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A Short History of Pizza


December 22, 2015

Americans consume more pizza than any other country, but we are not the originators of the world’s most popular meal. You probably have a guess you believe to be ninety-nine percent accurate – however, the biggest misconception is that pizza comes from the same country as so many other similar dishes involving tomatoes and cheese: Italy. Pizzas with Halal ingredients certainly have origins in several different places in order to come together. Believe it or not, the origins of the pizza we know and love today actually comes from early Greeks who baked large flat breads with oil, herbs, spices, and dates. Contrary to popular belief, tomatoes actually originated in the Andes, not Italy. So, the Mediterranean didn’t have the red fruit we automatically associate with pizza until the 15th century.
 
Through trade and commerce, flat bread made its debut in Italy around the 18th century, where the flat breads were called, “Pizzas.” They were easy to make without any toppings and were sold on the streets and marketplaces of Naples to many of the poor, due to their inexpensive and filling qualities. The pizza we know today is a result of the proliferation of the tomato by the Neapolitans and the involvement of a queen.
 
Sometime around 1889, Queen Margherita took a trip with her husband, Umberto I, on an inspection of her Italian Kingdom. In their travels she witnessed several peasants eating the large flat breads. Piquing her curiosity, Queen Margherita ordered her guards to fetch one for her. She loved it. She ate the pizzas every time she found herself among the people. This actually caused quite the stir in the Queen’s court because it was not proper for the Queen to feast on food meant for peasants. The queen decided her love of the food trumped that of propriety and summoned Chef Raffaele Esposito from his pizzeria to her royal palace. She ordered him to make a wide selection of pizzas just for her.
 
The Queen was very popular and beloved by the people she ruled. As such, Raffaele Esposito made a specialized, personalized pizza for his queen. Tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil were put together in order to represent the colors of the Italian flag – red, white, and green. Unsurprisingly, this would become Queen Margherita’s favorite pizza. When word spread throughout Italy that a food meant for peasants was the queen’s favorite food, she became considerably more popular with her subjects. From this simple recipe came the culinary tradition of the Pizza Margherita.
  
It’s amazing to see what a food meant for the poor and common subjects of Naples, which originated in Greece, has become a culinary masterpiece beloved the world over. Block Pizza Café is proud to carry on a the new tradition of creating pizza in new and innovative ways, by using all certified and fresh halal ingredients in every pizza pie we make. We can make you a Pizza Margherita, or any other pizza fit for a queen.
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