Pizza is easy to love. Who doesn’t relish gooey mounds of cheese over even the most basic sauces and crusts? But for diners concerned with their health, it is no secret that most pizza is loaded with fat and sodium. For those with gluten allergies or intolerance, pizza parlor pizza is off limits.
SAVOR PIZZA in Norwalk is a dream come true for pizza lovers with gluten sensitivities and diners who are mindful of eating lower fat, less salt and organic ingredients. For those with gluten intolerance, it may become your go-to spot for take out pizza, the meal you thought you would never be able to eat again.
Husband and wife team, Rex and Val Bobi, are the owners and cooks and they care about what YOU eat. Their concern for the highest quality (mostly) organic ingredients is mentioned repeatedly in their menu and in their friendly banter with customers. Rex owned and operated a restaurant in Beacon, NY for five years before he returned to his war torn home town in Kosovo in 2000. While there, he bumped into a teacher of his one day, who insisted on introducing him to his wife’s niece. One look at shy and beautiful Val and Rex was hooked. “Are you serious?” he asks when he is about to launch into one of his favorite subjects: Val, organic food and healthy choices. And he is plenty serious and passionate about his new shop in this conveniently located strip of stores on Main Avenue, just off the Merritt Parkway in Norwalk.
Rex makes four crusts: wheat free rice, corn, spelt and corn/ wheat. With attention to the necessary details of preparing the corn crust for the gluten intolerant, he explains that he has reserved a mixer, bowls, utensils and gloves for making the corn crust. He covers the pizza screen (pan for allowing the air to circulate) with foil and uses a counter separated from his other prep surfaces. He prepares all crusts in advance and is sure to have the corn crust option available every day.
His crusts are more like firm foundations than traditionally textured crusts. The corn/wheat crust combines cracked corn and wheat, flax and sunflower seeds. He uses only organic sunflower oil because of its heat resistant properties. We sampled six mini and personal sized pizzas (8 inch and 12 inch). There is a large 16 inch available also. Rex and Val have created a menu with tons of options.
Here’s what my tasters and I thought: The Napolitano and Margarita are the most kid friendly but with loads of chopped fresh herbs, I suggest asking Rex to limit them, as they are used too generously for most young palates. The mozzarella used in both is marinated in house. Again, if you have a kid who likes it plain, ask for un-marinated cheese. The chunky pomodoro sauce is also house made and tastes slightly unfamiliar because of the use of agave as sweetener. We did like the chunkiness, and the noticeably fresh taste, though.
The Wild Mushroom Combo presents a generous mound of shitake, crimini and porcini mushrooms soaked in Madeira and topped with smoky Gouda. Both the smoke and the wine are prominent flavors so if you love mushrooms but want it more traditional, ask for the fresh, raw ‘shrooms instead. The Eggplant Caviar is an interesting combination of zero percent fat, herb infused ricotta and roasted eggplant, mashed and mixed with more herbs. Val makes the ricotta and the feta cheeses every Monday, uses techniques that her Mom taught her on their Albanian farm. The zero fat approach requires the addition of herbs for flavor since the richness of fat is absent. The use of organic and dairy products, veggies and other ingredients is admirable and unusual in pizza parlor pizza.
Lastly, we dug into the Veneto Amore and the Mista, which were the most unusual combinations we tasted. We chose the Veneto Amore with salmon, rather than shrimp. It included porcini mushrooms, minced
shallots, mozzarella and a drizzle of white wine and lemon. I can’t say that I would opt for fish on my pizza again, especially with the tart flavors of the lemon and wine. The Mista is indeed a mix of unlikely but healthful ingredients including a layer of white bean paste under a topping of roasted tomatoes, lightly spiced bok choy and some generous dollops of creamy goat cheese. If your taste runs to adventuresome, you may want to try these.
Special requests are welcome. Val and Rex would be happy to tell you where their ingredients are sourced and what each crust is composed of. There are 3 high tables with stools and a counter to lean against if you prefer to eat there. They deliver free of charge within a five mile radius.
SAVOR PIZZA 430 Main Avenue, Norwalk. 203.939.1666
open 11 AM-9 PM , closed Sunday