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Queen Margherita and the Pizza Named in her Honor

Queen Margherita and the Pizza Margherita. Image sources: Wikimedia Commons

Queen Margherita of Italy is legendary for her impressive jewelry collection. She particularly amassed a sizable collection of pearls, which she donned lavishly, as many of the photos and paintings you would see today feature her in all her pearly glory.

Ever the popular consort, Queen Margherita was praised for being a great asset of the House of Savoy, effectively awakening public enthusiasm wherever she went. She extensively toured Italy, wearing local folk costumes and demonstrating appreciation for local customs, traditions and culture. All these made her so popular that she she eclipsed her husband’s own.

In one of her trips to Naples with King Umberto I, she was served Italian gourmet cuisine, but tired of the usual fares commonly fed to royals across Europe, she called upon the best pizza maker in the whole of Naples, Rafaelle Esposito, and asked him to create three different kinds of pizzas. Though the queen did not like the first two varieties—pizza Napoli (anchovy) and pizza marinara (garlic)—she was completely smitten over the third pizza, which consisted of mozzarella, tomato sauce, and a spring of basil;  Esposito instantaneously called it “Margherita Pizza”. The pizza maker then asked the queen for a royal seal, which he received from a chamberlain a few days later, plus a thank you note from the Margherita herself.

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