Just imagine the picture of a pizza, filled with creamy cheese and your favorite toppings! Your mouth waters, doesn’t it? Pizza is one dish that is enjoyed by people of every age. Though it is a part of the Italian food culture, this dish has its own identity in the menu card of every part of the world. But, have you ever wondered about the origins of this lip smacking dish? Here, are its roots unveiled for you!
Pizza and its History
Pizza has been in existence since the times of ancient Greeks. Known as plakous, this ancestor of pizza was a flatbread decorated and flavored with various toppings, such as onion, garlic, and herbs. The dish was enjoyed so much that even ancient historians, including Cato the Elder and Herodotus had it mentioned in their works. As time moved on, the dish began to gain popularity in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries as well. For centuries, pizza was a popular Italian food, especially amongst the peasants of Italy. However, it was in the 18th century when the Italian pizza gained its present form in the famous city of Naples.
The modern pizza’s evolution began with the introduction of tomatoes in Europe. Though the juicy vegetable was initially considered to be poisonous, it gradually gained fame and began to be used in every household by the start of 18th century. It was then the Italian peasants added tomatoes to their flatbread, giving birth to the dish that each of us enjoy today!
Well, the history doesn’t end there. In 1889, a Neapolitan baker called Raffaele Esposito created a special pizza to welcome the then queen consort of Italy, Queen Margherita of Savoy to Naples. In fact, he was the one who introduced the signature ingredient of today’s pizza – the mozzarella cheese. Esposito garnished his pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil to depict the colors of the Italian flag in his dish. The queen liked the pizza so much that eventually the dish was named “Margherita” in her honor. The pizza is still a treasured dish in Naples and is regarded to be the elite in Italian food culture.
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