If you want to recreate an authentic, Italian style pizza pie from scratch, all out of the comfort of your own backyard, a standard stove isn’t going to cut it.
You need a professional oven, and we’re here to weigh up a contender.
Today we’re taking a look at the Italia Artisan Oven from Camp Chef, a subsidiary brand from reputable American firm Vista Outdoor.
Their website promises you’ll get perfect artisan pizzas every single time, so let’s put that claim to the test.
Exploring, for your reading pleasure, all of the wonderful features we loved, as well as some opportunities for improvement, our review is everything you’ll need to make your mind up.
Without further ado...
Those looking to enjoy recognizably authentic pizza from the comfort of their home should avoid takeout menus and invest in one of these life-changing gadgets.
All the money you save on ordering in will more than cover the cost!
Able to reach higher temperatures and maintain them for far longer than a residential oven, the Italia Artisan is an incredibly impressive piece of equipment.
A genuine replica of Italy’s classic brick ovens, you can enjoy a true slice of heaven in the USA.
Though it might seem small and unassuming, it’s a powerful gadget that, once purchased, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
We put it through some rigorous testing, so you don’t have to, and here’s what we found.
What We Loved
For us, the Italia was love at first sight: it’s petite enough to operate from a patio, with a contemporary stainless steel design that makes an adorable addition to any backyard.
Don’t have the space to build a brick oven? This is an ideal solution.
Thanks to the perfect positioning of an inbuilt, cordierite ceramic stone, you’ll be able to mimic the actions of true pizzerias, preparing pies that put Dominos and their competitors to shame.
No more shoddy oven trays and soggy bottoms here!
Chances to burn yourself are limited, given the oven door is adequately ventilated with an easy to grasp handle.
Even novice chefs, yet to even wield a pizza peel or stone, will find it easy enough to navigate and cook with.
Holding total control over the flames produced is incredibly easy, thanks to a micro-adjust temperature valve.
It also provides instantaneous ignition - forget fiddling around with matches or lighters, just push, turn, and you’re ready to go!
Preparation time is about to get slashed, as we found this baby is capable of preheating in just fifteen minutes.
You’ll be enjoying delicious, homemade pizza in record time, without sacrificing flavor or failing to cook for long enough.
Because it’s capable of reaching temperatures higher than 700 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll be able to cook up a pizza in just a few short minutes.
No, you didn’t read incorrectly! It only takes two to three minutes to achieve crispy, cheesy perfection.
Not only is it a superb pizza oven, but Camp Chef also recommends the Italia for roasting joints of meat and even baking artisan loaves of bread!
We were pleasantly surprised by the uses you could find for a product that appears to be so niche.
You’ll also notice that, unlike those models that have to be permanently built into your garden, this oven is portable. Got a friend having a barbecue?
Why not be the talk of the party and make everybody their own personal pizza!
Given it’s made from stainless steel, you’ll want to keep it looking shiny and new for as long as possible.
In our experience, maintenance is easy, provided you diligently wipe down the interior and exterior after every use. Just don’t let it build up.
Though it’s nowhere near as expensive as some of the other outdoor pizza ovens available on the market, we believe the Italia oven is a quality product that you can rely on.
Professional pizzas cooked with minimal effort - what’s not to love!
Room For Improvement?
Running on a 1lb bottle of propane, the oven will only have enough power for around an hour and a half.
Great if you’re only whipping up one or two pizzas, but probably not enough time to provide individuals for a whole family and certainly not a party.
As a result, users will most likely want to hook it up to a more permanent power supply.
Whilst the parts required to do this are provided, you will need to purchase your own propane tank separately in order to do this.
According to several customer reviews, the ceramic pizza stone provided is not as robust, and can quickly succumb to cracking if exposed to sudden temperature changes on a regular basis.
That said, you can easily purchase a new stone (there are probably many more authentic options available besides the one you get in-box), and many other reviews also indicate no issues with the stone after years of use.
Larger families will need to eat separately, or wait around and reheat the first few pizzas, as there’s only room to cook a pie at a time.
However, when competing products are ten times the cost, this really is an impressive piece of equipment!
In the future, it could be great to see a larger variant of the Italia, able to fit two, maybe even three pizzas at once, for use at bigger events and get togethers.
It would make an already impressive product shine just that little bit brighter.
Seeing as this is an outdoor oven, it’s disappointing that the Italia doesn’t come with any kind of cover or weatherproofing.
Of course, you can always store it in the garage or take it inside once it’s cooled down, but it really wouldn’t go amiss.
Even just a water resistant, heat proof sheet to throw on when sudden showers strike you down unprepared would be useful.
We can’t control what happens with the weather, but we can certainly get ready for it in advance!
The Camp Chef Italia Features
15 x 26 x 16 inches
13.25 x 20 inches
22.25 x 4.25 inches
Individual Shelf Dimensions
5 x 23 inches
- Constructed from dependable, durable, stainless steel that polishes to perfection
- Requires only fifteen minutes to preheat, with micro adjust valves that offer highly specific heat control
- Dual layered double ceiling, to enhance heating capabilities and provide the same baking experience offered by a traditional brick oven
- Internal temperature gauge monitors the oven at all times
- Reaching temperatures of more than 700 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s capable of dispensing a whopping 17,000 BTU of heat per hour
- Powered by a disposable 1lb propane canister - a five foot connection hose and regulator are included, if you’d like to hook up to a standard, bulk propane tank instead
- Certified for use indoors, in well ventilated areas only!
- At 15 x 26 x 16 inches, this is a small but mighty cooking vessel with far less of a footprint than your average pizza oven. Only got a small backyard? No problem - opt for the Italia!
Why Invest In A Pizza Oven?
This section of the review is specifically targeting customers who are reading this and thinking, “But why can’t I just use the oven in my kitchen to make pizza?”
To that, we say: “You definitely can! But here’s why an authentic oven is better!”
- Better quality pizza, with ingredients that cost way less than takeoutIf you’ve ever been to a real, family owned Italian restaurant, you’ll understand that homemade pizza is just better. The allure of a Papa John’s arriving at your door in 30 minutes or less is strong, but it just won’t satisfy you the same.
- Fun for the whole family, that doesn’t involve any screens!Particularly if there are younger kids involved (but hey, even teenagers might come out of their rooms for this) using a real outdoor pizza oven is an excellent family activity that everybody will enjoy.
- Portable options require little effort, and aren’t as expensiveSure, building a genuine brick wood-fired oven will set you back a pretty penny, and probably take a while. Ovens like the Italia Artisan require very little setup, no assembly whatsoever, and won’t break the bank!
- More cooking avenues to explore than just pizza
As we’ve explained above, the Italia Artisan and all other pizza ovens can be utilized for baking, roasting and even smoking! Whether it’s meat, bread or even desserts you fancy, there’s a whole heap of recipes to try out.
- A chance to enjoy al fresco dining
It can be difficult to find an excuse for enjoying a meal in the great outdoors. Cooking up a storm with the pizza oven is definitely a good one, and a lovely reason to invite friends or neighbors to join you.
Accessories To Consider
If you do decide to bite the bullet and treat yourself to the Italia Artisan, there are a few additional pieces of equipment you might like.
Whilst not altogether necessary, they will certainly enhance your experience and make it more authentic overall!
The first is a pizza peel; often used in real Italian kitchens, these long, usually wooden paddles are used to place your pizza in to cook and remove it once ready.
These ovens run much hotter than usual, so it’s more of a safety precaution!
Aim for one that has a non-stick coating or some light perforation, because pizza dough is notorious for adhering itself to the cooking vessel.
You’ll find the whole process a lot more efficient and enjoyable this way.
Of course, the Italia Artisan already comes with its own pizza stone, but given the huge range of choice out there, it’s likely you’ll want to invest in one or two more.
For lighting-fast cooking times and easy peeling, these accessories are the way to go.
There is disagreement on which material is best, with some chefs promoting ceramic stones and others sticking with steel.
Both have their pros and cons, so it’s worth trying out one of each to see which yields the best results for you.
You’ll want to double check the internal measurements of your oven if you do decide to invest in some new ones.
They vary in size, so making sure that a stone will fit inside is your number one priority when picking them out!
It’s worth noting that if you don’t feel like cooking outside or whipping up fresh dough, a pizza stone can be placed inside your conventional oven.
It won’t magically turn up the heat, but it will vastly improve the quality of your store bought pizzas!