We heard about a great coal fired pizza in the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia. We don’t travel much in this part of New Jersey so if we were going to try the pizza in Westmont, we were going to have to make it our destination.
So I asked some longtime day-tripping relatives: Wanna go? Is the pope Catholic? Of course, we made a plan to go to Bricco’s Coal Fired Pizza.
Four of us set out on a sunny spring day to drive north on I 95, across the Delaware Memorial Bridge and nearly to Camden. The tolls cost a fortune. Maybe more than lunch.
We gorged ourselves on two basic pizzas: a perfect, iconic Margherita pizza and a Pesto pizza dotted with intensely-flavored semi-dried cherry tomatoes and fontina cheese. Basil, tomatoes, cheese topping an impossibly thin crust pizza, crisp and charred from the high temperatures of a coal-fired pizza oven. We had chatted for two hours on our way to the pizzeria, giggled as we waited for our food to arrive and then it became quite silent as we savored the salty, sweet, acidic, creamy flavors that came together in each delicious bite.
Before the pizza, we started with five golden brown zucchini fritters tucked in a brown paper bag. Perhaps there were vegetables in these morsels but we were entranced by the crisp crumbly coating on the cheese goodness inside. There was salad too: a perfectly simple plate of greens topped with parmigiana reggiano in a lemon olive oil. Such a chorus of heavenly flavor.
If you go, be sure to stop at the front where the coal-fired oven is burning furiously. Watch the masters at work. We were lucky enough to catch one of the chefs making mozzarella.
Our visit was well worth the time and driving. We drove through some pretty neighborhoods before arriving at our destination. It’s a little place on the corner of a charming little business district. We wandered a bit after lunch, bought a few flowers from the local firehouse — it was right before Easter and the firefighters were selling all sorts of sweet smelling flowers as a fundraiser.
We realized we could have paired our eating adventure with a trip to some of the attractions in Philadelphia or Wilmington or the Brandywine Valley. We had only pizza on our mind for our first visit. Now the question is, when can we go back?
So. How far would you go? How far have you gone?
Ⓒ Text and photos Mary K. Tilghman