Ever since Firezza opened its first branch outside of London in Shenley Church End in September, people across Milton Keynes have been drooling over the quality of its pizza.
The brand’s slogan is ‘We believe in proper pizza’ and its stylishly-designed leaflets speak of hand-stretched and fire-baked pizza, with mouth-watering ingredients that’ll make your taste buds sing.
So as the editor of Celebrate:MK, I (Jon Boyle, pictured below left) took it upon myself to go along and see if this place really lives up to all the hype.
Even if it didn’t, I thought at least I might get some free pizza out of it.
Now I don’t like to spoil endings but heck, I’m going to anyway – Firezza is outstanding.
I turned up to be warmly greeted like a long-lost friend by the manager Jan Nova (pictured below right), who sat me down to passionately explain what makes the brand so different to other pizza companies.
He said: “Firezza was founded in 2001 by Edin Basic, who wanted to make and serve authentic Italian pizzas.
“It’s a much more simplified and healthy way of cooking. It’s an authentic way of making pizzas, involving great tasting ingredients with no stuffed, greasy crusts.
“At the end of the day it’s all about the product and with high-quality ingredients we can’t go wrong.
“What I love about Firezza is that this is still the philosophy of the company now, even after Pizza Express has acquired it.
“All of our cheese, including buffalo cheese, is flown in from Naples every week.
“We have the first ever authentic Italian Marana Forni oven in the UK right here in our MK store, which Mr Marana himself came over to show us how to use.
“And unlike other pizza companies we don’t freeze our dough. We make proper pizza.”
Once I had met the head chef, Abbas Balaghi (pictured above), it was time to have a go at making this ‘proper pizza’.
I chose to make the Pollo Piccante, which contains roasted Cajan-spiced chicken, roasted red peppers, fresh basil, red onions and green chilli with tomato and mozzarella.
After washing our hands throughly for the length of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday – a rule from the boss, Jan – Abbas helped me to roll out the fresh dough on a flour-covered work surface, before I was asked to lift it up and stretch it out on a rectangular wooden board.
I was told at this point that all of Firezza’s pizzas are rectangular and made in metres, rather than inches.
I smeared two scoops of tomato across the flattened dough and proceeded to place the fresh ingredients onto the half-metre pizza, under the careful guidance of Abbas.
We then gently shook the pizza off its giant wooden board and into the blazing Marana Forni oven – which looks rather sinister with its ferocious flames!
With the help of Abbas, the pizza was cooked to perfection in just two-and-a-half minutes.
We took it out, boxed it and then came the part I had been waiting for – tasting time.
The taste was heavenly, with the spiced chicken, fresh basil and roasted red peppers all combining to launch a party in my mouth!
I turned to Jan and asked if Firezza delivers to my estate in MK. When he said ‘yes’ I wanted to break out into a celebratory little dance, which goes some way to telling you how delicious the pizza had been.
I didn’t know what proper pizza was before but, after sampling it, there’s no going back for me now.
Order your Firezza pizza delivery at http://www.firezza.com or by calling 01908 867019. You can order wine, beers and prosecco too!
This article was first published in the March issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine, which is delivered to 10,000 homes and businesses and is exclusively the only local magazine available for pick-up in the Milton Keynes branch of Waitrose. You can also pick up a copy from David Lloyd Club in Newlands or from University Campus Milton Keynes. Read the full March digital edition by clicking here.