It is our last night staying with our friends, Caroline and Andrea at their farm near Camerino in central Italy. They run painting holidays from the farm. http://www.paintingholidaysitaly.com/http://www.paintingholidaysitaly.com/
We spent an exhilarating day with Caroline, driving around the area and stopping to make sketches and returned to find Andrea had fired up the pizza oven. The traditional brick oven is large and would have been the main hub of cooking on the farm in the past, probably feeding twenty people or so with a couple of firings a week, this time it fed a mere ten. Pizza dough is sold ready made around here in trays of soft yeast risen orbs dusted with polenta flour. Andrea makes the thinnest crispest crust for his pizzas which took less than a minute in the oven before we fell on them like the wolf pack that still runs wild in the hills around here. We began with the simplest of pizzas – rosemary and olive oil, before feasting on dozens more.
My favourite pizzas include artichoke and we had many of those while the kids begged for more with prosciutto (added to the pizza after cooking). Pizza from a wood fired oven really is the only way to go with this food stuff. We have a bread oven in the Inglenook fireplace at home in Devon and our pizzas take less than a minute in that too. They taste delicious, but different, due, I believe, to the perfume of the different woods we burn there.
We sat with friends surrounded by the moonlit hills, eating Andrea’s pizza, hot from the oven, and accompanied with lashings of Verdicchio di Matelica white wine, and, blimey, the flavour was lifted to the sublime.