Strolling into an eatery in Italy, you might look right at a slice of pizza and wonder exactly what it is. Is it, or isn't it pizza? What you've likely spied is a pizza Margherita -- fresh tomato and mozzarella slices sprinkled with whole basil leaves piled onto a focaccia crust -- coincidentally (or not) the colors of the flag of Italy.
The origin of the Margherita pizza centers on Queen Margherita of Naples. While all agree that this particular style of cheese pizza hails from Naples, various legends surround its actual creation. Some say it was created in honor of the queen, while others say the queen requested a dish to be created for the people [source: Perry]. Either way, pizza has wound its way from Italy to dinner tables and couches all across America. And we're eating a lot of it. In fact, each person in the U.S. reportedly packs away, on average, 23 pounds of pizza every year [source: Domino's Pizza].
While pepperoni is the most popular topping in America, according to the National Association of Pizza Operators, extra cheese is another very popular topper. And we're not just talking mozzarella and Parmesan -- six-cheese Italian blends are commonplace in the dairy case (and on our pizzas) these days.