Man has been making bread and adding toppings since the beginning of time, but what we know as Pizza was born in Naples, Italy. Pizza is not just bread with stuff on it. When properly understood, it is viewed, studied, and appreciated as a whole beauty. The “bread” for pizza is not used for any other purposes. If you would take Ciabatta, toast it and add toppings, it would be a bruschetta. If you took a baguette, sliced it and added toppings, it would be great, but not pizza. Pizza is its own thing, not a flatbread with toppings. Everything Italian is exceptional because there are artistic, philosophical, and scientific reasons for the beauties of life so common to Italy. Given this, the dough used for pizza has as its sole purpose to be an amalgamated component of the final masterpiece. It cannot separately exist. There must be a harmonious co-existence. This lovely well-integrated product is what makes pizza pizza.
Before the tomato arrived in the 1500’s, the first pizzas in Naples were white, made with garlic, olive oil, salt, anchovies, and probably lard. Neapolitans were the first in Europe to embrace the tomato, since it was deemed poisonous in Europe as a member of the nightshade family. What is most commonly considered pizza (tomato, mozzarella, basil) was supposedly created on June 11, 1889 by a pizza maker named Raffaele Esposito. This Pizzaiolo (meaning pizza maker in Italian and spelled Pizzaiuolo in Neapolitan) created a special pizza for the visit of Queen Margherita of Savoia. He made 3 different pizzas but the Queen fell in love with one in particular topped with three ingredients representing the three colors of the Italian Flag. The Italian flag was represented by the tomatoes (red), mozzarella (white), and basil (green). Esposito named this pizza “Pizza alla Margherita” in honor of the Queen. Whether Esposito was the first to use those ingredients or not, this is known as the classic Neapolitan pizza.