I’ve often talked on Offbeat Eats about how you find places, and my top two techniques are “research” and “happening across a place that’s got people waiting in line”. But sometimes, I do end up stumbling upon one of these purely by accident. Pizza Del Forno in Saint-Pierre, Reunion, was definitely one of these.
It all started when we needed to do some laundry. We had come to the point in our trip when we couldn’t put off laundry anymore more… with a 20 kg strict luggage limit on the flight, which had to include our backpacking gear, we didn’t bring a lot of clothes, and much of what we did bring was sweat-soaked. Since Saint-Pierre is pretty much the major settlement on the island, it was the place to get this done.
We found a laundromat, and what normally would have been a fairly straightforward chore turned out to one of those sorts of dramas you only have in a foreign country, with lots of unexpected drama… the bill changer not taking really modern bills, only older ones (at this, we were still thankful, since “small change” is very, very hard to come by in French countries, they tend to hoard it). The soap dispenser oddly demanding the one denomination of coin not dispensed by the bill changer. And picking the one washing machine that had some sort of timer problem. Yup, after watching the washer cycle for over 2 hours with no progress (and being of the design where the door is locked while it is running), this required my having to call the owner of the laundromat on the phone, attempting to explain that our laundry was being held hostage by a machine that we couldn’t unlock, failing miserably at this, and having Carol to get the kind woman working next door at the pizzeria (who didn’t know English either, but could understand my fractured French, and apparently from her eye rolling is somewhat used to this sort of drama happening at the laundromat) to intervene and explain over the phone to the laundromat owner what the problem was. The owner soon enough arrived and managed to get our clothes (which had gotten clean long, long ago) out of the washer and into the dryer.
Meanwhile, we did have lunch at the friendly woman’s pizza place. A small little place that consisted of basically a small counter and a large wood-fired pizza oven, Pizza Del Forno was a nice little accidental find. The crust itself was quite the pleasantly done deal, having a dough texture a bit more like French bread than most pizza crusts I like, but definitely having some nice bubbling and a very nice amount of toasting. Add in a pleasantly done sauce, some good cheese and some fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, and sausage, and this was a good pizza. Add in some incredibly strong hot pepper oil (with the fire of many suns, like much of the rougail we had on the island), and this made a great pizza.
So you, sometime you don’t know when you are going to stumble on a great place, but Pizza Del Forno was good enough to warrant a repeat visit.