In 1889, Raffaele Esposito (husband to the daughter of Enrico Brandi) was considered the best “pizzaiolo” or pizza chef of those times.
As such, he was invited to the Reggia di Capodimonte in Naples, to make pizza for the King of Italy, Umberto I, and his wife, Queen Margherita.
At the time the Italian King and Queen were guests of the King of Naples, Ferdinando di Borbone, and our pizza chef Raffaele created three pizzas for the Italian royalty: the pizza alla Mastunicola (lard, cheese and basil), pizza alla marinara (tomato, garlic, oil and oregano), and pizza with tomato and mozzarella, which included oregano.
The latter pizza, dedicated to the Queen, was designed to represent the three colours of the Italian flag, red, white and green.
The Queen liked it so much that the pizza was named after her, and so the history of the pizza margherita tradition was born.
The note of thanks from the Queen is still held at the “Antica Pizzeria Brandi” in Naples.
In learning Italian, if you hear the Italian saying “che pizza”, it’s an expression that can mean one of two things: you’ve either got the best Italian pizza in front of you, or you find yourself confronted with something particularly boring: a particular banal person, a significant delay in a task or anything that is particularly annoying.
So here’s to “what a pizza!” and learning Italian.