Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Time Traveling Pizza...again!

   We've done a Dicken's Fair. We've done a Steampunk Bazaar. But now, we are doing the Italian Renaissance. The Carnevale Fantastico which was... OK, I'll say it. "A fantastic carnival". How else could I describe it? The colorful air of laughter and merriment was everywhere. Time travelers from the 15th and 16th centuries danced, caroused, spoke, sang, performed and spread joy and entertainment amongst the crowds that attended. Even if we hadn't been working it I would have still attended. Men in tights, women looking lovely, children frolicking, food, drink and good times awaited everyone who was there.
Myself (Chef Vincenzo) and Stephanie
Our Renaissance affair
My translations may not have been totally accurate!
   It was the first Italian Renaissance festival in Vallejo and the first that we had worked. I know what you're thinking, "They didn't have pizza back then during the Renaissance!" However, we were able to finesse our way into it by making a phone call and admitting that we knew pizza wasn't around then but fire was and that's how they cooked back then. Real fire. The event coordinator said to me, "We've called 5 other pizza vendors and no one has committed. You're our guy." Hey, that was easy! That was all I had to hear before I started working on costumes, decorations, menu boards, flags and also our Italian accents and a few Italian phrases. I love a theme and this was perfect for us. One of my workers, Steve, suggested that we ought to give back change in gold coins which I thought was a great idea. Sheri rushed over to the bank and was able to get $200 in gold coated U.S. dollar coins and we just referred to them as Florins for the customers which was the currency back then. The crew jumped on board with their costumes. We had to disguise the trailer by covering it with burlap. We covered the canopy with a piece of burlap that Sheri had sewn to fit and I painted the famous Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci on a strip of canvas to look a little more Renaissance appearing. I added flags and colorfully wrapped poles to the decor and before you knew it, we were time traveling!
   Saturday morning came and the orders started coming in.  Stephanie, my kitchen manager and I had a great dialogue going on using our new found accents where I'd be yelling back to her, "What do you mean 4 more pizzas? I gotta full oven, whats a da matter wit you?" She'd squawk back at me saying, "Take a dees pizzas, I gotta no more room for dem." From which I'd reply, "You sounda like a dose peacocks behind us squawking at me all day long. You tink a your a my wife?" The crowd loved it as they watched their pizzas being baked and were being entertained as well.
   I had hoped to sell 500 pizzas over the course of the weekend and brought enough to fit that bill. By the end of the first day at 6:00 we counted and had sold 392 already! That was great but that only left us a mere 108 for all of Sunday!
   OMG! I can't buy doughs this late in the day. I did have 2 more 96 count cases of dough at home (75 miles away) in my freezer so instead of going straight to our friends house who offered to have us spend the night we dashed home and grabbed the remaining 2 boxes, more cheese and pepperoni, plates, firewood and napkins. The dough had to thaw and our friends had a hot tub so while the dough thawed we soaked. Oh my gosh, we were exhausted and had to do it all over again the next day!
    Sunday was more of the same until about 1:00 when we ran out of the last of the cheese. I asked Sheri to make a cheese run to Smart and Final and had to tell the line of about 10 or 12 people that we are making a cheese run and that we'd have cheese in about 20 minutes. The line dissipated and when Sheri returned I made another announcement that the cheese had arrived.
Men in tights
My friend Sue 
A Renaissance procession
The line reappeared in about 5 seconds and we were back in business. But not for long. The last 192 doughs we had, we used and were now officially sold out 3 hours short of  the festival ending. Secretly we were relieved but I hate to turn down a pizza lover but we had no choice. What I learned from this was that time travelers to any century still want their pizza and I better bring enough so I don't disappoint.
   Once we were officially out of food I took a walk to check out the festival up close. I found my friend, Sue, who was hanging out with the upper crust of society. When I saw her, I said, " So this is where you're hanging." One finely dressed gentleman overheard me and said, "A hanging? There's going to be a hanging?" You gotta be careful of what you say at a Renfair or they might get the wrong idea! We got a laugh out of it and went our merry way.
   Next year I'm thinking of bringing a mere 800 doughs and enough cheese and pepperoni to feed all of the time travelers plus a few more. Even a few from another century! Arrivederci!
Steampunkers time traveling to the 15th century!