Il Carretto Mobile Wood Fired Pizza, Bexhill

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It would not be a lie to say I like a good pizza. In fact I would often be said to enjoy the company of a good pizza more than I would enjoy the company of a slightly carbonated, hopsy, alcoholic beverage. Of course, if I can get them both in the same room at the same time, that is a ménage a trois I’m going to be damn happy to be a part of…

It is also not a lie to say that I currently reside in the evergreen Northern Rivers of New South Wales.

It would also be true to say that many of you may now be querying if I am going to make a point any time soon.

Well that, my friends, is a fair query to be sure, as it is well within my skill-set to beat about the bush, proverbial or otherwise, for an amount of time that could easily be described as excessive until I finally hit you with some kind of point.

OK.

This is a story about Il Carretto mobile wood fired pizza. I choose to start the story… now.

Il Carretto is a mobile wood fired pizza joint (for the slightly simple among us who may not have picked that up from the previous sentence), based in Bexhill, in the back side of Byron Bay (not literally in Byron Bay’s ass as that would just be uncomfortable, but located in the hills behind the bay and a little to the south).

Every week they do a pizza night at Clunes on Thursday and Bexhill on Friday, and then do private functions on their nights off… which would actually mean that many of their nights off would be work nights too, but that’s how it rolls in hospitality.

Andrea stoking away... or whatever it is a chief pizza maker does
Andrea stoking away… or whatever it is a chief pizza maker does

The business is run by Andrea and Emily Bonotto and they are a very nice local couple indeed. Andrea is the pizza maker and with a name like that this man was clearly born to make pizza. His mumma would’ve sent him straight from the womb to the kneading bench where he would go forth and create his first glorious pizza. The disciples would’ve been fed, and fed damn well at that, and they would’ve thanked this child and wished him well in his journey of pizza glory… and on the flipside, if this pizza thing didn’t work out for him he would’ve made a great lumberjack… with a sexy Italian accent. Emily is just an all round nice bird and generally the one who will take your order at the pizza night. That’s nice, isn’t it?

The pizzas range in price from $10-19, they are always made with love on a sour dough base and have minimal toppings just the way I like them. This affordability coupled with their close proximity to my home, has resulted in my sampling of many of Il Carretto’s wares.

This is the menu
This is the menu

This time I had the “Caponata” with spicy salami. I asked for something with chilli and this thing had a kick. Too often you want a bit of kick but your pizza will leave you disappointed like watching a one legged soccer match… no kick at all. I wanted kick in my pizza and it was there, and the capsicum paste did all sorts of things to me that made my face happy also.
The "Caponata" with spicy salami
The “Caponata” with spicy salami

Others I have tried include the “Crudo”, “Zucca” and “Spagnola”. All have names that sound like nothing more than goobledigook to me, but all were damn tasty none-the-less.
This is the "Margherita"
This is the “Margherita”

The kids went for their usual; a “Margherita” for Seba and a “Hawaiian” for Obi… or vise versa. Almost as cheap a fricking happy meal at Micky D’s and fuck times tastier!
And this is the "Hawaiian"
And this is the “Hawaiian”

The child friendly atmosphere is a bit of a bonus for us with spawn, or a really shitty atmosphere if you are looking for a dimly lit corner to romance a loved one (maybe in the corner behind that stack of chairs and trestle tables?). But a bonus for us for sure.

Oh, and there’s always a couple of specials too. But get in early, even if you phone your order in, as late comers are often relegated to the local Domino’s. Suuuuuckers.

Nothing new… But some really good old shit

This one week during which I didn’t really do anything new or unusual in the kitchen. Well actually, one night while the boys were asleep, Jennee and I got a tub of ice cream and a shit load of chocolate syrup and then we… got… hmmm. Not today methinks. No, we shall concentrate on the regurgitated recipes of days gone by.

I will start the story right… about… here.

I would marry this
I would marry this

I made dahl again… and some flat bread to go with it… and even some sautéed kale and chilli just to top that shit right off. The sautéed kale and chilli is the way of the future. Even by itself with a bowl of rice it would keep a Phillipino factory worker going for a week just so you can strut around in your new custom Nikes.

I have discovered that the kids will eat anything if it's on pizza. These had zucchini, kale and bacon. Seba added a pile of anchovies to his and Obi a pile of capers
I have discovered that the kids will eat anything if it’s on pizza. These had tomato, zucchini, kale and bacon. Seba added a pile of anchovies to his and Obi a pile of capers

The next thing I made again was a load of something that I can’t remember… but I’m sure it’s going to come to me soon… pizzas. We made pizzas. The boys and I make pizzas every week so there was no escaping that one. Plus I got some photos so even my memory couldn’t fail me.

'nuff said
’nuff said

One night I didn’t feel like anything except hammy baked beans for dinner, so basically that story ends with me eating hammy baked beans for dinner.

Bananageddon is upon us
Bananageddon is upon us

I made these bad boys at work. I like to call them “Bananageddon Pancakes”. Banana buttermilk pancakes, fresh banana, banana chips, pecans, home made mascarpone, butterscotch sauce. Effing A!

Pork knuckle. Damn
Pork knuckle. Damn

My Aunty came to visit me all the way from West Oz and, being that Germany was the place of her birth, I thought it legitimate that we should treat her to a classic Chateau le Stockdale German inspired spread… minus the beer wenches this time. Pork knuckle, home made sauerkraut, nana’s potato salad and home made chutneys galore. She left a very happy Aunty Chris.

Queenie working on the mis en place, me mooching around in the background like a gangster
Queenie working on the mis en place, me mooching around in the background like a gangster
I am hungry looking at this pic
I am hungry looking at this pic
The spread. Add some bread and let your face enjoy the good times
The spread. Add some bread and let your face enjoy the good times
Quick face, enjoy those good times
Quick face, enjoy those good times

To top the whole effing week off Queenie and I made coq au vin. But we didn’t just make coq au vin… we made COCK U VAN. This spread was a fricking cracker. The cauli cheese needs a separate write up just for itself. It was probs one of the best things on the table in my humble opinion. Granted, I did make it, but shit that stuff is good. I didn’t even put cheese in it just because I’ll do what the heck I want in my kitchen. No cheese. Nope. Just made a damn good béchamel with a bit of nutmeg in it and that was damn near enough to make a lesser man wet his pants in an entirely inappropriate manner… and by wet his pants I actually mean eat the fuck out of the cauli cheese (no cheese) and don’t stop eating until it exists no longer. That’s right – wipe it out. Tsunami Grazza and the lesser known Tropical Storm Queenie hit the table and sent many Asian villagers (who were actually cauli cheese) to the depths of our combined monsoonal bellies. Potato gratin and sautéed Brussels sprouts were the icing on the proverbial coq au vin cake.

And I will end the story right here.

PS Laura, I put the banana chips on those pancakes just for Azza.