The red of the tomato sauce, the white of the mozzarella and the green of the fresh basil, make the pizza Margherita a real flag of Italian food.
It was on the 11th of June 1889, when “la pizza Margherita” was established in Naples.
Raffaele Esposito, one of the most well-known chef at that time, was called at the Reggia di Capodimonte to prepare the dish for King Umberto I and his wife, the first Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy who in those days they were staying in Naples.
Raffaele Esposito decided to offer three different pizzas: one seasoned only with olive oil and cheese, one garnished with small fish and, finally, one of his own invention topped with mozzarella and tomato with the addition of a few leaves of fresh basil to remember the colors of the Italian flag in honor of the royal couple.
The Queen liked this last version of pizza so much pizza that she wished to compliment Raffaele who, out of gratitude, decided to call this variant “Pizza Margherita, in her honour.
Although this story may seem a bit fancy, its authenticity is attested by a letter from the Chief of the Royal House renewing his compliments for the excellency of the dish.
This letter is to this day displayed on the walls of the pizzeria Raffaele Esposito which is still open.
Over time, thanks to the many Italian immigrants in the world and especially in the period after the Second World War, pizza is now appreciated all over the world becoming the standard bearer of Italian gastronomy and one of the most popular dishes in around the globe.