If you were on a quest for great pizza on the east coast, Stowe, Vermont may not be the first place you'd look. However, amidst great natural beauty and boutiques that cater to wealthy vacationers is Piecasso Pizzeria & Lounge, purveyor of fine New York-style pies. Piecasso’s owner, Eduardo Rovetto, is part of a Sicilian pizza dynasty with Rovetto family members owning 10 pizzerias up and down the east coast. He opened Picasso in 2000 and moved to the current, larger location in 2006. In 2009, Piecasso was named one of Travel + Liesure’s best 11 pizzas in America.
For those used to scarfing a slice in a cramped city pizzeria, Piecasso is culture shock, located on a stretch of country road a few miles outside of Stowe's city center. Perhaps the best way to reach Piecasso in summer is by bike, using the area's 5.5 mile recreation path which connects Main Street in Stowe with Piecasso's back door, along the West Branch River. There's a turn-off sign on the trail in case you miss the smell from kitchen and ample space for bicycle parking out front.
Given the name and the number of gimmicky pies (the Tree hugger, the Heart Stopper...) on the menu, I was worried Piecasso might be a bit tourist-trappy, so we skipped the overstuffed, cleverly-named fare for the simple Pomodoro Bianco ($13-$20.25). In this case, less definitely was more: the mix of white garlic olive oil, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, plum tomatoes, and minced fresh garlic were blended perfectly. The crust achieved just the right balance of airy and chewy, it’s edges slightly charred, but not burned. Perhaps the ultimate test: it held up well despite the copious amount of olive oil. All ingredients are locally-sourced whenever possible (pretty much a given in a state with such a strong farm-to-plate movement) and it showed in the flavor.
While this is not a beer blog, a good ale and pizza are inextricably linked for most people. In this regard, Piecasso did not disappoint with Burlington's excellent Switchback Unfiltered Ale on tap.
When in Stowe, don’t miss pedaling over to Piecasso.
-- Brett Essler