Where Did Pizza Come From?

Who doesn’t love pizza? The combination of cheese, bread, sauce and toppings is magnifico! You can eat it with pepperoni, vegetables or with little fishies on them! But that’s just getting weird…
However, that’s not how pizza was originally eaten. It all started with the early Greeks who made flat breads and spread them with oil, herbs and spices. These early pizzas reached Rome, Egypt and Babylon. Eventually flat bread found its way to Italy where it was sold in markets during the 18th century. They were served plain since they were cheap, and sold to the poor throughout Naples. In 1830 the “first true pizzeria”, Antica Pizzeria Port’ Alba, opened in Naples and still exists today!

Queen Margherita

But here comes the good part. In 1889, baker Raffaele Esposito of Napoli (Naples) baked a pizza for Queen Marghertia and her husband Umberto I. The pizza resembled the Italian flagwith red tomato, mozzarella cheese and fresh green basil. The Queen automatically fell in love with the meal, despite it being peasant food. Pizza spread throughout Italy and several variations were made in different parts of the country. But it didn’t stop at Italy. The invention spread throughout France, England, Spain and eventually to America.

Pizza made its way to America with the Italian immigrants. However, it wasn’t popular in America until American soldiers had a taste of it in Italy. When the soldiers returned home after World War II they craved the delectable meal and made the pizza industry boom. It was in the US that ground beef, bacon sausage, peppers and the like were added on pizza.

Margherita Pizza

There is now a World Pizza Day in its home, Naples. There are guidelines for this festival but they are laid down by the city’s Real Neapolitan Pizza Association(Yes, it even has its own association!) In addition, Esposito’s Brandi Pizzeria is still run by his descendants. Talk about a successful family business! Now that you are hungry and craving pizza…next time you’re in Italy remember to stop by Naples and pay homage to the creator of the world famous meal!