian Traditions: What You Don’t Know About Pizza Margherita
As many of you know, Pizza Margherita is much-loved Italian tradition, and a favorite meal both in Europe and around the world. What you may not know, however, is the fascinating legend of the pizza’s origins.
While many have debated the true history of Pizza Margherita, the story goes that shortly after Italy unified in 1861, King Umberto I and his queen, Margherita, took a visit to Naples. While there, the Queen became bored of the French cuisine that was standard throughout Europe at that time. She requested that a local pizza maker present her with something a little more Italian.
A local chef, Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi, created a special pizza with buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil. Although she didn’t care for the first two, Queen Margherita loved the last one, and therefore the pizza was named after her.
Chef Esposito must have been a smart man, because he just so happened to use ingredients that are the color of the Italian flag. Even in modern times, the Pizza Margherita is a symbol of Italian nationalism and cultural pride.
To this day, many “pizza purists” believe that the only real pizza is a Margherita. In fact, the dish is one of only three Pizza Napoletana with an STG (Traditional Guaranteed Specialty) rating, meaning there are standard regulations and techniques required to create a true Pizza Margherita.
Although there’s no way of knowing the real history of this meal, there’s certainly no debate that Pizza Margherita is a cherished culinary custom in Italy and beyond.