deVOL do Wood Fired Pizzas with the Esse Firestone

21st April 2016

By Helen Parker


Last Friday was such a good day here at deVOL, the rain was absolutely pouring down but it didn’t dampen our spirits, we promised the staff wood fired pizzas and nothing was going to stop us. After my trip to River Cottage with Zoë our PR manager (and my daughter!) courtesy of Esse, we saw first hand how great their ‘Firestone’ wood fired oven really was. I have always wanted to have a wood fired oven here at Cotes Mill, something rustically built and beautiful and one day maybe we will get round to making it. But in the meantime I thought I would ask Esse if we could give the ‘Firestone’ a try here at the Mill and they very kindly said yes! result!! Thank you Esse.


How exciting, we didn’t have to wait for an oven to be built, we could try out our wood firing skills straight away. I had  special training from River Cottages very own chef Gill Mellor on how to use the Firestone which was really helpful, so it wasn’t quite such a scary prospect. So, Mark one of our lovely groundsmen here at the Mill and former Live Aid musician (yes, he actually played at Live Aid!!) was on hand to keep the fired stoked up with wood from the Mill grounds and off cuts from the workshops. Which was another reason why we thought a wood fired oven would be so so perfect for the mill, we have soooo much wood.



So first thing Friday I was up early shopping for ingredients and by 9am Jane our wonderful new chef and me were busy kneading dough, making tomato sauce and getting the scene set for the lunchtime service. Sophie, our showroom lady and the would be winner of ‘bake off’ if she ever entered!! was on hand to help and boy did we need her, we made the fatal mistake of letting everyone choose their toppings from a large selection, consequently, we had around 40 different pizza combinations to make!! From the photo below it doesn’t look that much but that was only half the options!!


The showroom was perfect for the lunchtime rush, lovely old vintage table, lots of beautiful pots for ingredients and a view of the Mill pond. The smell was amazing and we got into the flow of rolling, making up the pizza and sliding it in and out of the oven pretty well. By the end we were looking expert I think!!! very wet, but expert!!



The ‘Firestone’ was so good, it cooked the pizzas in literally 90 seconds and once you got the hang of twisting the pizza round half way through cooking without pushing it into the red hot embers it was a breeze and so much fun.




But I have to say the best thing was the reaction we got from all the staff, many saying it was the best pizza they had ever eaten, what a great feeling. It’s such an authentic way to cook and so easy if you have a good supply of wood. I think everyone, even the customers who were watching over us were super impressed with it. For parties and summer gatherings this is definitely the ultimate cooking method, like barbecuing it just gives such a fantastic flavour to the food. If you have a few spare pennies I would recommend this as your next ‘must have’ purchase, it’s not cheap starting at £1,140.00 but it’s so worth it, it looks cool, it makes you into an instant good cook and it’s so impressive as a way to serve food to lots of people. We sell them here at the Mill and will be happy to wax lyrical about this product if you pop in to see us. It’s outside the showroom looking resplendent and will be in action again tomorrow, Tandoori chicken and Naans on the staff lunch menu, I will let you know how it goes.



As always all our amazing photos are taken by Tim………………….