Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Copper Oven

A few months back I got a nice email from a guy named Seth who complimented the blog and mentioned he ran a pizzeria called The Copper Oven in upstate New York. "That's great," I told him, "I head up to my friend's lake house outside Ithaca every summer, are you nearby?"

"Actually we're about a half hour north of Ithaca..." At this time I started realizing that all of Seth's ingredients are locally sourced from towns I was familiar with. "We're in a small town called Ovid." That was exactly where I was heading- Ovid, population 612. What are the odds?

There's Seth on the left with The Copper Oven's namesake. The pizzeria is situated on the gorgeous Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery on Cayuga Lake. Seth and his wife Mary Jane opened TCO this year shortly after acquiring their beautiful oven, a Le Panyol coated in, of course, copper.

I've never come across an oven I can see my reflection in! This thing is stunning, and to top it off it's on wheels making the whole rig completely portable.

The tiles and brick are made from organic white clay which has excellent heat refractory qualities and allows Seth and MJ to whip up pies like this-

As I mentioned earlier, TCO uses local ingredients and toppings when available, even pulling fresh herbs straight from their garden. Ladies and gentlemen, the locavore movement is in full effect, and I'm lovin' it.

Here's MJ whippin' up a pizza for me and my buds. Seth and MJ have a good system going in which she rolls out and preps the pies, then runs them outside for Seth fire up.

Generally The Copper Oven has two different pies to choose from on any given day- one of which is usually vegetarian. I had to try both, but I started with the Cream of Mushroom Soup pizza.

This is a new one on me, but who doesn't love cream of mushroom soup? Why didn't anyone think of this sooner? Who cares, it exists now and Seth & MJ nailed it. It's a white pie with a créme fraiche base, Parmesan cheese, chanterelle mushrooms, and fresh garlic scapes and chives from the garden.

Perfectly balanced, not too heavy, not too creamy. I wanted another, but I knew I still had to try the Prosciutto pizza:

This pie is similar to the mushroom pizza, but it substitutes the mushrooms for Prosciutto cotto followed by a drizzling of balsamic vinaigrette.

I dig the creative flavor combos happening on this pizza and mercilessly wolfed it down with a spectacular glass of wine.

The Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery was just awarded "Best Riesling of the New World" in Germany for their 2008 Riesling. You know me, I don't know my wine for anything, but it tasted great so I grabbed a bottle for the road (but not before order two more pizzas).

A few weeks back Seth and MJ featured my visit on their blog; I've been treated like such a pizza celebrity! I'm so stoked Seth reached out to me urging me to visit his truly unique pizzeria. I really loved everything about The Copper Oven- the pizza, the location, and especially the hospitality. Will I be back next summer?

You betchya.
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