We now have a great collection of food stalls at the Wednesday Charter Market in St Albans city centre. If you head to Market Square at lunchtime on a sunny day, there is a real buzz about the place, with queues of locals buying a freshly prepped lunch. I was intrigued by the Peddling Pizza ‘stall’ that appeared recently; it really is a pizza oven on a bike, so I went along to find out more from owner Adam Atkins.
Adam has been at the market for just a few months now, and started the business to fit alongside looking after his young son Charlie. The bike and trailer is a customised design and Adam cycles the Electra Cruiser bike in to town, and fits everything you see on the ‘stall’ inside the trailer or on his back! The Roccbox pizza oven itself bakes just one pizza at a time, but it produces such a heat (over 400C) that Adam can bake a pizza in 60-90 seconds. This means that every pizza is made to order, and Adam hand-stretches the pizza dough, adds toppings and bakes it while you wait. I put this to the test and ordered a classic margarita; busy people on their lunchbreak don’t want to queue for ages, and I was really impressed: in the time it took for me to pay for the pizza, it was ready to come out of the oven!
Adam makes all his pizzas following Neapolitan guidelines. He makes the dough himself using Caputo flour from a mill in Naples, and proves it for 72 hours to develop flavour and texture. Adam makes the tomato sauce that forms the base of his toppings using San Marzano tomatoes: he explained that there is so much flavour in the tomatoes he doesn’t need to add anything to them, so there is no sugar or additives. I like that Adam uses some local ingredients, including St Albans Honey (from the Walled Garden Apiary), although of course, most are imported from Italy. He is looking for locally produced charcuterie, so do get in touch if you are a supplier.
You can choose from three variations. The margerita is baked with San Marzano sauce, fior di latte mozzarella, Parmesan, basil and olive oil. You can add Salsiccia Napoli Piccante pepperoni for an extra 1.00. The Angry Bee pizza sounds most interesting, and is topped with nduja (spicy sausage paste), red chilli, fior di latte mozzarella and a drizzle of St Albans honey. Prices are from 5.50 to 7.00 for a 10inch pizza, which makes a generous lunch, or can be sliced to share.
I like that Adam serves the pizzas on biodegradable sugarcane plates; very eco-friendly. You can take the plates home and put in your food waste bin. I am not sure what you do with it in the town centre but I think the plate could go in the paper recycling. I also like that if Adam has any dough leftover at the end of a market he bakes it into pizzas and delivers them to local charity Open Door.
Adam was born in St Albans and has worked locally for many years as a delivery driver. You can find Peddling Pizza most Wednesdays at the Charter Market and Adam also does events and parties; if you can order 20 pizzas or more he can come along and do the food for your party, which would be very cool. We talked about the logistics of getting the bike into a garden, and Adam explained the bike and trailer are thin enough to fit through a standard home or office doorway, so he can bring Peddling Pizza into your garden without knocking down fences or bringing in a crane!
Adam is due to take the bike to Oaklands College Lambing Weekend on 18/19th March so look out for him there. He is also booked to go to the Mermaid Pub’s beer festival on 28/29th April. If you want to contact Adam, email him on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 07971 081 189. Website is peddlingpizza.co.uk
Photo credits: Luc Le Corre at Studio Humble