Antoine has been great communicating about the FGM 700. I wish I had room for the 800. I really do want to have room for larger items. I know there are strong opinions here about dome height. I understand that especially for those who concentrate on pizza. But I can honestly say I've had good pizza from ovens with dome heights much higher than recommended here. I'm glad to here the FGM ovens hold heat well. I am leaning toward them now and would be finishing any oven I purchase in a dome shape in my kitchen. I want it to look like a southeastern Kiva. But Im still researching and seeking as much advice as I can get.
Im originally from North Carolina so being a southern boy and not southern Italian, Im drawn to smoked/big meat. LOL. Lets say that a chicken is just the beginning of what I would like to cook in the oven. I realize this forum is dedicated to pizza makers so I have to weigh that bias into my decision. I have yet to find another forum with any the kind of information found here. FornoBravo is not my favorite for info and I've already had two phone calls that did not go as well as I would have liked.
Also, I realize that this is a subjective choice and every oven reacts differently to it's construction,wood and operator. Out of all of the manufactures I listed earlier I am drawn to the FGM the most. Mainly for the brick option, integrated insulated door,damper,and temp probe, and lastly even at this early stage of my research the customer service provided by Antoine. He's already really working for my business.
I went to a local pizza place for lunch today that has an Earthstone. I could see that the large door let's alot of heat escape. Antoine had mentioned that there would be more heat exchange with a larger door. I can really see where this could be a problem for me in the summer months. I did ask about the Earthstone's use the summer and was told it was not that bad. Although they did have a exhaust vent over the door and I can imagine that the air conditioner is turned on pretty high in the summer. I was in the same restaurant this summer and didn't pay attention to the oven. I was to busy trying to get to the patio and grab a beer and pizza.
Speaking of not paying attention. When in Italy earlier this year owning a WFO was not on my radar. From the deck oven Roman style focaccia pizza at Pizzarium. Which by the way was crazy. The potato pizza still haunts my dreams. To Naples. I cant remember the name of the place we had pizza there. Im beating myself up right now about not finding Da Michele. By the time we got to Naples and tried to locate the train station we were overwhelmed. Naples is crazy. The gritty Italian energy there is a bit much. We had pizza at many local places in Sorrento, Amafi,Piano de Sorrento and the little town where Herculaneum is. I looked at the ancient ovens of Pompeii and Herculaneum and only though of them through a historical and archeological lens. I wish I would have been more present and could have investigated a bit more. But in the end, all of the pizza was good to great. Therefore, Im now looking for an oven.
Having been warned before going not to expect to much form the pizza in Italy by well meaning American palates. I really didn't know what it would be like. Luckily, It was a life changing experience. My biggest takeaway from Italy was the simplicity of everything. Simple,honest ingredients which I know has been an ongoing theme in food circles here in the states. I knew this, but there is so much noise and easy distraction here in the states that it never stuck. Until, Italy. Dishes with six ingredients were amazing. Cabonara. I've embraced this philosophy since returning and it has lead me to this site and pursuing a WFO.
So I do want to cook pizza but I also need more versatility. I would be happy right now with a close approximation of Neapolitan pizza. I have a long way to go. It seems members here who have been WF cooking for years are still learning and honing their skills. I have to come to find out that the oven is in some ways only as good as its owner. So therefore I want to give myself to by best chance to be successful with the oven for the kind of use I need it for. Compromise on dome height versus floor space versus cast versus brick seem to just that compromise. I'm looking at a French oven to cook Italian pizza, international breads, southern barbecue, American holiday fare and I honestly can't wait to make a pecan pie in it. So I end up with size, quality,versatility and features being the main deciding factors for the oven.