|Pizza from the Hearth|
|Features - Chefs and Restaurants|
|Written by Jon Ross-Wiley|
The connection between Stone Hearth Pizza Co. and the Boston Local Food Festival jumps out at you when reading the restaurant's mission statement.
From Stone Hearth's website: "Stone Hearth Pizza Co. has a simple focus—to serve the highest quality Neapolitan style, thin crust pizza along with gourmet salads and a hand-picked selection of wine and beer. Our menu is forever evolving, but will always incorporate a healthy blend of premium organic, locally produced, and sustainable ingredients. These details matter. They help guarantee a superior product, support family farming, protect natural resources, and strengthen local economies."
On a consistent basis, Stone Hearth Pizza Co. hits the mark. Their Neapolitan-style pizzas, conceived and crafted by Chef Michael Ehlenfeldt (former chef de cuisine at Hamersley’s Bistro) , are of the highest quality and are packed exclusively with premium organic and locally-sourced (when available) ingredients.
It all starts with the dough which is hand-formed and made from a high-protein, 100% flour. Next the sauce, followed by exquisite, fresh vegetables and the finest meats. When this combination hits the 700 to 900 degree, open-flame, stone hearth oven, it's only a matter of minutes before the pie is perfectly cooked and ready to eat. During my last visit to Stone Hearth, I spoke with one patron after she took her first bite.
"It's that little bit of crispy char that makes it so good," she said with an expression that read 100% satisfaction.
Her table mate added, "And the ingredients are just so fresh. It really makes a noticeable difference. It's kind of ruined other pizza for me...which is fine!"
So how is it possible that this level of consistency and high-quality can be achieved on a regular basis at three different locations? Stone Hearth's Alex Chamberlain shed some light on this question for me during a recent phone conversation.
"It's really difficult, to be honest, but there is a beauty to it as well." She continued, "We source locally, but that even changes from location to location, which is great because we are able to expand our network. We have a Rolodex of local food producers, and we have to make choices on the fly based on what's available where."
I pushed a bit more to try to figure out how a pizza company that relies on local ingredients braces itself for winter. Chamberlain stated that the menu simply has to turn to the root vegetables of the region, as well as more "meat and potatoes" varieties of pizza. "Thankfully, we have access to local beef and cheeses, so we are still able to stay true to our mission." Chamberlain reflected, "It's sad, though, to see the summer bounty go away. We are all drinking local craft beer to deal with it."
Personally, I love the fact that fall is here. The arrival of October means that soon, Stone Hearth fans will be able to bite into a beautifully fresh, perfectly autumnal butternut squash pizza. What a great way to celebrate seasonal cooking.
Stone Hearth Pizza Co. is excited to be a part of the Boston Local Food Festival. Be sure to swing by for a slice and say "hello" to Alex!