The art of Pop Up pizza
The Vyvyans of Trelowarren have long been famous for their powers of green innovation and enterprise and the latest generation are proving themselves no different.
The prospect of having to fund his final degree show at Central St Martins set Rowan, third of the family's five sons, along with his friend Hannah Stephens, on an 18 month mission to master the arts of pizza-making and running a restaurant and now their Pop-Up Pizzeria and Shop is a zesty draw for the local community and for visitors vacationing on the estate.
The Pop-Up has found a home in one of the old stable blocks, across the cobbles from Trelowarren's award-winning New Yard Restaurant. It is the antithesis of "fine dining" - Rowan, Hannah and various friends and brothers, have made every stick of furniture out of chip-board and cast off wood. The wood-fired oven (which uses wood from the estate) was already in place and they have white-washed the room, blackboard-painted one wall and built a vast chip-board wine rack to house the bottles Rowan's parents brought back from a Bordeaux dash to various wine-making friends in south west France.
"We're happy that it's a bit eccentric," says Rowan. "We didn't want it to be all "done" and neat. We want people to come and eat fantastic pizza and drink great wine without having to spend an arm and a leg - or having to dress up if they don't want to."
The pizzas themselves have a thin base, crisp but not too crispy, with a flavoursome tomato sauce and neat and evolving toppings (Cornish Yarg cheese features on one). Rowan and Hannah make the dough in the kitchens of the New Yard Restaurant where, they acknowledge, chef Olly Jackson is being very patient about the amount of time and space they are taking up!
While the team may be fortunate to have a spare building at their disposal, the Pop-Up is no cushy number. On pizza baking days they are working from 6am to 10pm raising and lowering the heat in the oven most efficiently for the various foods they need to cook. First up are breakfast pastries, then their artisan breads. They make big pizzas for lunchtime slices, then bakes pasties followed by orange polenta cake to complement the classic cakes their friends bring in to sell. From 6pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, having made and proved the dough, the pizza evenings begin - aided and abetted by all the friends that give this Pop-Up its youthful and optimistic feel.
Brand new as it is, the Pop-Up fits exactly into the Trelowarren ethos of practical sustainability. The estate is ancient - with 600 years of Vyvyans, 1000 acres leading down to the Helford River and a house that was Daphne du Maurier's inspiration for Navron in Frenchman's Creek. Rowan's parents, Ferrers and Victoria, have spent more than twenty years restoring, renovating and building in a way that ensures the ethical survival of the estate as a business, from the high spec eco houses to the organic Walled Garden Spa and the ozone pool - all of which are warmed by a giant biomass boiler which burns coppiced wood from the land.
"We've worked so hard to bring Trelowarren to where it is now - and we feel very proud that the boys and their friends have got the fire in their bellies to keep coming up with bright ideas," says Ferrers Vyvyan. "They've had to do all this from scratch - not just the baking skills and the building skills but they've done their licensing exams too. It's been eighteen months in the preparation and now the Pop-Up's here - for Summer 2012 at least!"
Rowan and Hannah's Pop Up Pizza Shop is open from 8am - 3pm with pizza evenings on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Pizzas cost from £7 to eat in or to take away. Red, White and Rose Chateau wine from £7 a bottle.
For more information, visit trelowarren.com.