While my past posts have been about inspirational people who have been very successful and subsequently and donated substantial amounts of money to the poor. Or if not that, I have blogged about someone who has very bravely stood up for a cause in which they believed. Now, this person is a little different from those kinds of people. While Raffaele Esposito has not earned an incredible amount of money and generously donated it to people in need, nor has he been forced to courageously risk his life for a cause in which he believes, he has affected our lives in a very different, yet still incredibly impactful manner.
Raffaele Esposito was born in Italy many many years ago. He was the owner of a popular tavern. His tavern was called the Pizzeria di Pietro e Basta Cosi. He owned this tavern during the nineteenth century. Now I do not know if you have figured this out, or if you already knew, but Raffaele Esposito is widely considered to be the father of modern pizza. Now let us take a step back in history to discuss what led Raffaele Esposito to earn this title.
The first time we know for a fact that the word pizza was used was in 997 AD. This occured and in the town of Gaeta in Italy and then not long after in multiple different parts of Italy, especially in the central and southern areas. Pizza evolved from the focaccia, which was a flat bread that was know by the Romans as “panis focacius.” Romans added toppings to their focaccia, including olive oil or native spices, which is still seen in our pizzas today. However, Italy’s version of focaccia, especially the focaccia from Naples which included tomato, cheese, and other toppings, became incredibly popular.
Now, here is where Raffaele Esposito comes in. Raffaele Esposito was the most well-liked pizza maker in Naples and is credited with being the first person to make this pizza. Since it was so well-liked, he was called to make one of his infamous pizzas for the visit of King Umberto and Queen Margherita of Italy in the year of 1889. He prepared three different pizzas, one of which included tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil to look like the red white and green of the Italian flag. Raffaele Esposito was so delicious that Queen Margherita sent him a letter stating that his pizzas were incredible. Raffaele Esposito used her letter to promote his pizza and his restaurant. He even named his pizza after the queen, “Pizza Margherita”. This event supposedly created a widespread fad for pizza, which simply never went away. It is due to Raffaele Esposito’s experiments with ingredients and his presentation of the dish for the queen that led to its popularity. His restaurant still exists today; however it is now called Pizzaria di Brandi. The restaurant still has Queen Margherita’s letter on display to commemorate Raffaele Esposito’s success.
While Raffaele Esposito may not have done something incredible like donate large sums of money or stood up for people’s rights, but he has affected our life in a different way. He invented one of the most popular foods in America today, pizza. And for that reason, I believe that Raffaele Esposito is someone who has added to our lives and deserves to be included in this list.