Bread Euphoria, Haydenville, MA

I apologize for a lull in posts as of late. My faithful, yet archaic, Mac Powerbook, may or may not have bit the dust and is currently in critical condition in the ICU, aka, under a chair in the living room. Le sigh.

For the moment, I'm on Keepitcoming's laptop and have wonderful news for all my Western Massachusetts readers. Yes, all three of you. I have found edible pizza. I'm a New Haven county transplant. Trust me, I know pizza. I've been to the Big Three since my youth, Sally's, Pepe's, Modern, and when I found myself an ex-pat in the wild mountains of the Pioneer Valley, admittedly an excellent host to indulgent food as well, I found myself missing the crispy, thin crusted pies I knew and loved.

This has been an ongoing search for a while, but I gave up for the most part, choosing to focus on the foods the Pioneer Valley did exceptionally well, breads and pastries being one. So when Keepitcoming suggested we take a trip to Bread Euphoria in Haydenville, I didn't bat an eye. Of course it would be delicious. But when she suggested one of their pizzas for lunch, I was more than curious.The view from the other side.

It is typical to find a restaurant that spreads its specialties across the globe of international favorites. In a single three course dinner at a local Applebee's, one can eat Chinese-Southwestern appetizers, an American burger with Italian-inspired toppings, and force down some sort of flaming dessert, but it is extremely rare to find a restaurant that does that and does it well. Not only does Bread Euphoria make their own bread, one that I'll later report on after tomorrow's French Toast, but they make sandwiches with house-cured meat, pastries, cakes, and pizza, all done to a level of craftsmanship and expertise seen only in bakeries with a far more limited selection.

We got a 12 inch pie with prosciutto, caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella, julienned basil, and a garlic oregano oil. The pie was more than enough for the two of us and made a satisfying lunch as well as dinner. Six large slices to a pie, with ample toppings. The crust was of a medium thickness and was perfectly balanced with a crispy exterior, topped with that delicious garlic oil, yielding to a fluffy, bubbly interior. The crust held up to the toppings well, especially the ill-fated fresh mozz, which has the tendency to turn a crusty exteriored base to a soggy mushy triangle. Luckily, this wasn't the case, with only the middle area being slightly damp and buttery on the bottom and the crust supporting the toppings with ease.The cheese was sliced thinly enough to leave the liquidy mess out of the way, but in a good enough portion so as to impart a creamy saltiness and nice flavor to the pie. The prosciutto was more than ample, thick honking slices haphazardly dotting the pizza, perfectly cooked so as not to invoke too much chewing but never reaching a burnt or inedible point. The caramelized onions balanced out the saltiness of the proteins and made it sweet and even sugary, with a nice char on the top and a thin cut. These were plentiful and crispy on top. The basil was unimposing and spicy, and added yet another flavor profile to the pizza. With this aromatic and delicious garlic oil, this was a perfect pizza. It needed no sauce or external doctoring and made us extremely happy.Folks, I'm serious. This might just be the best pizza in the Pioneer Valley. Other joints have the allure of a thousand toppings and the deal of a lifetime, but here, they make it made to order with quality ingredients and with fresh, fresh pizza dough. It's a little pricy, but it's worth it. This is gourmet pizza in a quirky, relaxed establishment.

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