The Real and True Origin of the Neapolitan Margherita Pizza

There is a widely believed legend that says that the Margherita Pizza made its debut in June 1889 at the World’s Fair held in Paris, France. The legend goes, the acclaimed pizza chef, Raffaele Esposito, invented the fabulous “Pizza Margherita” to honor the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. Likewise, the new pizza was served to honor the recently unified Italy; the toppings represented the colors of the new Italian national flag, with tomatoes as red, mozzarella cheese as white and basil leaves as green.

Sadly, some historians now believe the legend of the Pizza Margherita is false. This is because a pizza made with the very same toppings was already popular in Naples at the time. In fact, pizzas identical to the Margherita were documented between 1796 and 1810. However, this common Neapolitan street food probably was not called “Margharita”.

In fact, in 1830, in a book titled, Napoli, Contorni e Dintorni (Naples, Contours, and Surroundings) written by Riccio, there was a pizza described as being topped with tomato, mozzarella, and basil. Likewise, in 1849 Emanuele Rocco described a similar pizza topped with basil, tomatoes and thinly sliced mozzarella cheese. On Rocco’s pizza, the mozzarella was sliced thin and arranged into a flower-shape over the tomatoes, along with the basil leaves. The truth is, this may be the real origin of this classic pizza, as Margherita means daisy in Italian.

Whatever the origin, the Pizza Margherita is a simple classic of real Italian cooking.

For the finest gluten-free Margherita Pizza available, get Spinatos.

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