The Story & History of Pizza
  World and Italy
 

The idea of using bread as a plate came from the Greeks, who ate flat round bread (plankuntos) baked with an assortment of toppings. The tomato came to Italy from Mexico and Peru through Spain in the 16th century as an ornamental plant first thought to be poisonous. True mozzarella cheese is made from the milk of the water buffalo imported from India to Campagna in the 7th century.

The story of how pizza became more than a peasant's food goes as follows, in 1889 Queen Margherita accompanied her husband, Umberto I of Savoia, on an inspection of his Italian Kingdom. During her trips around the kingdom she saw many peasants and poor people eating a flat bread which they called "Pizza". While in Naples, the curious queen summoned her guards and asked them to bring her a piece of this flat bread. The queen liked what she ate and would eat this flat bread every time she went out of her palace.

The queen was extremely popular with the masses and had developed a great liking for their Pizza. This taste was considered somewhat undesirable in court circles. One day in June, on the Queen's insistence Raffaele Esposito was summoned from his pizzeria to the palace to bake a selection of Pizzas for the Queen.

Raffaele in order to honour the Queen's desire for his pizzas baked a special pizza with tomato, mozzarella cheese and basil (the colours of the Italian flag - red/white/green). The pizza was a great hit with the Queen and Esposito was summoned often to bake this pizza. When the news got out that the Queen's favourite was topped with tomato, mozzarella & basil, she not only became an even greater hit with the public, but also started a trend for the "Pizza Margherita" that is eaten in Naples and around the world to this day.

So the Neopolitan baker, as the saying goes, put it all together. Pizza migrated to America with the Italians. The first U.S. pizzeria opened in 1905 in New York City, but it wasn't until after World War II that returning American soldiers created a nationwide demand for the pizza they had eaten and loved in Italy. Pizza in this day and age has no limitations. It can be deep-dish pizza, stuffed pizza, pizza pockets, pizza turnovers, rolled pizza, pizza-on-a-stick, all with combinations of sauce and toppings limited only by one's inventiveness. However, the best pizza still comes from the individual pizzaiolo, a pizza baker like you, who prepares his yeast dough and ingredients daily and heats his oven carefully before baking the first pizza.