It is hard not to notice a 1946 Chevy Stovebolt truck with a 3000lb authentic wood-fire oven, especially when it smells exactly like the little “pizze” shop across from my Zia’s house in Vicenza, Italy.
After a remarkable early afternoon at Pillitteri Estates Winery, I was introduced to owners Ted and Christine Lafleur and their sons André and Emilé (who, in the spirit of pizza I’ll call Emile-O). Upon introduction I was immediately welcomed in to take a closer look at the truck as Christine explained the almost 2 years it took to put the masterpiece together. From the impressive oven to the LED light mounted to the canopy, it is obvious that the Canuck Pizza Truck is a labour of love for this Fort Erie family.
It was not easy to select a pizza from the menu – they all sounded amazing and the steady flow of pies emerging from the fire every 3 minutes made it clear that it was impossible to make a bad choice. In the end I went with the Broccoli and Asiago pizza with home-made garlic sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and red peppers. I had the pleasure of watching mom, Christine work her magic with the hand dough-roller and then in paying careful detail to dressing my pizza with each fresh and delicious topping. Now would be a good time to mention that the Canuck Pizza Truck orders the flour for their dough directly from Italy!
Next, son Emilé-O scooped up the pizza using an impressively large pizza peel and put it into the oven. Unfortunately I cannot remember the oven temperature, but I do know that it had to be pretty hot considering three minutes later Ted had my pizza on a plate sliced into eight perfectly equal pieces.
Because I had hovered at the truck the whole time to watch and appreciate the process, I walked my own pizza to the Pilliterri patio where I was going to enjoy a glass of 2010 Gewurztraminer Riesling Fusion. Had I gone right to the patio after I ordered, I would have experienced son, André’s speedy pizza delivery service with a smile. André’s smile and enthusiasm was especially contagious!
My first bite (and each one that followed), was DIVINE! The veggies were perfectly cooked, the garlic sauce was creamy and zesty and the crust was perfectly crunchy and thin enough to hold but still let the toppings steal the show. When all was said and done, there wasn’t even a crumb left.
What impressed me the most, even more than the delicious pizza, was how wonderful it was to see the family working so collaboratively together and having such a great time! That night they were headed to a Niagara wedding and the next morning they were scheduled to be back at Pillitteri for the rest of the weekend – now that’s dedication!!
If you are a pizza lover, what are you waiting for? You better get out and try this delicious pizza. But, with the summer winding down and the hockey season approaching, you only have until the end of September to catch up with the Canuck Pizza Truck in Niagara.