If you’ve ever had pizza at an authentic Italian pizzeria, you will have noticed that the most popular and consistently amazing pizza is the Margherita. This classic pizza is simple in its construction – pizza base, lightly seasoned tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and a bit of fresh basil. While this pizza isn’t for everyone, especially those that love to load up their pie with lots of toppings, its clean and classic appearance gives way to a fresh and wholesome meal.
The history of the Margherita pizza is an interesting one. If you’ve ever wondered where the pizza came from, read on.
Meet the Queen
In 1855, Margherita was born in Turin, in the Kingdom of Sardinia. Her father died soon after and she lived her life as a privileged young princess. She received more education than was common for young women (and especially royalty) at the time and she was intensely curious about the world.
In 1868 she married her first cousin Umberto, a prince at the time and heir to the Italian throne. She served as the “first lady” of Italy for ten years until Umberto took the throne in 1878. She then became queen of the kingdom of Italy. In her position, she encouraged social work in the country and established charitable organizations. She also encouraged literary knowledge and discussions. While her husband had multiple affairs, Margherita was revered as a wonderful queen involved with the running of her country.
What a Queen Wants
After being a queen for over 20 years, Margherita had grown tired of the luxurious and rich French cuisine that was popular among the elites all around Europe. So when she and her husband visited Naples, a former capital city, she asked the most famous pizza-maker to create 3 different and new pizzas for her to try.
The first was a garlic pizza marinara. This consisted of a plain tomato marinara sauce seasoned with oregano and lots of garlic. There is no cheese or other topics. This pizza did not please the Queen and she requested to try to the next.
The second pizza, pizza Napoli, also did not satisfy the Queen. This pizza features a thick tomato sauce, a little bit of mozzarella cheese, and anchovies. Capers may also be scattered across the top.
The Winning Pizza
The final pizza was the one that appealed to Queen Margherita the most. A simple dish of pizza base, fine tomato sauce, and fresh basil, the pizza was filling but not overly so. The pizza maker decided to name it the Margherita in the Queen’s honor. She was, of course, delighted.
So there you have it – the history of the Margherita pizza. If all of this pizza knowledge has you craving a slice yourself, head over to Rina’s Pizzeria to try a slice of the Queen’s favorite pizza!