Yarraville Gardens

Around a month ago we got our first street trading permit. Maribyrnong is one of the only councils in the city that don't make food trucks jump through hoops to get a permit to trade with in their council. They ask that you abide by a set of fair rules that involve parking restrictions, rubbish disposal and not parking too near a similar business. These rules work. The food trucks in Maribyrnong are respectful of the rules, other businesses and of each other.

Moreland council is another council that has embraced food truck culture and the trend is spreading as Melbourne City Council is currently running a 3 month trial with 10 food trucks with in the CBD.

How ever many of the other councils in and around the city ask food trucks to meet endless requirements and to provide pages of proof that you will meet those requirements. We would love to be able to trade in our local council of Mornington but they don't have a policy for food trucks, hopefully slowly but surely i'll ware them down and they'll be able to see the benefits of having food trucks on the peninsula. Who wouldn't love a food truck next to Portsea back beach on a summers day?

So with our permit for Maribyrnong we are able to trade at food truck hot spot Yarraville Gardens. On any given night you will find food trucks and keen as bean customers lining up along Somerville road. Some nights you'll find a complete truck jam of 14 trucks lining the street. One would wonder how well the trucks do with that many of them but the truth is the more the merrier! Fans of all the food trucks will come down and bring their families who might end up trying something from a different food truck, so everybody benefits. People bring a couple of beers, their dog, a picnic blanket and slowly make their way from truck to truck sharing and trying. Having a group of food trucks creates a great atmosphere and the more food trucks there are the more willing people are to come down.

We love going to Yarraville Gardens and have really enjoyed meeting and getting to know all the other food trucks owners. One of our favorite parts is that we all feed each other! We've had pork belly, corn and coleslaw from Gorilla Truck, pho from Nem N'Nem, salted caramel creme brulee from The Brulee Cart, burgers from Mr Burger, churros from Senor Churro, oregano and feta chips from Greek Street Food and the list goes on...

Yarraville Gardens even in winter has exceeded our expectations. We're really looking forward to seeing how it develops as the days get longer and nights get warmer. For any of you that haven't been before come along and say hello, grab a pizza and what ever else you may fancy from any of the great food trucks.




One weekend two quirkily wonderful markets

A couple of weeks ago we had the pleasure of attending two more alternative markets. The first was the Nanna Cool Falling For You market and the second was Belgrave Big Dreams Market.

Nanna Cool has a market every two months and this months market had a lovely autumn theme. They celebrate the handmade and the homemade with gusto. At this stage it's only a small market but with great themes i can see them growing with every market.  

Belgrave Big Dreams is a bigger, monthly market up in the hills with gorgeous stalls and interesting punters.  You can tell they really care about the finer details and creating a special atmosphere. They set up a wonderful table and chairs arrangement in front of our van, they even decorated it with flowers in a pot, we loved it.

The weather was great all weekend and we had a lovely time. We met lots of new people including Emma and Boris who saw us at Nanna Cool and then came to Belgrave Big Dreams to see us again, we're now booked in to cater their wedding in July!

We had our first run with our Breakfast pizza too - Panchetta rashers, cherry tomatoes, swiss brown mushrooms, san marzano tomato, fior di latte, parmesan, basil, olive oil. It went down a treat :-).

Hopefully we'll be back at both markets soon.

table set up at belgrave big dreams

table set up at belgrave big dreams


Joining the world of Markets

Last Sunday we had our first market at the Yarra Glen Racecourse. After what started as a very misty day it turned in to glorious sunshine. I imagine a markets busyness is very weather dependent so we we're lucky the sun was out.

We arrived and we're soon helped in to our spot. We definitely felt like the new kids on the block, it seemed like all the other caterers had been doing this for years, they all knew each other well and were chatting away. Other than a great little coffee place in a camper van trailer (with a 6ft owner) we were the only food truck at the market, the others all had stalls they had to set up. Lots of them came up for a friendly peak and a chat so it was nice to start meeting people.

The morning for us was a little slow, we've decided next time to give a breakfast pizza a go to see if that helps. Around lunch orders came in at a lovely steady pace. We did have Sam helping us out in the van again but we think next time it could be managed by just the two of us.

We all had lots of fun and we're very much enjoying our new life style. Fingers crossed for sunshine at all our future markets!

Baany to Warrna Ngargee - Water to Water Festival

Last Saturday we were lucky enough to work at the brilliant Water to Water Festival. The festival was the first Indigenous music and culture festival to be held on the Mornington Peninsula. 

Easily for us the festival was being held 5 minutes from our house at the Briars Historic Park in Mount Martha so at 8am we drove the Wagon up and started setting up. The day started off spookily foggy (which made for some great shots of the wagon!) but gradually turned in to a beautifully sunny day.

There were great singers, dancers, fellow food stalls, didgeridoo lessons, face painting (in a tee-pee!), traditional art lessons, massages, the local radio station and the list goes on.

Pizza Wagon was very busy and sold 180 pizzas that day, happily we had a helping hand from our friends Sam and Nina who were very good at taking orders from a covered in flour Hannah and a covered in soot Zak. 

Thank you to Baany to Warrna Ngargee for having us and to our contact person Annie-Rose for being so lovely to work with, hopefully we'll see you next year! 


Sarah's 30th in St Kilda

On March 15th we headed in St Kilda to cater for the lovely Sarah's 30th birthday. We parked up out the front of her and her husband's charming home and set up for the evening. The main party was going on inside and in the garden so we were provided with two servers to take our pizza to the party masses. For her party Sarah picked the Margherita, Funghi (which seemed to be the favourite), Capricciosa, Melanzana and Piccante. 

We had guests from the party pop out and have a chat, It was great to hear feedback (especially as it was all good - hurrah!). We cooked 45 pizzas including a Margherita for two young boys in pyjamas who lived next door and had been sat outside checking out the van - very cute.

All in all the evening could not have gone better. The hosts were lovely and even came out with a beer for us each at the end of the evening, so Zak and i shared a beer and a pizza whilst toasting the nights success.

mobile pizza melbourne - setting up

mobile pizza melbourne - setting up

funghi, portobello mushrooms with truffle oil - a hit on the night!

funghi, portobello mushrooms with truffle oil - a hit on the night!

Thank you friends and family

On March 14th we hosted an evening for our friends and family (Australian) to say thank you for all their love and support over the last couple of years. To get Pizza Wagon on the road and selling pizza has taken a lot of patience and we don't know if we could have done it with out you (including the many UK friends and family) so really, truly, thank you.

It was a perfect Melbourne evening, friends and family sharing a beer, dogs playing, all whilst watching the sun set over the football oval. The orders came thick and fast and we were really put under pressure,  just what we wanted. We cooked nearly 50 pizzas that night and were overwhelmed by the response, i even had a little sob at the end.

We went to say a special thank you to Sam Price for helping take orders and also Kate Milburn and Alicia Christie for snapping some photos.

Pizza Wagon is now ready to serve Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula and greater Victoria. We're available for wedding catering, birthday catering, corporate catering, any type of catering! Hire us for big music festivals, sports events, family fun days, local markets, cultural festivals, any type of event - we'd love to be there. 

Night time at the Pizza Wagon

Night time at the Pizza Wagon

Job numero uno

On Friday Illoura early learning centre hosted us for our very first job. We parked outside and the lovely ladies who work there came and got their lunch from us. Everything went really well and great fun was had by all. Favourite pizzas were the Melanzana and the Piccante.

Zak and i are so happy that Pizza Wagon has finally come together and seems to be starting off at a sprinting pace with 4 or 5 jobs already lined up. Keep an eye on our upcoming events page and follow us on facebook and twitter to see where we're going to be next. 

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The Roadyworthy Certificate

Our last blog was 10 months ago, frustratingly it has taken us that long to get the van it’s road worthy certificate and the registration papers needed to legally drive it on Aussie roads. Last week we achieved both of these so our Pizza Wagon dream can finally continue! It’s been a long 10 months of being very patient but hopefully 2014 is going to be kinder to us. Here’s to a year full of pizza making and we can’t wait to share it with all of you. 

Zak - A very happy chappy!

Zak - A very happy chappy!

Dough

The ratio behind the all important pizza dough we used in Italy was 80% 00 flour and 20% 0 flour. The 00 flour we used was either ‘Farina’ (which literally means meal or flour in Latin) or ‘Barilla’. 00 is highly refined and talcum powder soft, it is often used for pastries and cakes and rises more than other flours. For the 0 flour we used ‘Manitoba’ which is named after it’s place of origin in Canada. 0 flour is elastic and glutinous, it’s considered a strong flour and is great for bread making. The cooked pizza dough was delicious so hopefully we can find ourselves a good supplier in Melbourne to deliver our Farina and Manitoba flour!

Shipping

With the van finished she was ready to be packed up and shipped off to Australia! We had her towed down from towability to the dock in Southampton to be packed in to a shipping container. Simple, or so we thought. Turns out with the new vent on, the van was too tall to fit in the container. So Zak and I had to make an impromptu trip down to Southampton where Zak spent about 2 hours in strong coastal winds prising the vent off the top of the van. Eventually he got it off, he had bloodied hands and there was a hole in the roof of our van, but she now fit in the container so all was well and we said Bon Voyage!

Fior Di Latte

Fior Di Latte - is made the same way as buffalo mozzarella but unlike buffalo, fior di latte is made from cows milk. It tastes smooth and milky but is firmer and not as wet as buffalo mozzarella, which makes it great for putting on pizzas. Especially if you want to avoid using processed mozzarella, which we do! For this reason fior di latte was a much used and loved ingredient whilst on our pizza course in Italy. The cooked result is a beautifully stringy, temptingly oozy, deliciously tasting melted cheese - that can be both a mess and and joy to indulge in! It often goes under the alias of mozzarella as generally i suppose it’s easier than explaining what fior di latte is to most customers.

Woodfire Oven Workshop

Just before we left for Melbourne we went back up to visit our super duper, oven making, South African friend Jay for an afternoons oven workshop. First off we lit the fire in the middle of the oven for around 40 minutes to get the floor really piping hot. Jay makes his pizzas super thin and crispy so he runs a floor temperature of around 350 Celsius and an air temperature of between 450 and 500. At this temperature he can make a 10” pizza in around 50-90 seconds. When the oven got to scorching we pushed the fire to the back and swept the oven floor before we started cooking. 

Zak started off making the pizzas whilst i worked the oven and then we switched. Jay taught us how to work the peel - sliding the pizza in the oven, rotating it half way through and shimmying it out at the end. He tried his best to distract and pressure us to give an idea of what it would really be like doing all this with waiting, hungry customers. The pizzas cooked so quickly that as rookies we couldn’t really keep up the pace of getting another one in before we took one out, but gradually we both got better. Jay sent us home with lots of tips and tricks, now we’re just itching to give it a go in our own oven.

San Marzano Tomatoes

During our pizza course we cooked with (and ate) the famous San Marzano tomatoes. They are a variety of plum tomato, compared to the Roma tomato Marzano tomatoes are thinner and more pointed. The flesh is much thicker with fewer seeds, and the taste is stronger, sweeter and less acidic. Technically a San Marzano tomato can not be a San Marzano tomato unless it is grown in the San Marzano valley, so the real deal could be a little tricky to get hold of in Melbourne! They were a joy to work with and on our first day we chopped them up, added some basil and used these deliciously sweet tomatoes on our pizzas instead of a tomato sauce. What a treat!

The Makeover

In September we completed the vans make over. We liked the original red but in real life the old girl was looking a little tired so she got a fresh coat of paint and is looking fresh, shiny and ready to impress the Australian masses. Towability also completed the kitchen. The oven, boiler, sinks, fridges, stainless steel counters, dough trays, gastro trays, stereo, lights are all in and all just in time to get her shipped to Australia…

Logo Brainstorming

Around mid-august we had dinner with my wonderfully talented aunty Sara. She, along with a couple of her work colleagues, had started work on our logo. Sara had chopped out the potential logo and stuck it on to paper bags, napkins, pizza boxes and even on to a photo of a citroen h van. We hadn’t quite got the colours down yet but the design was well on it’s way. It really helped us to visualise what Pizza Wagon was going to become and we will be forever grateful for all the time she put in.

Around mid-august we had dinner with my wonderfully talented aunty Sara. She, along with a couple of her work colleagues, had started work on our logo. Sara had chopped out the potential logo and stuck it on to paper bags, napkins, pizza boxes and even on to a photo of a citroen h van. We hadn’t quite got the colours down yet but the design was well on it’s way. It really helped us to visualise what Pizza Wagon was going to become and we will be forever grateful for all the time she put in.

Van Plans

Having bought the van and the oven we needed to find a company to turn our van in to a dream pizza making machine. We were recommended a company called ‘Towability’ who have lots of experience refurbishing Citroen H Vans as well as much bigger trailers and are currently working on vans for Mr Jamie Oliver. With the dream team of Towablity and Jay the pizza van guru we came up with these plans.

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The Oven

After getting ourselves a van next on our list was the oven. We went up to see a guy called Jay at Dingley Dell Enterprises. Jay is a chatty South African who started his own mobile pizza business and has now moved on to making wood fire pizza ovens. He wooed and impressed us very quickly and we had soon signed up to buy an oven. Not only did he make us an oven but he gave us heaps of advice about running a mobile pizza business. He makes the ovens out of wire mesh, expanded clay and refractory cements. Ours is 4ft long, 3ft wide and 2ft high and on a tear drop shaped base. It came with pizza peels, a coal hook, blow pipes, a fire basket and thermometer. We haven’t used any of it yet as we needed to keep it squeaky clean for Australian customs but we can’t wait to fire it up and get cooking in it once it gets here. 

Citroen H Van

Here she is! Last spring we went to H Van world (less a world, more someone’s garden) and shortly after bought this little lovely. Nicknamed the ‘French Toaster’ H Vans were born out of World War II and produced by Citroen in France and Belgium up until 1981. Ours was produced in 1977, is left hand drive, has a long wheel base, hatch’s on both sides, a booming 58 horsepower engine, 3 speed transmission and was just what we were looking for! Since we bought it we’ve given it a bit of a makeover on the inside and out. This is it in it’s original form, it was a very exciting day.