A Breath of Fresh Air

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And I mean that.  Ceriello Fine Foods of Brewers Hill and Belvedere Square has that cozy Italian Market feel that resembles a throwback to markets you might have gone to when stores like this were more prevalent, and a lovely meeting place in your neighborhood to talk about anything.   Or if you’re lucky there’s one close to you that still keeps all the traditions and goodness of why you came in the first place.

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I can’t place my finger on why places like this draw me and so many others exactly.  At least for it’s the hope I’m supporting local businesses and that my support is going to a place with good intentions that mirrors the customers intentions.  I hope that makes sense.  I also think my overly sentimental nature wants to believe that these business come more from the heart than more larger and national chains that are strictly business and don’t always bring the personable aspect to how they run their operations, versus say a local one.

And Ceriello is a growing company.  They’re originally in New York and now have added a few more in the state, as well as expanding into New Jersey, and now Maryland. The local flavor is still there.

The feeling I’ve been getting from Ceriello is that they do things the right way.  And they’re making it effortless.

I’ve always had a good feeling and food service every time I’ve visited.  Whether it’s ordering a sandwich, wine (click here to read about the wines pictured throughout this blog) prepared foods, pasta, other various groceries, and of course pizza.

And in the less than one year they’ve been open, they seem to have made a positive impact on the local community in Southeast Baltimore.

This is the first time I’ve tried their pizza.  Luckily, in Baltimore they do have a strong sandwich and pizza menu that seems to have expanded greatly from the link here.

I’m glad I took a picture of their choices here that were in front of the oven.  Oh wait, I got a picture of this beautiful oven too!   So after debating on which pie to get and agonizing over a couple, I went with both.  Yes, when all things are undecided, go with both.  And I’m so glad I did.

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First up is the one I originally wanted and almost hedged on, the Quattro Stagioni aka The Four Seasons.  For our pals in Maryland this is for us.  We’ve experienced all four season the past few weeks weather wise, this made perfect sense.  Little did I know that the pie would actually be divided by the four toppings on separate parts of the pizza.  This looks genius, crafty, creative, and most of all beautiful.   What I did notice that even though peppers were on the menu, I’m guessing onions were the substitute.  And believe me, whether or not that was a honest mistake or meant to be in place of the peppers, I’m happy with that.

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The toppings tasted fresh and I mean fresh.  Maybe even farm fresh.  But I’m no expert on what’s farmed or not.  But the mushrooms, caramelized onions, and zucchini tasted like they were from another universe. Maybe that’s how they’re truly supposed taste, just plain natural. And in my usual true-to-form I took plenty of liberties into picking piece of off my pie and enjoying them on their own.   The prosciutto, or cotta, was also really tasty, and a nice dichotomy to all the vegetables that dominated the pie.

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The mozzarella cheese worked perfectly as a backdrop but was not lost in the shuffle. Cheese is always the heart and soul of any pizza. Without good cheese everything else goes down the tubes.

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I did want to mention the crust.  The way this was heated made the dough soft and chewy which in many instances works perfectly.  Some people aren’t going to like that.  It’s not your New York or crunchy thin crust style.  But it’s a style that is the perfect comfort food for any time of comfort.  And it’s still cold, but by the time you read this it could feel like close to Summer in the Maryland area, but the point is still there.  This is a pizza you can fold in half, or appreciate it for what it is, with the perfect charring and tasty crust.

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It paired with an interesting white wine (more on the wine will be updated this Wednesday here).  As you can see above I got all four seasons in these two slices.  So exciting I know!

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Next up was the pizza maker’s suggestion and favorite, the Pizza Polpetta, which was the Meatball.  And man they did meatballs much differently than I expected.  I’ve had meatballs on top of pies which can sometimes cause a mess, fall off, and be too much to eat in one bite.  Not that it wasn’t tasty or created in their vision, but sometimes less is more.  This was more.  The meatballs were baked into the cheese. and they were sliced in the most precisely cut small pieces.  I did not expect that but was pleasantly surprised.   The caramelized onions which seemed to be familiar, oh wait haha, and the provolone really made this pie.  The red sauce and mozzarella once again played second fiddle but in a good way.

I wanted to show you the inside of one of these slices, so without sounding gross, this literally is a dissection of the sliced meatballs and onions with slices of provlone baked under the mozzarella.   I know, so cool right?

This paired with a standard Chianti.  And pizza with meat and red sauce screams an Italian red.

For more on the wines, go here.

The list of their pies is boundless so if I get the opportunity, like I’ve said about many places before, I would love to come back again.  But regardless of that, this place has so much to offer.

And you don’t have to live in the area to get all the  good products and good energy they have to offer.

Here are some links to help you in that direction.

Here’s their list of stores and contact info.

To order by phone, click here.   And here’s where you can order gift baskets and their catering info.

And for our friends in Baltimore, here is their food menu, that I know has grown immensely.

What a treat this was. Seriously, this was two fantastic pizzas.  And I look forward to having more again, in times of comfort or any season I care to celebrate, or all four!

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Oh by the way, they do a pizza and wine night.  For our friends in Baltimore you have may experienced this.  I have yet to have the pleasure.   I hope I get the opportunity.  Oh and…

Happy Early Spring,

Ideen

Short N’ Sweet

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That’s what I intended this post to be.  Or maybe I’m still salivating at the thought of this pie we ate last Friday.  It was just that, short n’ sweet.  It was decimated within minutes.   Well that’s it, thanks everybody!   Ha!

We were at a local wine club party enjoying our various snacks.  But I had another inspired thought, just like last time, to order a pizza from the highly touted and regarded, BricknFire Pizza Co.  The results were incredible!

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I scoured their menu, or big board, as I like to call it, to find something that fit the mood.   We’re fast-approaching the heart of November. A pie that would represent the spirit of the holidays was definitely in order.

A bottle or so in may cloud a persons judgement but not me.  I went with the ‘Jesse’ for the simple reason I saw cranberry. I felt inspired.  I just had a feeling this was going to be something exceptional.   Saying I was right would be an understatement.

So who’s Jesse?  Well he is the man.  And he was the gentleman heating up everyone’s creation in that incredible looking oven. This screams passion and heart.  And this pizza we ate definitely came from the heart.  My goodness.

This was jut the perfect thing we needed while we’re a little relaxed via our red wines. We had our cheese, crackers,  fruits, and other oddities, but this put out evening over-the-top. Alright I’ve used enough superlatives and vagueness, and I’ve yet to talk about the pie.  Let me get to the point.

The dough and crust had this perfect squishy factor to it (just right for the holidays).  And for the element we’re in this was beyond perfect.  We were inside a barn listening to live music in a very intimate setting.

Almost any pizza pie was going to be good here.  But only a few were going to be great.  This goes beyond great.  The goat cheese, walnuts, cranberry, speck, and balsamic all really shine through.  And no one gets lost in the shuffle.   Speck, a type of prosciutto, is not something I have frequently.  And for good reason. It’s very high in fat content but it was pristine and flawless here.  This whole pie was exquisite.

I did not deliberately leave out the brussels sprouts, but I wanted to give credit where its due on that too. I didn’t discover them until seeing them at the very bottom of the slice.  And sometimes under the cheese.  This was divine.

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As you can see this pie never had a chance just a couple of minutes in.  And it went perfect with our Merlot.

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My mouth is watering as I expound on this.  You have got to be kidding me.  This was a 5-star, pie for the ages candidate. I truly mean that.   Where can I find you guys again?

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Well for our friends in the Baltimore area, their Facebook page keeps us up-to-date on where they’ll be.

I know for sure I’ll be on the lookout for them.  I can’t say enough good things. So this post went about the normal length.  Hey I could go on forever…

For more on the wine and party mentioned in this post, click here!

Thank you kindly!

Best,

Ideen