It doesn’t matter if it’s store-bought or homemade—I love everything about pizza. Today I’m here to talk about the difference between Neapolitan and Margherita pizzas.
As a pizza lover, I know a thing or two about these two classic styles and wanted to take a few minutes to explain the basics.
Origin and History
Neapolitan and Margherita pizzas are two classic Italian styles that are still popular today. Neapolitan pizza has its origins in Naples, Italy, around the 1700s and is credited as the birthplace of pizza.
Modern pizza evolved from similar flatbread dishes in Naples, Italy, in the 18th or early 19th century. The word pizza was first documented in 997 AD in Gaeta and successively in different parts of Central and Southern Italy.
The pizza was made simply with a few simple ingredients such as tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and oregano before it was baked in a terracotta stove. This basic combination of ingredients quickly spread across Italy and eventually the world.
Margherita pizza, on the other hand, has a more recent history. It was created in the late 1800s by a pizza maker named Raffaele Esposito in an effort to please the visiting Italian queen Margherita of Savoy.
He used the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomatoes), white (mozzarella), and green (basil), to represent the queen and her country. The resulting pie became known as the Margherita pizza and quickly became a staple of the Italian pizza repertoire.
Key Ingredients and Preparation Differences
The main difference between Neapolitan and Margherita pizzas is in the ingredients and preparation.
Neapolitan pizza is made with simple and basic ingredients like tomatoes, mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and fresh basil, while Margherita pizza is made with more intricate ingredients like mozzarella di bufala, extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh basil.
When it comes to preparation, Neapolitan pizza dough is typically made with a higher hydration than Margherita, which gives it the infamous thin and light crust.
The Neapolitan pizza dough is also only stretched by hand, while the Margherita pizza dough is typically stretched with a dough roller or sheeter.
Another difference between Neapolitan and Margherita pizzas is in the cooking time.
Neapolitan pizza is cooked at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time, usually around 90 seconds, while Margherita is cooked at a lower temperature for a longer period of time, usually around 5 minutes.
Flavor and Texture Differences
The flavor and texture of Neapolitan and Margherita pizzas are also vastly different. Neapolitan pizza is known for its light, airy crust that is slightly charred and chewy, while Margherita pizza has a firmer crust that is thicker, crunchier, and more substantial.
When it comes to the toppings, Neapolitan pizza is usually topped with a simple mix of tomatoes, mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh basil, while Margherita pizza has a fuller, more complex topping featuring mozzarella di bufala, extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh basil.
Neapolitan pizza tastes are usually lighter and more subtle, while the Margherita pizza has a more intense flavor profile due to the richer ingredients.
Pros and Cons
In terms of pros and cons, both Neapolitan and Margherita pizzas have their upsides and downsides.
Neapolitan pizza is known for its light and airy crust, making it the perfect choice for a light snack or appetizer, while Margherita pizza has a firmer and more substantial crust, making it a great choice for a full meal.
Neapolitan pizza is usually lighter and more subtle when it comes to flavor, while Margherita pizza has a more intense flavor profile due to the richer ingredients.
On the other hand, Neapolitan pizza takes less time to prepare and requires fewer ingredients, while Margherita pizza takes more time and requires more ingredients.
Finally, Neapolitan pizza is usually cooked at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time, while Margherita pizza is cooked at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time.
This means that Neapolitan pizza tends to have a slightly charred flavor that some people may find off-putting, while Margherita pizza generally has a more balanced and subtle flavor.
Overall, Neapolitan and Margherita pizzas are both classic Italian styles with different flavor profiles, preparation methods, and ingredients.
Neapolitan is usually light and airy with more subtle flavors, while Margherita has a thicker, more substantial crust and intense flavor. While both are delicious, the choice ultimately boils down to personal preference.
If you’re looking for a light snack, Neapolitan pizza is the way to go, but if you’re looking for a filling meal, Margherita pizza is the way to go.
No matter what your preference, pizza is one of the best meals out there, and I hope I have helped you understand the difference between Neapolitan and Margherita pizzas. If you have any questions about pizza, feel free to contact me—I’m always happy to help fellow pizza lovers. Until next time, bon appetit!
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