From product launches and school fundraisers to birthday parties and corporate functions, mobile pizza makers are taking over the outside catering landscape one slice at a time. This growing popularity for personalised pizzerias can also be found in Aussie backyards, where homeowners have embraced the sights, sounds and smells of wood fired cooking.
Above image courtesy of Alfa Pizza
While there’s no greater pleasure than sliding a pizza into an oven you have lovingly handcrafted brick by brick, there are a number of alternatives for those who don’t have the time or inclination to break out the power tools. Here are four of my favourites.
Esse Fire Stone
Esse is known as Britain’s longest standing stove manufacturer, with its iconic cast-iron cookers first sold to the public in 1854. Over the years it has launched a number of wood-fired products, including the outdoor Esse Fire Stone pizza oven, which promises to roast, bake, braise and char-grill to perfection.
Constructed from environmentally friendly glass reinforced cement (GRC), the Fire Stone features a pivot system that allows you to orientate it to prevailing weather and wind conditions. Available from Mr. Stoves
, its generous dimensions (265mm high, 475mm wide and 720mm deep) make it a great addition to outdoor entertaining.
Cook your pizzas directly on the stone in front of the flames, which you can do in any weather thanks to the flue’s rain shield. Once it’s cooled down a bit, use the remaining heat to dry out herbs or your favourite fruits.
Conceived, designed and produced in Italy, and distributed through Pizza Ovens Australia
, Alfa has produced its distinctive wood-fired ovens since 1977.
Capable of cooking three pizzas at a time (or 12 in 15 minutes), Alfa’s compact Forno Calore
model can be recessed into kitchen cabinetry for a streamlined finish. It not only cooks pizza with the direct heat of the wood-fired flame but once you’ve finished, simply flick a switch to release the hot air into the room. A pizza oven and fireplace in one!
Look out also for Alfa’s gas operated Forno Pizza Base
model, which is better suited to gardens, balconies and patios due to its 105kg weight; the family-friendly Forno Allegro
that is capable of cooking 18 pizzas in 15 minutes; and the impressive Forno Duetto
with its wood holder shelf.
The Space-age Roccbox
Available to order exclusively through crowdfunding site IndieGoGo
*, Roccbox is a brand new, space-age looking portable stone bake pizza oven that cooks at temperatures much higher than a conventional oven. Heating up to 500°C in just 15 minutes, it can produce a crispy 12-inch pizza in roughly 90 seconds using either gas or wood.
Made in the UK by The Stone Bake Oven Company
, the weatherproof, stainless steel construction features high-tech insulation and a porous stone floor that crisps up the pizza from the base up. Accelerating the cooking process is a rolling flame that cooks the pizza top down. You can also use it to caramelise meat, roast vegetables, and bake crispy fish or homemade bread.
Roccbox’s compact 20kg frame is light enough for one person to carry, while an under-floor ‘thermocouple thermometer’ monitors and displays temperatures for easy heat control and consistent cooking results.
Zesti portable pizza ovens
Western Australian family owned and run Zesti
manufactures a range of stylish wood fired pizza ovens you can relocate when entertaining or moving house.
Made from high quality refractory and insulation materials, Zesti’s signature stainless steel arch harnesses and maintains heat to produce ideal pizza cooking conditions. Available in a range of chic colours to suit all types of indoor and outdoor decors, its flagship woodfired Z1100 model was not only featured in a 2010 Masterchef pizza challenge but is also the pizza oven of choice for judge and chef George Calombaris.
For DIYers who want to personalise their pizza oven without the mess that comes with cutting bricks, Zesti has a range of pre-fabricated pizza oven kits
you can assemble without power tools.
*Roccbox goes into production with a goal to start shipping in June 2016. Australian orders purchased through IndieGoGo are likely to incur longer deliver times.