was once commissioned to create a pizza to honor a visit by Queen Margherita
, the consort of King Umberto I of Italy
. Raffaele must have been a smart cookie, because instead of making just one pizza, he did what any of us would do when needing to provide food for people with whose tastes we are unfamiliar — he made three pizzas.
The queen's favorite was a pie made with mozzarella, tomato, and basil — which not only matched the color of the Italian flag, but also tastes really delicious. The favorite pie was dubbed the Pizza Margherita
, and while the legend of its origin may not have much basis in reality, it's still a fun story to describe a pizza that is possibly one of the best things around.
I've had Margherita pizza at a huge number of places. Damgoode Pies
had the Margie (although I don't see it on their current menu), while ZAZA's
version is a crisp crust, fresh mozzarella delight. I snitched a bite of a Pizzeria Santa Lucia
margherita one night at a food truck event, and it was fantastic, and one of the best versions I've tasted comes from a little cafe in Eureka Springs called Cafe Amore
. That last pie was eaten right after Eureka Springs thawed out from a huge ice storm a few years ago, and the entire restaurant turned into something of an impromptu party celebrating a town who was coming back to life — the heavy pours of a very respectable Cabernet Sauvignon being handed out were a nice addition to a great pizza.
But my go-to Margherita ain't nothing fancy, but it sure is delicious — and it comes from Vino's Pizzeria and Brew Pub
. Vino's is a second home to me, and while I'll occasionally grab a single slice of pepperoni or a sandwich if I'm in a hurry, it's the Margherita to which I return constantly. Crust is just the right thickness — chewy, hefty enough to hold the toppings, but not so thick that it becomes more bread than pizza. Lots of cheese, lots of tomatoes, and while the basil isn't fresh, I actually like the flavor of dried basil — it gets more peppery and strong and has a very compelling taste.
So there you have it — Pizza Margherita. Named for a queen, and utterly delicious. Maybe next time I'll get into the other royal pizzas — Prince Meat Lovers and Earl Chicken Pesto — but for now, long live the Queen!
Legend has it that Neapolitan pizza maker