Take a Master Class in Pizza on Federal Hill

Learn the basics with pizzaiolo chef Billy Manzo

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After several trips to Italy and being a fourth generation Italian myself, in my humble opinion, Federal Hill Pizza has the best pizza in Providence. The overall pie is somehow simple and light, yet rich and fresh. Chef Billy Manzo is an acclaimed master pizzaiolo who has competed as a member of The World Pizza Champions, been featured on the Food Network, and he has developed the most incredible fluffy dough.

Federal Hill Pizza has two locations, one on Main Street in Warren, and one right here on Chalkstone housed in the historic Castle Theater, originally a vaudeville venue built in 1925. When I learned that the Providence location was offering Pizza’more – in-person adult cooking classes for couples or very small groups on Wednesday nights or virtual group classes via Zoom – it was a must for me. First, I did my research: they are taking all COVID-safe precautions necessary, including screening everyone that comes into the building for the in-person class. Once these measures were taken care of, it was time to roll up our sleeves and get messy.

Manzo started our class by going through the history of pizza, followed by a tour of the dough room to see the different mixers and how they function. One mixer even does the motion of human hands kneading the dough. Manzo then dives into the science of his famous dough. Each guest receives their own personal set of ingredients: the famous secret dough, homemade sauce, the restaurant’s preferred cheese, Galbani, and more. Once your pie is assembled, you are brought over individually to the 500-pound brick oven imported directly from Napoli.

Once all the pizzas are out of the oven, it’s time to enjoy a delicious meal served with a glass of wine or craft beer. Federal Hill Pizza also offers a class on how to make the Roman-style al taglio dough. Manzo is certified to teach classes and certify others who want to learn more about the product, business, or even how to start their own pizza restaurant. As for me, I just wanted to have another slice.

Their brick oven traditional Margherita pizza is my absolute favorite, made with Galbani mozzarella, sauce, fresh basil, and finished with olive oil. Whether you’re taking a class or prefer to try this at home with one of their pizza kits, ordering take-out or want to have a pie shipped nationwide (it’s a thing), do yourself a favor and do not leave the premises without their Nutella Dough Balls: fried dough confections, tossed in sugar and topped with Nutella and powdered sugar. You can thank me later!

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