Pizza Sublime: a slice of Rome in Leura

Channelling the Slow Food movement philosophy, Pizza Sublime pizzaiolo Marco Marano lovingly selects premium imported Caputo flour so the dough remains light and crispy.

He pre-ferments it overnight in a 24-hour process known as "biga'' to break down gluten and add flavour to the dough.

The next day he kneads it, plunging his hands into the soft mass to create tiny air pockets that hide the magic.

The process takes his mind, his heart and his nostrils back to a childhood raised in the legendary southern Italian city of Naples in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius and wafted in the aroma of pizza.

He would go with his dad or grandpa to buy pizza.

"As soon as you walked in there was this amazing smell plus the magic created from the pizzaiolo from a little dough ball.

"Every time I stared, fascinated, at them stretching that dough in the special Neapolitan style."

In the pizzaiolo of Naples tradition, Marano tops his pizzas with quality ingredients - a liberal splosh of red tomato sauce, a sprinkle of fresh green basil leaves, handfuls of grated golden mozzarella cheese, a drizzle of fragrant olive oil.

The pizza hits the Italian state-of-the-art Marana oven, where the searing heat blisters the dough and bubbles the cheese in minutes.

The gas and wood-fired contraption has a revolving textured pizza stone deck that can be raised and lowered to regulate the heat quickly.

Light and digestible with extra crunch (unlike Napoli pizza that is soft and fluffy), pizza in pala Romana (Roman pizza) is served from the long pizza paddle (don't let the unusual square format throw you).

Pizza this good is sublime.

In fact, UNESCO acknowledged that the pizza style of Napes has intangible cultural heritage of pizza making - culinary know-how related to pizza-making, gestures, songs, facial expressions, local slang, the skills of manipulating pizza dough, performing and sharing.

In Italy, pizza is more than just food. It's a way of life. Pizza is important for society wellbeing, and the pizzaiolo plays an important role in fostering community engagement.

Likewise in Leura with Marano.

He started work - without pay - at age 14 at a pizza place in Naples.

After two years working every day for 14/15 hours a day "and doing the worst jobs ever", he understood it was the job he wanted to do.

By age 16, Marano was travelling to support his family, working in Switzerland for a year as a chef, then Germany, three years in Spain and another three in England before migrating to Australia.

He spent three years in Sydney, where he opened Justin Hemmes' Newport Arms Hotel pizza section at Pittwater, where he and his full Italian team made up to 1000 pizzas a day.

My life is in the Blue Mountains, I'm a Blue Mountains boy.

Marco Marano

After working at several other establishments, Marano shifted to Leura's Alexandra Hotel, where he created a pizza section.

He left the hotel after two and a half years and drove a truck at Emu Plains.

One weekend while helping his friend, who owns a pizza place at Lawson, "I touched the dough again and realised I wanted to go back in the kitchen".

"You can't stop doing what you love."

A few days later, Marano was driving the truck when he received a phone call from Leura Garage owner James Howarth, who offered him a job at his newest venture in Leura Mall - Pizza Sublime.

After four years living in the Blue Mountains, Marano said he was living "la dolce vita" (the sweet life) with his partner and baby girl.

"My life is in the Blue Mountains, I'm a Blue Mountains boy.

"My friends are here, my love is here and the feeling you receive from the locals is something great."

Savour "la dolce vita" yourself and embrace the lockdown slow lane with authentic artisan "pizza in pala Romana" (pizza Roman style).

Serving takeaway pizza by the slice, half or whole pizza, the Pizza Sublime by Leura Garage celebrates all that is wonderful and sublime about the Italian lifestyle - right here in Leura.

Mr Howarth said: "Lockdown had forced us all to take the slow lane, take each day at a more leisurely pace and appreciate the small pleasures of life - family and friends, our health, the spectacular environment around us and good food.

"At Pizza Sublime, we're tackling life one slice at a time."

Leura's only street food offering, Pizza Sublime by Leura Garage, located at the bottom of Leura Mall next to Josophan's Fine Chocolates, is open every day from 12pm to 8pm. Free home delivery available to Leura, Katoomba and Wentworth Falls (enter code SUBLIME in the promo area of the online check-out). Orders: https://bopple.app/menu/7669.