[gallery ids="4273,4269,4270,4271,4272"] Words and photography by Lauren Matilda Matthews from The Kitchen Collective Pizza. It’s one of those indulgences that, if put into the wrong hands, can send the whole Italian population into a conniption fit. Done correctly, it’s what Michelangelo is to art, what Chanel is to fashion, or what Einstein is to equations. Personally, I’m increasingly weary of those who succumb to meat-lovers concoctions, spliced with over processed meat and taste-less cheese – four words: that shit is nasty. What I love about Italian gastronomic-creations however, is the simplicity of flavour combinations, something that I seldom find living in Auckland. So, when I stumble across an eatery boasting authentic cuisine, I’m quick to find the highest building to shout my newfound love off. Or, because I’m rather frightened of heights, I’ll simply share my find in a more scared-of-heights friendly realm – hiding behind my laptop. Al Volo - it’s what I imagine a pizzeria to be like in Naples. It’s not flashy, it’s not trying to entice you with 'clever' marketing (I’m looking at you Hells) and it’s nothing more than it needs to be. What it is, is a charming Mount Eden corner store, equip with a state of the art pizza oven, passionate staff, a killer authentic know-how, and a family-run vibe that is unprecedented across the pizza industry. What’s different between an authentic pizza, and those that aren’t? Good question. Creating the perfect doughy base is an absolute science in itself. The dough must be of a certain age, the wood oven must be a certain temperature, the dough must cook for a certain amount of time, and the toppings, while packed full of flavour, are generally minimalistic in appearance. New owners Luca and Michaiah, are, as romantic as it sounds, engaged. Luca, a native Italian shares fond memories of working in his parents pizzeria from a young age. After grasping the opportunity to realise his dream of owning a restaurant where he can relive his fond memories, the couple bought Al Volo, and are hoping to reinvent it by introducing Peroni Sunday sessions, refining the menu and finessing its offerings. And, as history repeats itself, Luca’s 11 year old son is following in his footstep by assisting the staff – eager to do anything he can to help out his parent’s business. Adoring, damn tasty, and unpretentious – Al Volo scores top marks for an authentic eatery serving no-fuss, proper Italian pizza. So, get off that 0800 buzz, and be sure to give Luca and Michaiah a call next time. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did. Click here for a full menu and more information on Al Volo.