Neapolitans have strong opinions about how pizza should be made. The dough has to be thick with a raised rim, and its texture must be firm yet moist. Here in Naples, pizza masters who can make such fine pizza are called Pizzaiolo.
What is this freshly-baked pizza called? Good question. This is the famous Margherita pizza. A legendary Pizzaiolo, a pizza master called Raffaele Esposito invented this pizza in the 19th century. It is known as The Queen of Pizzas. Why Queen? Another good question. But before I answer your question I will tell you a little bit about Napless extraordinary history. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Naples was ruled by various foreign powers.
The Castle dellOvo was built by the Normans who arrived here in the 12th century. It is believed that there is a magic egg buried inside the castle and if it gets broken it will bring harm to the city.
120 years later, the French came here and built another huge castle.
Many artists and writers such as Giovanni Boccaccio came to Naples from Florence to the north and an elegant court culture flourished.
Splendid food must have been served in the palace but regular citizens were eating simple pizzas like this.
Just a second. It’ll be cooked soon.
No ingredients like olive oil were used. Pizzas were made simply with some lard spread over the dough and topped with fish like sardines and whitebait caught during the day. It was only after another foreign power came to the city that pizzas became more sophisticated. The Kingdom of Spain ruled Naples for over 200 years from the late 15th century onwards. This palace was the residence of the Spanish Governor-General. The interior is impressive, the staircase here is entirely of marble. However, during the Great Age of Discovery, the Governor-General was too busy exploring the New World and never had time to visit the palace. Spain brought many unique vegetables from the New World back to Naples. In the 19th century, Italy was finally unified and Naples was finally free from foreign control. Tomatoes were brought from the New World during Spanish rule. They are a key ingredient in Pizza Margherita.
After Italian unification, the King and Queen of Italy visited Naples for the first time and the Queen invited the great pizza master Esposito to the palace. To commemorate the unification of their country, he invented a new pizza inspired by the colours of the national flag.
He used basil for green, mozzarella cheese for white, and
Tomatoes for red. Mozzarella cheese is a white cheese made from water buffalo milk. He used generous amounts of this rare and fine cheese to make a pizza. The queen was delighted and asked him what this pizza is called. Esposito immediately answered,
It is named Margherita in your honour, Your Majesty..
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