Annie, you are not alone in your feelings about char. Nationally recognized pizza obsessive Brian Spangler of Apizza Scholls in Portland posted this to the forum a couple weeks ago:
Nobody likes char anymore. What the hell happened in the pizza world? I grew up with pizzas that had a nice char and now we have to beg for it? Even if I ask another pizzeria to bake "extra crispy/dark" it is lighter than the pizzas that I make. I know some of you like the GBD (golden, brown, delicious) pizza, but I find them lacking on many levels.
Me, I'm neutral when it comes to char. I can kind of understand where charheads are coming from, while I can also see the other side's perspective. Humans are basically hardwired from birth to have an aversion to charred foods. This propensity played an essential role in our evolution. Char is an acquired taste, whether it be the charred coffee beans in expresso, the charred oak barrels in single malt or the charred crust in high temp pizza, and, just like people that love expresso and scotch have a hard time understanding people that don't, I think that charred pizza haters have a certain stigma as well. It's a little bit bit like rare steak loving chefs heaping judgment on well done steak loving customers. It's like "how dare you prefer well done meat?!" There's nothing intrinsically superior about a charred slice of pizza than an uncharred one. I enjoy the occasional char on my slice, but when people complain about char, I'm not quick to judge. Different strokes for different folks.
Golden, brown and delicious (GBD) is another matter. That I don't have a lot of respect for. I've talked about this with Peter a bit- traditional NY style is neither charred nor GBD. It's puffy chewy and relatively white/pale with kind of an ashy almost charred undercrust. That's what I grew up eating and that's what sends my heart soaring. Over the years, in the NY area, baking temps have decreased and baking times have increased, resulting in an alarming trend towards GBD (and breadier) pizzas. It's basically pizza gentrification and it pisses me off to no end.
I know that you were (are?) putting out a pretty GBD product, and, being in CO, I don't judge you in the slightest, but for respectable mom and pop operations in the NY area to go GBD, that's just plain unforgivable.