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Pizza toppings from scratch at Ivy Bear posted on 10/01/2020

Scott Olsen launched the Ivy Bear Family Pizzeria in 2012 with the goal of bringing artisanal pizza making methods to Mount Hood. After years of crafting his pies using traditional Italian recipes along with locally sourced ingredients and house-made sauce and dough, Olsen is now venturing closer to realizing his dream of a “farm to fork” style pizzeria with the addition of his own seasoned, smoked and cured meat toppings.

“The more you can do from scratch allows you to make a product that no one else can make,” Olsen said about the production of his pizzas. “I try to do everything I can to make the best pizza possible.”

In August, the Ivy Bear began offering house-made Canadian bacon, Italian sausage, seasoned beef and three varieties of house cured pepperoni: original, habanero and bison with their pies.

“The (house-made meats) take the pizzas to a whole other level,” Olsen said. “When I do it in-house I can offer a better product than a manufacturer. They always have their bottom line.”

Olsen said he was inspired while visiting the German town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber with his wife on their honeymoon in 2017. There they visited German butcher shops and witnessed the traditional production of cured meats and sausages.

The new production methods require a considerable amount of additional time. The pepperonis spend over a day in a dedicated curing chamber and the Canadian bacon takes more than a week to brine, dry and smoke.

“I thought it might require too much time. It’s turned out totally feasible and (the meats) are way better,” Olsen said. “It’s not a money saver, but to be able to stand behind the product, it’s worth it.”

Olsen has invested in new equipment for the process including a butcher-shop caliber meat grinder, a sausage machine, humidifiers for the curing room and a custom-machined pepperoni slicing attachment for the pizzeria’s meat slicer. Olsen had his neighbor create the attachment, which he described as resembling a “gatling gun” that can cut seven pepperonis at a time.

Even with the new production Olsen intends to continue to offer the toppings at the same prices. The bison pepperoni will be offered at a higher price point due to the higher cost of the Eastern Oregon-raised, grass-fed bison meat.

“I recently asked the staff if they could think of anything we can do from scratch that doesn’t involve raising the animals or producing the cheese,” Olsen said about his dedication to producing artisanal pizza. “I really don’t think there are more than a dozen pizza restaurants in the United States doing what we’re doing.”

The Ivy Bear Family Pizzeria is located at 54735 Hwy. 26 in Sandy. The pizzeria is open daily from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 503-208-9111.

By Ben Simpson/MT

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