Happy birthday to modern pizza!

Pizza Abstracted; or, Jetset Pizza

Tomorrow, 11 June, we celebrate the 119th birthday of modern pizza by honoring an historic event in 1889.
The following is from a recent newsletter I got from Scott’s Pizza Tours.

In 1889, King Umberto and his wife Queen Margherita of Savoy embarked upon a goodwill tour of a newly unified Italy. The queen requested a special pizza tasting as part of the royal couple’s visit to Naples in order to join in the growing popularity of what was generally a street food for the poor. She hired a pizzaiolo (pizza maker, pie man) by the name of Rafaele Esposito to prepare a variety of pizzas. Legend has it that Esposito’s wife Brandi placed a handful of basil leaves atop a pie that already boasted fresh mozzarella and tomato, giving it all three colors of the Italian flag. Margherita enjoyed this pie so much that she had a letter sent to Esposito declaring the pizza “buonissime.” The wise businessman he was, Rafaele named the pizza in Margherita’s honor.

The royal thank you note is dated June 11, 1889 and still hangs in Pizzeria Brandi to this day. Therefore, it is on this day that we celebrate the birth of the modern pizza.

So tomorrow, grab a delicious slice of the good stuff and chow in celebration.

PS: My apologies for the cliché graphic above; I couldn’t help myself. See the original idea by Experimental Jetset here.

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