Long before Hawaiian pizza divided the masses and before trendy flavors like buffalo chicken came into vogue, the delicious simplicity of Margherita pizza captivated the world.
Legend has it that when King Umberto I of Italy and Queen Margherita of Savoy were on business in Naples in 1889, she became sick of eating stuffy meals, so she requested to dine on something that the common Italian would eat. According to Food & Wine, renowned Napoli pizza chef Raffaele Esposito was summoned to supply the royals with a pie fit for a king—and a queen, of course. He and his wife went above and beyond, making three different pies, including one with stripes of white mozzarella, green basil, and red tomatoes, resembling a rather delectable Italian flag.
Of course, Queen Margherita and King Umberto wouldn’t possibly deign to visit Esposito’s pizzeria, so the chef took the piping hot pizzas to the couple himself. As far as we know, it’s the first pizza delivery in recorded history. When the pies arrived, Queen Margherita took one bite of the basil, mozzarella, and tomato creation before proclaiming it one of best dishes she had ever eaten. Flattered, Esposito named it after her.
We don’t know if Esposito received a tip for his speedy service, but we do know that he received kudos for a job well done. A few days after inventing pizza delivery, the chef received a thank you letter from the head of table service of the Royals’ Household. It read, “Most Esteemed Raffaele Esposito, I confirm to you that the three kinds of pizza you prepared for Her Majesty were found to be delicious."
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