There was a time when Charlotte's Uptown dining options were sparse, with chain restaurants dominating the landscape. Thankfully, that time has past, and over the past few years, independently owned eateries have flourished throughout the bustling financial city center. A recent addition to the growing food scene is the modern and rustic Italian restaurant, TAVOLO, located on the corner of 6th and college. With its long L-shaped bar, open kitchen, and private event space, the restaurant was the perfect setting for a fun night out with the Charlotte Food Bloggers.
(Photo credit: Allie @ EatDrinkCLT)
To kick off the evening, TAVOLO treated the group to some delicious signature cocktails. Favorites included the "Che Figata" with fig bourbon, triple sec, and sour mix; the "Bacio Del Limone" with prosecco, house made limoncello, and fresh raspberries; and the "Fragola" with vodka, sour mix, simple syrup, fresh strawberries, and fresh basil.
(Photo credit: Ashley @The Olive and The Sea)
After cocktails, the group headed to the restaurant's open kitchen where Executive Chef Deacon Ovall and his team demonstrated the process for preparing their wood fired pizzas.
The dough, a 50/50 mix of semolina and all-purpose flour, is shaped into eight ounce balls and left to rise for 12 hours. Once fully risen, the dough is "pounded" into a thin even cylinder. Following a light pinch around the edges, the pizza is topped with one of three house made sauces: alfredo, marinara, or garlic oil. The pizza is then covered with a 90% whole cow's milk/10% buffalo milk shredded mozzarella, and flavored with a variety of toppings from large rounds of pepperoni to mouth watering prosciutto and figs.
(Photo credit: Ashley @ The Olive and The Sea)
With the toppings complete, the pizzas are placed in the oven to bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Listening to the team describe the process, one quickly realizes that a wood fired oven calls for a certain for skill and patience. Each morning, kitchen prep begins with the lighting of the fire. Over a period of two hours, the fire is stoked until the oven reaches a temperature of 700-800 degrees. This temperature is then maintained throughout the day with the radiant coals, while a small flame is kept going on the side for light.
(Photo credit: Chrissie @ offtheeatenpath)
The pizzas are positioned in the oven using a wood pizza paddle. At first, the pizza is placed in the back, where the temperature is highest. As the toppings and sides crisp up, the pizza is moved to the front, where the temperature is slightly lower.
Following the kitchen's demo, each blogger got to dig in and make their own wood fired pizza! Choosing from an assortment of toppings displayed along a "pizza bar", set up for the occasion, we explored our pizza creativity. Some combined sauces by layering garlic oil and marinara, while others opted for split toppings. With a little help from the kitchen working the oven, every pizza was a delicious success!
(Photo credit: Tanya @ My Forking Life)
A big thank you to general manager Anthony Cardone and everyone at TAVOLO for treating our group to such a fun evening! We had a great time and look forward to visiting again with family and friends. Salute!
(Photo credit: Jessica @ Slice of Jess)