DOC. A phrase used by various Italian agricultural government bodies that set and oversee the standards of foods, most significantly cheese and wine. In Victoria, DOC Pizza and Mozzarella Bar sets the standards for simple, beautiful Italian food, combining the very best Mornington Peninsula produce with a truly Italian approach to food.
Tony Nicolini knows how good the ingredients from the Mornington Peninsula can be. When he and business partners, Robert De Santis and Michael Costanzo, opened DOC Espresso and DOC Pizza and Mozzarella Bar in Carlton, they turned to the area for all their local ingredients, recognising the inimitable quality they could offer.
When it came to opening the third DOC, there was only one place to go. Tony established a concept store, delivering a completely new experience to the Peninsula and cementing a strong relationship with local producers. This time the concept was expanded to include an old school delicatessen, produce store and award-winning artisan pizzeria, ensuring that the love of Mornington Peninsula ingredients could be celebrated in one location.
While rocket, radicchio, herbs, pestos and cheese travel just metres to get to your plate, there are some ingredients that require a little more travel. San Marzano tomatoes, organic olive oil, San Daniele prosciutto, Gragnano pasta and Grana Padano all come straight from the boot-shaped country to ensure authenticity and a genuine Italian experience.
To make sure DOC kitchens contain only the highest quality ingredients, Tony travels to Italy on a regular basis to immerse himself in the contemporary Italian food culture, keeping an eye on what boutique producers are doing and what he should be taking home with him. He emphasises provenance and is always looking to shorten the supply chain wherever possible.
Every single choice made in the kitchen is inspired by the idea of food making you feel good. This ingenuity also ignites the passion of the unashamedly Italian staff, who are proud to pass on their knowledge to each and every customer.
If that isn’t enough to convince you of the team’s dedication to plentiful produce, the proof is in the pizza. An examination of any slice must begin with the base, where artisanal ‘0’ our is expertly kneaded to create the perfect dough, ready to rise to just the right height. From there, your toppings of choice are expertly layered on top, creating the perfect combination of flavour with each bite. Try the simple yet mouth-watering margherita, topped with San Marzano, mozzarella and fresh basil, or ignite those tastebuds with the Cornuto, layered with induja, roasted pepper and hot cacciatore salame.
While you’re waiting for those perfectly curated pizzas, take a good look at the drool-worthy display of prosciutto and barrel-sized wheels of cheese, hanging from the glass-fronted room. They’re just another reminder of the importance DOC place on the quality and origin of ingredients.
If the cheese catches your eye, turn to the mozzarella bar, where white Sardinian anchovies and fennel are served with either fior di latte, smoked mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella. Choosing may be difficult – so go for the degustation of all three.
With the deli and produce store just metres away, re-creating each dish at home isn’t impossible. You’ll be able to use the exact same ingredients that the chefs do, so get inspired and allow the DOC experience to continue beyond your visit.