Pizza, with its crispy crust, tantalizing toppings, and gooey mozzarella, has evolved into one of the world’s most beloved dishes. From its humble beginnings in Italy to becoming a global sensation, pizza has a fascinating history. Recently, the Italian Academy of Cuisine organized a remarkable dinner at the renowned pizzeria Kestè in New York, where guests not only savored the delectable creations of Chef Roberto Caporuscio but also had the opportunity to craft their own pizzas and learn the art of making fresh mozzarella.
The history of pizza traces back to ancient times, with its roots firmly planted in the Mediterranean region. Then, in the 18th century, Naples witnessed the birth of the modern pizza. Flatbreads topped with tomatoes, oil, and herbs gained immense popularity among the working-class people of Naples due to their affordability and delicious flavors. These early versions of pizza were sold by street vendors and quickly became a staple food for the Neapolitan population.
One of the defining moments in pizza history occurred in 1889 when Queen Margherita of Italy visited Naples. To honor her, renowned pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito created a special pizza featuring the colors of the Italian flag: red tomatoes, white mozzarella cheese, and green basil. This pizza, named the Margherita, became an instant hit and solidified Naples’ reputation as the birthplace of pizza.
As waves of Italian immigrants traveled to various parts of the world, they brought their beloved dish with them. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, pizza gained popularity among Italian communities in cities like New York, Chicago, and Buenos Aires. The opening of the first pizzeria in the United States, Lombardi’s, in New York City in 1905, marked a significant milestone in pizza’s global journey.
Over the years, pizza evolved to suit different tastes and cultural preferences. It became a canvas for culinary creativity, with endless variations of toppings, sauces and crust styles. Today, pizza has become a ubiquitous dish enjoyed worldwide, transcending cultural boundaries and delighting people of all ages.
To celebrate the rich heritage of pizza, the Italian Academy of Cuisine and her President Roberta Marini De Plano brought together pizza enthusiasts, connoisseurs, and curious food lovers to experience the artistry and traditions associated with this iconic dish. The highlight of the evening was the opportunity to taste the exquisite creations of Chef Roberto Caporuscio, a master pizzaiolo and co-owner of Kestè. With a culinary lineage deeply rooted in Naples, Chef Roberto is renowned for his traditional Neapolitan-style pizza, characterized by its soft, chewy crust and authentic flavors.
Guests at the dinner were not only treated to a feast of delectable pizzas but were also invited to partake in the art of pizza-making themselves.