Wood, flame, and stone – the key ingredients of a great pizza. At The Forge Pizzeria, owners and brothers, Chris and Tim Matthews, liken the art of working a wood-fired pizza oven to a blacksmith working the forge – a hearth used to soften metals in the workshop. In 2010, inspired by the legacy of their grandfather who was a well-known blacksmith in the local area, the guys opened The Forge Pizzeria.
Their commitment to the craft of pizza has not gone unnoticed. The demand for Chris and Tim’s burnished bases and tasty toppings has allowed them to expand on the original 20-seater restaurant, located a little way from the historic Arch of Victory, to open a new site on Armstrong Street in 2012 – a premise that seats a whopping 200 diners.
The rustic design features exposed brick walls and tables made by hand from recycled wood, many incorporating old doors or wagon wheels. The original space is still a local favourite for takeaway, while the new restaurant is a buzzing, atmospheric space ideal for dining with friends and family.
Chris and Tim’s expansion of the business has not changed the overall philosophy – creating delicious wood-fired pizzas made with fresh, local produce and high quality ingredients. In fact, the kitchen team at The Forge make everything they can from scratch and source everything else from within an hour of the restaurant door. The team prides itself on ‘pizza perfection’, striving to serve up the best produce the Goldfields has to offer.
Seasonal produce dominates the menu; you’ll find Italian classics complemented by globally inspired flavours. Highlights include the Shearers – slow-cooked lamb, Meredith goats’ cheese, rosemary, spinach, Spanish onion and mozzarella with a sprinkle of pine nuts; and the Pulled Pork pizza topped with succulent slow-roasted Western Plains pork shoulder, sage, mozzarella, gorgonzola dolce, green apple coleslaw and finished with Flying Brick Cider dressing.
If hot and spicy is more your thing, try the Volcano, laden with hot salami, chilli, bocconcini, gorgonzola, feta, olives, anchovies and oregano. Those with an indulgent streak won’t be able to resist the Bacon Pizza, made with streaky bacon, tasty cheese, caramelised onions, sage and garlic: a flavour experience you’ll be craving long after you’re full.
If you’ve still got space, The Forge also offers two wood-fired dessert pizzas. Satiate that sweet tooth with a crispy base topped with homemade lemon curd, fluffy meringue and vanilla crème; or savour the simple beauty of a strawberry pizza – fresh strawberries, shaved white chocolate and a drizzle of cream.
The Forge offers a range of craft beers, local wines and Italian favourites, so you’re sure to find something to perfectly match your pizza. For an Italian-style post-meal coffee, your caffeine fix is supplied by local roaster, Hellbilly.
The boys’ dedication to their art is unquestionable – harnessing wood, flame and dough, The Forge is turning out fine pizzas worthy of carrying on their grandfather’s legacy of craftsmanship.
Where: 14 Armstrong Street North, Ballarat
Ph: (03) 5337 6635
You can read all about these fantastic venues and much more in Smudge Publishing痴 Flavours of Victoria, out now. Available from smudgeeats.com.au, the featured venues and all good bookshops.
Provided by Smudge Publishing.
Images by Bianca White