T3's DiaVolo Gas Pizza Oven review in a sentence: A beginner-friendly pizza provider that gets better with practice.
Good though they undoubtedly are, the best pizza oven models require a certain degree of experience in order to get decent results. If you’re a newbie and fancy trying your hand at cooking fresh pizza yourself, it’s well worth exploring our how to cook pizza at home feature or, in fact, find out how to bake a pizza like a pro. Much like the best barbecue guide, you’ll find some top tips for getting it right. To be honest, this is something I should have done for my first foray into home-cooked pizza territory.
DiaVolo is a top brand when it comes to cooking pizza and the company has a brace of new units to help you do it. There’s the DeliVita Eco Oven, which retails at £1,595 and is aimed at anyone who’s keen to cook more efficiently and doesn’t mind paying for the privilege. Meanwhile, I’ve had the chance to try this model, the DiaVolo Gas Pizza Oven, which is more of an entry-level offering with a £349 price tag.
Given how much I’d probably use it, I think the latter model is ideally suited to me. It’s reasonably compact too, which means storage isn’t too much of an issue. However, this is worth bearing in mind if you have a lot of mouths to feed or have a passion for making pizzas the size of bin lids. They’re not gonna fit in this baby. Read on to find out about how my attempt at fresh pizza unfolded.
- Fancy an alternative: Witt ETNA Rotante pizza oven
DiaVolo gas pizza oven review: price and availability
The DiaVolo Gas Pizza Oven is available to buy from a variety of online outlets, including the DeliVita website and John Lewis. It comes with an RRP of £349. Meanwhile, if you’re more of an accomplished home pizza maker then it’s also well worth checking out the DeliVita Eco Oven, which as mentioned above, retails at a sizeable £1,595.
DiaVolo gas pizza oven review: what is it?
The DiaVolo Gas Pizza Oven is a portable appliance that's designed for outdoor use and comes with everything you need to get started... aside from a gas supply. The oven works with standalone gas bottles and you can get different fittings so that it’ll work with just about any one of these. I got sent a small canister of gas, similar to that used for camping stoves, but it’s worth bearing in mind that if you want to cook for any degree of time, the more gas supply you have the better.
This is designed to be a compact fresh pizza oven, so it’s not the biggest you can buy but it’s more than adequate for one-at-a-time pizza opps. The unit weighs 9kg too, which means it’s very portable although the shape is actually quite awkward to lift or move around I think. Once in place though, the DiaVolo Gas Pizza Oven looks a treat with its quality finish in either green or navy.
The manufacturers reckon it’s efficient too, stating just 4.5kW of gas per usage as the figure that’s possible, with an operating temperature of 500 degrees C achievable in 15 minutes. That’s enough, they say, to cook your pizza in one minute.
DiaVolo gas pizza oven review: is it any good?
Trying the DiaVolo Gas Pizza Oven was made much easier thanks to the PR company also sending me a big box of fresh dough to get started. And there was a lot of the stuff, so quite a lot has gone into the freezer. It was a positive start to my test though and removed some of the faff factor. Not so handy was initially a lack of gas, which was soon rectified by a man arriving with a canister. Sadly, this was quite small, so I knew I was always going to be at the mercy of my supply.
There’s a little bit of assembly required in order to the DiaVolo Gas Pizza Oven ready for business. It comes with the main body, to which you need to screw on a pair of legs, so that the oven sits off the ground. That makes it ideally suited to gardens, patio areas and so on. There’s a control knob that needs to be pushed onto a fixing on the top of the unit and the gas pipe needs to be pushed onto the fixing at the back of the oven. A quick read of the manual gets you through this process and it all went fine for me.
What really impressed me from the off was the quality of the DiaVolo Gas Pizza Oven, which seems well made and professionally finished. I can imagine these things last a good while if treated nicely, which certainly helps to justify the £349 price tag I think.
DiaVolo gas pizza oven review: performance
Firing up the DiaVolo Gas Pizza Oven was easy enough, once I’d attached the gas bottle and turned on the big knob on the top to get fuel flowing. There’s a self-ignition for convenience although the makers also include a long piece of wire that can hold a burning match if you’d rather slot that into the unit and light it that way instead. Seems slightly labour intensive if you don’t need to, but one for die-hard, old-school pizza makers perhaps.
Once it’s on, the effect is classic pizza-making in feel with a delicious row of flame that runs along the entire back of the unit. The oven comes with a stone for putting your pizza on while its cooking, plus there’s an included temperature gun in the box too, so you can keep tabs on the heat. The dial on top of the unit allows you to vary the heat, plus you need to spend a while heating the oven so that it’s hot enough when you slide your first pizza in.
My mistake was to make a pizza that was too big, so once it was hot enough, sliding in a big wodge of pizza plus topping was a rookie error. The DiaVolo Gas Pizza Oven did a decent job of cooking things closer to the heat, but the bits that were at the open end remained soggy and looked very sorry for themselves. A rescue mission to try and turn the pizza around resulted in me pushing the cooked bit further in and on to the flames, which meant sticky dough got all over the element bit too.
Dragging it out and chopping it up a bit meant my remaining pizza was a lot smaller, but the cooking continued. This was very much a learning experience for me, and doubtless the DiaVolo Gas Pizza Oven gets easier to use with practice. It’s actually very straightforward to get to grips with, but central to the process is getting the heat up enough and then making sure you go for compact pizzas rather than bulky numbers. Parts of my pizza were crunchy and tasty enough, but it was only a partial success.
DiaVolo gas pizza oven review: verdict
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of fresh pizza and being able to do it myself really appeals. What I didn’t realise is that, no matter how good the pizza oven you’re using, producing perfect pizzas is a bit of an art and it only comes with practice. I’m certainly going to need a lot more gas in order to do that – the container subsequently ran out after about 30 minutes.
The other thing with the DiaVolo Gas Pizza Oven is just how messy a process it turned out to be. I’d made the pizza in the house and took it into the garden to cook. This resulted in flour everywhere, plus the stone in the oven got really caked in all sorts. Similarly, the back end of the oven with the burner bit in it was really caked too and it is not easy to get in and clean this.
So, maybe it’s the rookie factor, but I’d say do-it-yourself pizza is only for folks who are good at it or who can spend time learning. I like the DiaVolo Gas Pizza Oven but I think, for now at least, I’m sticking with Dominos.
DiaVolo gas pizza oven review: Alternatives to consider
We've tested quite a few domestic pizza ovens to date and, from personal experience, all pizza ovens of this nature – that is to say models that use gas or wood where the flame licks over the top of the pizza – involve a pretty steep learning curve. You need to make sure the stone is of adequate temperature and then turn the pizzas regularly or the crust on one side will burn, and in mere seconds if your eye’s off the ball.
Conversely, we have have had zero hiccups with the Sage Pizzaiolo electric pizza oven which bakes perfect pizza every time – and we’ve used it about 40 times to date. This is a view endorsed by Duncan Bell, who extolls the virtues of the amazing Sage in his glowing ‘I tried the Sage Pizzaiolo pizza oven and it is one of the best things I've ever been sent’. That model might actually be best for me, for now anyway...