So you have decided to have a party, and have at least twenty mates descending on your place. How are you going to feed them? Ask everyone to bring a plate? That might work for your Nanna, but you're not so much into casseroles, and think of all those dishes. A BBQ might work? Except you don't have a BBQ and half your friends are vegetarian. Home delivery pizza? Maybe, except you want the party to go all night and don't want cold pizza left congealing on your kitchen table.
How about all-you-can-eat, made-to-order, fresh, hot wood fired pizza, cooked at your place? Oh, and starters and dessert pizzas?
Bella Pitsa, owned by Kath and Rossi, offer a mobile wood-fired pizza oven, complete with a chef who makes all the pizzas on-site with fresh West Australian ingredients. Only the pizza base is made in advance.
It was a cold July night when 40 guests arrived to celebrate a friend's 50th birthday. Knowing that there was plenty to celebrate and the party could go all night, the hostess had done her research, and decided that for the cost of eight small 'finger foods' from catering companies, she could get as much fresh pizza as her guests could consume.
Operating on an all-you-can-eat basis, Rossi will keep making and cooking pizzas until everyone declares they are full and can't eat another bite. And then he will make you dessert pizzas.
Although there was a mix-up with starting times, the mobile pizza oven – which was built by hand by Rossi – is kept burning, so it wasn't long before hot entrees were coming out to party guests. Small cups of Thai pumpkin soup, garlic bread, bruschetta and chicken and asparagus 'cups' kept guests happy while the pizzas were prepared.
A range of pizzas were offered including plain cheese and tomato for the kids, garlic prawn, potato and rosemary, Hawaiian, a very hot spicy seafood, and mushroom and feta. They offer a number of vegetarian options and can also provide gluten free bases on request. If you have a special request or a favourite topping, nothing seems to be too much trouble.
Although the crust was a little burnt at times (difficult to avoid considering the heat of the oven and the fact that the ultimate cooking time is only two minutes) the pizzas were fresh, hot and satisfying. They are not the ultimate in gourmet pizzas, nor are they over-loaded with heaps of toppings, but they are plentiful and fresh and pleased a wide range of palates.
After everyone had plenty to eat, and another half dozen pizzas were made to help the late night partiers soak up their chardonnay, three types of dessert pizzas were then brought out. The lemon meringue was the winner as far as I was concerned, and it amazes me that I had never seen it before. A layer of tart lemon spread on a plain pizza based, was then topped off with a layer of sweet meringue. The heat of the oven blackened it perfectly. I didn't get to try the caramel and Mars Bar pizza, which is probably for the best as I may not have been able to control myself, but I did try the apple crumble pizza, and would have liked to see apple slices rather than the purée we had on the night.
The price (per head) includes chefs, paper plates, serviettes, clean up and all the pizza you can eat. As each party is different and has unique requirements, prices may vary, but for the 40-50 guests at this particular party, the cost all up was $900. This averaged out to $20 a head, including starters, pizza and dessert, my friend didn't have to do any cooking and there was no cleaning up or dishes the next morning.
Bella Pitsa can do any weather, as they can bring their own waterproof canopy to work under, but it is important to remember the space required for not only the pizza oven (on a custom-built trailer) but the 4WD that pulls it along. It's probably not appropriate for someone planning to have a shindig on their 4th floor balcony. They also need access to a power point.
All party bookings made before October 10th (2012) will include free starters and dessert pizzas.
Sound like a shame they use pre-baked pizza bases. It's a terrible shortcut. Considering you spend $20 per person. For the same price there are caterers out there that do the right way and use fresh pizza dough. You can tell the difference right away. I use the boys fromwww.cicciobello.com.au. The best pizza I have ever had outside Italy. All the best. Julie - Hillary