Lancaster-based wood fuel specialist, Logs Direct, has launched a new environmentally friendly pizza log briquette for pizzerias using wood ovens. Its ‘Piccante’ log is food-safe, HACCP and carbon tax-compliant, and a money-saver for any kitchen, thanks to a high calorific value and a highly competitive price.
‘Piccante’ logs have been specially designed for use with foodstuffs and are free from additives, glues and adhesives. The eco-logs are entirely natural and are formed from compressed virgin beech, sourced by Logs Direct in Italy. They create neither carcinogenic fumes, nor toxic ash, with this also leading to another benefit – improved cleanliness beneath the oven.
Each 1.55kg Piccante log has a high calorific value of 5,35 kcal and is 8-sided, resting in a way that reduces contact with the oven floor, improving air flow around it and so improving combustion. This leads to a much better burn.
The log is the result of more than two years’ effort by Logs Direct sales director, Stephen Talbot, who set himself the task of sourcing the perfect log for chefs who cook with a wood-fired oven. This followed Logs Direct entering the restaurant sector with its high quality kiln-dried logs and launching the very first awards for wood-fired eateries – the Woody Awards.
Having listened to how chefs used Logs Direct’s kiln-dried wood in conjunction with eco-briquettes, Stephen decided to combine his knowledge of wood fuel, with that of those who had the natural resources and know-how to create additive-free logs, to produce the perfect wood-fired oven briquette solution.
The compressed virgin beech used for the Piccante logs, is compacted to create a denser briquette than others available in the market. This leads to a lower flame, ensuring pizza bases are not singed by the embers from the wood.
A focus group of chefs has been testing the product and giving their feedback. Chris Atkins of Gourmet Pizza in Oxfordshire says: “It is apparent that the moisture content of this briquette is extremely low. This has meant that we’ve achieved a stable burn and ensured food consistency. The Piccante briquettes have also proved very easy to light and have reached optimum temperature quickly.
“As the Piccante briquettes burn for longer in the oven than the market leader, we know we shall not need to use and store as many as we have in the past. We will certainly spread the word about these briquettes, as they are much cheaper than others.”
Ian Morris of the Siena Pizza Company added: “Piccante is a great new product and we think they are slightly hotter than our normal compressed beech logs”.
Another commendation came from Andrei Serban at the Pizza Shack in Stratford who said: “This is a fantastic compressed briquette, definitely worth switching to. It’s hot!”
Whilst the product’s name means ‘hot’ in a culinary sense, rather than being related to calorific value, the Italian partners liked the twist and the humour helped the bonding with Logs Direct. They are now furiously packing the Piccante logs – which come in nine-log, 14kg boxes – to keep up with demand.
Stephen Talbot says: “We are delighted to bring this exciting new eco-briquette to the market and thank all the chefs who tested them and gave us their feedback. It has all proved very positive and we are sure we shall be firing up many more restaurants that cook with a wood-fired oven and want a briquette that has been created entirely with their needs in mind.”