It’s rather fascinating to look into the history of pizza which is today a household word, owing to the growing popularity of the dish. Various cultures have experimented with pizza by making flatbread and using an assortment of toppings. However, Naples is known for being the holy grail of pizza, quite literally! They introduced some very distinct toppings that went on to become the pizza staple such as tomatoes, basil leaves and fresh mozzarella cheese. This is still practiced in many countries to pay homage to the authentic Italian pizza while most famous pizza outlets experiment and innovate with different toppings such as the Papa John’s, Dominos, Pizza Hut and Double Pizza livraison.
Pizza was mostly made and served in Italy but this changed during times of war when the allied troops became acquainted with the dish and enjoyed it thoroughly.
It was sometime during the 16th century that tomato was introduced to Europe by America, although there was a superstition that tomato was poisonous. Despite the rumour, the people from underprivileged regions of Italy used tomato in their cooking. It also became a practice to use tomato on flat bread and that is how pizza came into being. The bread ofcourse was made from yeast based flour. Soon, the dish grew in status and visitors would make a point to explore the poorer regions just to get a taste of the dish that became the culinary forte of the locals.
They were about 50 or so odd pizzerias in Naples that quickly expanded into hundreds of restaurants. Pizza uses a very special sauce on their flatbread known as the “marinara” sauce. This is made by cooking fresh organic tomatoes in olive oil along with onion and garlic. The word has a very interesting origin as “la marinara” refers to the sea man’s wife, a dish that she cooked for her husband while he was away at sea.
Soon, other ingredients were added to this dish such as cheese and fresh basil leaves. This was notably used by a prominent baker by the name of Raffaele Esposito who was known for cooking for the royalty, the colours of the dish (green, white and red) stood out as it represented the flag of Italy. Legend goes that the dish “Margherita” was named after her as it was her preferred choice and still the hot favourite of the people in Italy.