Our intellectual property
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Our intellectual property

The image above is the full-scale set of drawings for the Duomo36 cardboard pizza oven mold. When I founded and ran a PR and marketing consulting firm in Silicon Valley in the 1980s and 1990s, we worked with a large number of exciting companies full of smart, hardworking people—many of the them engineers. When we started with Alteon Web Systems, who went on to have a home run, billion dollar IPO and was later acquired by Nortel, we were their first marketing staff. The company had 8 engineers, and our primary contact inside the company wasn’t the VP of marketing,…

Introducing the Duomo cast in place pizza oven kit
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Introducing the Duomo cast in place pizza oven kit

Think of this as a soft launch for a new pizza oven. It’s the Biscotto di Sorrento Duomo. The Duomo is the industry’s first complete cast in place pizza oven kit. It provides everything you need to build a complete pizza oven core, including the mold and castable refractory to cast a professional-quality dome and vent, plus large format floor tiles, high-end floor and dome insulation, the chimney and door. All for a fraction of the cost of a precast pizza oven kit. This is a soft launch because you can’t buy the Duomo kit yet. We’re still testing out…

The Ultimate Pizza Oven Knowledge Base

The Ultimate Pizza Oven Knowledge Base

We recently added a Knowledge Base to the Biscotto di Sorrento website—the ultimate pizza oven knowledge base) and I thought I would explain a little bit more about our thinking, and why we’re doing it. A lot of things have changed over the past 20-odd years since I created the Forno Bravo Forum. The Internet was still new and fresh in the early 2000s when I started the company, wrote the Pompeii Oven book, and launched the forum. Yahoo had created Yahoo Group, and there was a small group of enthusiasts chatting online about Alan Scott ovens and other large…

Made in China and Ethics
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Made in China and Ethics

Are Ciao Bella Pizza Ovens Made In China? There is nothing intrinsically wrong with selling a product made in China. In some industries it can be difficult, or even impossible to avoid using some raw materials sourced from Chinese factories. This is somewhat true in the pizza oven industry, where many of the raw materials are produced to serve steel and other manufacturing industries that have shrunk dramatically in the past 20 years. In fact, many (most?) of the industrial companies that provided materials to the steel industry have shrunk, gone bankrupt, merged, etc. It isn’t a pretty picture. It’s…

What does made in China really mean?

What does made in China really mean?

In the context of pizza ovens, the influence of Chinese design and manufacturing is impossible to ignore. At the high-end, both Ooni and Gozney ovens are designed in the UK, and made made in China. I’ve had the opportunity to see photos and videos of the Chinese factories that make massive numbers of Ooni ovens, and it can be overwhelming. Hundreds of white-gloved workers and thousand, upon thousands of metal parts stacked up toward the sky. But, what does made in China really mean? The first thing to know is that there’s a continuum of data points along a line…

Market share vs. market size

Market share vs. market size

We aren’t the first company to sell Biscotto stones for the new generation of pizza ovens from Ooni, Gozney, Alfa, Carbon and the rest, though we are the first company located in the US. Which brings up the question of whether our marketing strategy is to simply gain market share by winning sales at the expense of the European-based incumbents who are exporting Biscotto stones one-at-a-time direct to users in the US, or we’re out to dramatically expand the size of the market. Of course the answer is to expand the market. There millions Ooni, Gozney, Kamado Grills and other ovens…

Social Awareness

Social Awareness

There are a number of reasons why I wanted to start Biscotto di Sorrento, and turn it into a successful business, and at the top of the list is the ability to use whatever success the company has, whether it’s financial, social capital, or otherwise, as an agent of positive social change. In practical terms, that means running the company in a way that supports not only the shareholders (me, and our family), but also all of the stakeholders who have a relationship with the company—our customers, our community, our suppliers, supporters, partners, and the environment. The idea of being…

Featuring Talented Photographers

Featuring Talented Photographers

There are some very talented photographers out in the world, and of course some very gifted pizzaiolos. Finding both of those skills in a single person is the rare case. In the interests of full disclosure, I am neither a good photographer, nor a terribly special pizza chef. Which makes my admiration for those who can do both all the more profound. You can find people with a love of photography and beautiful pizza on a number of photo sharing websites, including Pixabay.com, Pexels.com and Unsplash.com, which jointly contain millions of incredibly high quality photos posted for sharing, without commercial…

The Ooni Phenomenon
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The Ooni Phenomenon

Most pizza enthusiasts know the Ooni story and how they began life as a Kickstarter campaign and went on to revolutionize the backyard pizza oven and introduce an entire generation to the joys of open flame high temperature baking. I liken it to pizza oven 2.0, analogous to how the dynamic Internet 2.0 superseded the original static HTML Internet. Search for the term “pizza oven” and you’ll find a series of small pizza oven reviews done by the major media outlets, along with reviews by specialist sites. Long gone are the days when Forno Bravo held the top and the…

The Early Days at Forno Bravo
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The Early Days at Forno Bravo

I started Forno Bravo in 2003 while on an extended sabbatical in Florence, Italy. My wife is English and we had two kids in school whom we wanted to have a global cultural experience before going to high school. We had had the good fortune of working in Silicon Valley during the heady days of Internet 1.0, and our PR firm had worked with the biggies (Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Novell, Digital, 3Com), and we had helped a number of incredible startups make it from zero to blockbuster IPOs and mergers. Our clients created the hardware and software that made the…