There are few things I love more than pizza. I have travelled the world tasting pizza in Chicago, Rome, and other cities and countries, and I have found a common denominator amongst all great pizzas.
In my experience, the optimal way to cook pizza is inside a wood-fired oven. Many people think about the dough or the ratio of tomato sauce to cheese when talking about pizza, but few understand the importance of the cooking vessel itself in delivering the best quality pizza possible. The wonderful rustic taste and perfect even char on both the crust and the cheese is characteristic of baking pizza in a wood-fired oven.
The secret to wood-fired pizza is of course the wood. As in the world of Barbeque, wood imparts a very subtle flavor to the product, which really helps distinguish the taste and form the character of the pie. Hickory, Oak, Cedar and many other wood sources each help impart a slightly different flavor profile to pizza, which gas fails to do. The heat from a wood-fired oven is also far more evenly distributed which results in a very even and concentrated method of cooking pizza.
Less and less pizzerias use wood-fired ovens these days because of higher expense, problems with ventilation, and municipal codes which are far more stringent for restaurants using wood-fired ovens as opposed to gas-fired. It is essentially much more difficult for an owner of a pizzeria to purchase and install a wood-fired oven but it is well worth it.
All of the best pizza restaurants in the world, whether they are in Brooklyn, Napoli, or Auckland, use wood-fired ovens. Peruse a list of the best pizzerias online or in your favorite publication anywhere in the world and the oven behind the best rated pizzas will inevitably be the wood-fired variety.
A wonderful pizzeria putting out high quality wood-fired pizza is Al Volo Pizzeria in Auckland. This pizzeria is as authentic as any in New York City and the variety of pizzas can satisfy any type of palette. If you are hungry for great pizza, you might want to see what I am talking about at http://www.dinein.co.nz/o/al-volo-pizzeria-eden-terrace-auckland/v05uqnrr
There are many things in life that cannot be explained. I could search for the scientific reasons why traditional wood-fired ovens make superior pizza to their gas-fired cousins, but in the end the result is the only thing that matters. It’s something I can’t exactly put my finger on, but my taste buds are never wrong. Don’t take my word for it…foodies all over the world know of the pizza magic of wood-fired ovens.