The first known pizza dates from around 200 BC. For centuries both Greeks and Italians used round flat bread with toppings on it. But it was the Italians who added tomatoes and cheese to make the pizza as it is known today. The world’s first pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria Port’ Alba, opened in 1830 in Naples and is still there now.
The modern Pizza was created by Naples baker Raffael Esposito. In 1889, he baked a pizza for King Umberto and Queen Margherita when they were visiting Naples. He topped the pizza with red tomatoes, white cheese and green basil to represent the Italian flag. He named the pizza after Queen Margherita. The queen was keen to try this new food fad but was reluctant to visit the pizzeria. Thus she became the first person to order a take-out pizza.
Today, more than five billion pizzas are sold annually, more than one 2o% of them in frozen form. It is second in popularity to the hamburger, of which more than 5,5 billion are sold annually. Although US peolpe eat twice as much meat as Europeans, the Margherita without a meat topping remains the most popular pizza choice in the US. The leading pizza topping for Europeans is tuna fish.
The word “pizza” is from the Latin verb pìnsere, meaning to press, and was first recorded in a Latin text dated 997 AD from the town of Gaeta in Southern Italy.