Earlier this week I had such a great experience. My girlfriend Mellie and I have been on the hunt for a man we have heard of in our area who makes outdoor pizza ovens. He built one in particular that we like at… a place called Farmstand 46 and we would like to build a similar one in our backyard. For some reason we have had trouble tracking down this illusive Italian because he doesn’t build them for money really, he just builds them when he feels like it and we also know that he is a great bread maker. He’s been sort of a mystery man in our minds and have half heartedly been looking to get a phone number for him. We’ve always been about 2-3 degrees of separation away from finding him.
Last Tues. at around 11AM serendipity kicked in when I entered the home of a bathroom remodel I am contracting. The homeowner, Rick was preparing a beautiful spread of cheese, salami, some beautiful artisan bread and home made Sangiovese wine. Rick, his neighbor Gaetano ( who supplied the wine) and a friend named Ciro (pronounced Cheer-o) were watching the Italian Cup soccer tournement. When I inquired about this mid- weekday festivity and began to look very interested in the food, Rick began to tell me about Ciro and how he made this beautiful bread and that he was the original owner of a gourmet cracker company called La Panzanella ( which he sold ). All of a sudden I asked if he made pizza ovens. Of course the answer was yes! So I went into the living room and said “Ciro, I’ve been looking for you!” He replied “Well, I’ma here in the living room” In any case I was invited to sit down and enjoy as well. Being a good Italian I could not say no to this offer even though it was the middle of my work day. Besides, this is exactly one of the reasons I love living in Paso Robles. People here are trying to not work so hard (and lately we are succeeding very well at that) and enjoy the simple moments of life more.
I found out that he is from an area south of Naples, Italy origianlly and was an oceanographer. Upon first site his build makes you think he was a stone mason instead of a baker, but once you enter conversation you realize how much he enjoys the simple pleasure of food, wine and people. It was a great day and I am so excitied to have met our pizza oven consultatnt. Keep you posted on the progress of that!