Laura Bilotta hosts Singles Pizza Making Night at Basso Pizzeria

Every three months or so, Laura Bilotta from Single in the City matchmaking service makes a deal with a local pizzeria to host a unique culinary theme networking event for her community which she calls Singles Pizza Making Night. Tickets are thirty bucks each and for one evening single people meet and learn something before making a meal together.

It’s not a new idea. Back in November 2016 the event debuted at Amicos Pizza in Parkdale at 1648 Queen Street West, and now more recently, on March 30th 2017 Singles Pizza Making Night happened at Basso Pizzeria at 320 Queen Street East (in an emerging neighbourhood of Toronto called Corktown).

Basso Pizzeria - special ingredients for gourmet pizzas
In the kitchen at Basso Pizzeria, special ingredients for gourmet pizzas are prepared by staff.

Slightly more sophisticated, this second venue has a wood fired pizza oven front of house, with two dozen craft beers on tap at the bar, and an extensive list of expensive wine (printed on paper because its always changing) for fine dining.

Laura and Raymi taping Cortland discussing pizza dough
Laura and Raymi record Chef Cortland discussing pizza dough production

The evening started at seven pm when Chef Cortland brought out a giant complimentary cheese tray that had been dropped off earlier by Cheese Boutique. The tray came from the kitchen where it had been chilling  in the refrigerator for the last six hours.

Cheese squares - Cheese Boutique
Comte cheese courtesy of Cheese Boutique

The awesome tray was something to behold – it came complete with blackberry jam.  As mentioned above, the cheese had been stashed in the fridge awaiting the event, and Courtland brought it out and set it in the dining room so it could ‘sweat a bit’, which he believes enhances its flavour. There participants not so secretly picked and nibbled at the tray as other exotic ingredients were prepared in the kitchen and then laid out on the tables in advance of the main event.

The Crocodile cheese squares
The Crocodile cheese squares from Cheese Boutique

Before the actual pizza making happened, both Laura Bilotta and Chef Courtland spoke to the masses concerning best practices for making authentic Italian pizza pies. Laura who is Italian spoke briefly about some of the more exceptional cheeses on the Cheese Boutique sponsored cheese tray, and the pickled eggplant, artichoke hearts, peeled mushrooms and pickled hot peppers she had sourced and brought to the party.

Chef Courtland, in turn, lectured the assembly on how to create authentic pizza dough from scratch. When he left the room to prepare the oven, the entire assembly of single people, about thirty people, were rolling and aerially spinning their personal sized pizza dough portions to the correct shape and dimensions.

Chef Courtland at Basso Pizzeria in Toronto
Chef Cortland the pizza master at Basso Pizzeria in Toronto

One by one every participant ladled sauce onto their flattened dough circles and then sprinkled cheese over top of that; and one by one they made decisions and risked the exotic ingredients they believed might more perfectly compliment their pizzas, while being conscious of the need to leave some distinguishing visual markers as a signature.

exotic pizza ready to cook
Exotic pizza pie ready to cook – Singles Pizza Making Night

One by one the pizzas were put into the red-hot oven by Chef Courtland, and minutes later the master returned the perfectly cooked cheese pies to their makers who were encouraged to share and compare and then box up what remains for another day’s meal.

Pizza pie cooked
Pizza pie cooked at Singles Pizza Making Night at Basso Pizzeria in Toronto

The party ended with great fanfare as prizes were bequeathed to all the single people who completed their survey sheets, and the bar was busy with participants ordering beer and wine to slake their thirst and compliment their exquisite handmade pizza dinners.

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