Was Margherita Pizza Really Named After a Queen?

Pizza is one of the most famous foods in the whole world, and this simple combination of flat bread, tomatoes and cheese flourished in Italy, then spread to the United States in the early twentieth century with Italian immigrants, and then the popularity of pizza spread in America, and spread everywhere throughout the country, until it reached to the United Kingdom in the years, following World War II.

There are many different styles of pizza, but only one type has royal lineage. Its origin story began when the Queen of Italy visited Naples in 1889, when while wandering the streets of the city center, Queen Margherita and her husband smelled the delicious smell of a pizzeria.


The couple invited the chef of that restaurant, Raffaele Esposito, to the city’s Capodimonte Palace to cook the dish there, when Esposito prepared three different types of pizza, one of which was the colors of the Italian flag, containing red tomatoes, white mozzarella cheese, and fresh green basil.

The next day, Esposito received a letter from Camilo Galli, head of the royal family’s table services, which read: “Respected Senior Rafael Esposito. I confirm that the three pizzas which I prepared for Her Royal Highness the Queen were excellent, and although Margherita enjoyed the three, she declared That red, white and green pizza is her favourite,” and Esposito named the pizza after her.


Pizza and patriotism

This tale continues, with many variations, in tourist guides, cookbooks and food histories, but the main theme revolves around this queen, sampling the food of the common people, and the love of patriotism that the colors of pizza and the Italian flag embody.

Historians assert that, in 1889, Esposito was the owner of a pizzeria, that Umberto and Margherita were already in Naples when the pizza letter was sent on June 11, 1889, and that Galli was the head of the royal family’s table services, and that the royals had a motive to express their gratitude to the Neapolitans, who were angry at the high taxes of the new kingdom of Italy.



However, according to recent research, the story is probably falsified, as food historians have found several key holes in it.

Perhaps even more damning is that the dish was present at least three decades before any royal visit to Naples. In his 1853 collection of essays on Neapolitan customs, author Emanuele Rocco describes a pizza topped with “basilico, mozzarella, and e pomodoro” (basil, mozzarella). , and tomatoes).

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