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Italian Twice

Side Dishes: Pizza Papillo premieres


Published June 30, 2010 at 7:38 a.m.

On June 19, visitors to Sam Mazza’s Farm Market, Bakery and Greenhouses in Colchester were in for a surprise. Charlie Papillo, popular host of the WVMT 620 morning talk show “Charlie and Ernie and Lisa!” was selling pizzas from a custom-made oven.

Papillo is a lifelong food obsessive. He says that, while other 8-year-olds were playing baseball, “I was experimenting with how you cook a hot dog in the toaster.” He’s excited that his portable business, Pizza Papillo, has come to fruition after 25 years of dreaming.

The Italian brick oven was crafted to Papillo’s specifications in Boulder, Colo. His son, New York artist Charles Papillo — who has a show opening at Jager Di Paola Kemp Design this Thursday — contributed ceramic arch work.

Cool equipment isn’t worth much without a delicious product. “I’m not cutting corners,” Papillo says. His cheese pizzas are made with fresh mozzarella and slow-roasted tomato sauce. Meats include Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon and pepperoni.

Papillo will offer two different 9-inch pies at a time: one vegetarian, one with meat. He’ll incorporate produce such as zucchini and sweet potatoes, most from Sam Mazza’s gardens, as they come into season. Pizza Papillo will serve until early November, premiering a cranberry, cheddar and sage “Thanksgiving” pie before closing for the season.

The garrulous pie slinger says he plans to ply his wares at this year’s Giant Pumpkin Regatta & Festival in Burlington and at South Hero’s Applefest & Craft Show before expanding to other fairs and festivals in years to come.

This Saturday, Papillo will also be peddling Italian ice from Island Homemade Ice Cream. He’s not the only one. Last week, Bryant Waggoner served his first scoops of the Grand Isle-made treat at the top of Church Street from a cart labeled Bryant’s All Natural Italian Ice.

Gary Sundberg, co-owner of Island with his wife Patty, says they have been making Italian ice for nearly five years, but always did a far better business in sorbet. Italian ice flavors include lemon, lime, chocolate and local berry versions. The Sundbergs plan to release varieties made from watermelon and Rookie’s Root Beer soon.