Popular dishes named after royalty
Simple yet delicious, Margherita is the tried and true pizza option when in doubt. And while most of us have tried the classic pizza, few know how the mozzarella, tomato and basil pie came to be. According to many accounts, the Margherita pizza was invented in Naples for the visit of the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, in 1889. Prior to her visit, the monarch hired chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi to meet her visit. Inspired by local cuisine, Esposito created three different pizza variations: Pizza Napoli, Pizza Marinara and what we know today as Pizza Margherita. While the first two weren’t to the queen’s liking, the third hit the spot — or at least that’s the story (via History Hit).
In reality, Pizza Margherita is unlikely to be named after the Italian queen. Indeed, the use of the three distinct pizza toppings was already popular in Naples before the visit of Queen Margherita in 1889. In fact, the combination of ingredients was already described in a book in 1866. An alternative theory on the origins of the dish concerns the specifics of the word “margherita”. The term, which translates to daisy in Italian, is said to actually refer to the petal-like arrangement of mozzarella slices on pizza (via Atlas Obscura).