Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: Mama Cozzi's Pizza



Prompted by a $5.00 coupon that came in the mail, I visited the newly-opened Aldi Supermarket on Lincoln Highway in Exton, PA.  Aldi is a is a global discount supermarket chain based in Germany, offering a limited selection and deep discounts, mostly on house brands. 

Aldi is big in Europe; a new store opens every week in the U.K.  The discounts are significant, but they come at the cost of convenience.  You have to put in a quarter to release a chained-up shopping cart, they don’t provide shopping bags (or even empty boxes, as Costco does), and they don’t accept credit cards.


Wikipedia says that “Aldi's and Costco spend an extraordinary effort to ensure that their private label products are viewed by consumers as equal to, if not better than, leading name-brand products.” So how did they do on take-and-bake pizza?


Aldi stocks an attractive array of frozen pizzas, in varying sizes and styles.  I had one picked out for a quick dinner when I discovered the larger (16 inch) pies in the refrigerated section. Both the fresh and the frozen carried the “Mama Cozzi’s Pizza Kitchen” brand. The box promised “premium Italian sausage and pepperoni” as well as five “Italian-style” cheeses on this 29 ounce thin-crust pie. I’ve been pleased with the refrigerated take-and-bake at Costco and even from Acme, and the thin crust sealed the deal.


Like most cook-at-home pies, this one was cooked directly on the center rack for 12-14 minutes. I usually go to the high end of cooking time, to minimize the chance for soggy pie. I also give it 2 minutes under the broiler to get browning on the top. Despite its thin crust, it did not become stiff or cracker-like, but it was generally sturdy enough to eat without a knife and fork.


The thin crust was tasty, if a tad generic in quality. It had a pleasing texture with a good chew but I’d have liked it crisper. The ingredients were exceptionally well proportioned. The five cheeses were not distinctive, but they were in harmony with the salty and tangy sauce. Neither was overloaded in a way to overwhelm the thin crust. The meats were in big satisfying chunks. No sausage pellets here, but the pepperoni more resembled the actual stuff than did the sausage. Both were tasty, and again in balance with the pie. The pie also won approval from EPBAC (eats pizza but avoids cheese) and VACK (vegetable-avoiding college kid). The three of us ate the entire pie.
The underside of the crust



Once again, I found that you can get a better pre-fab pie (refrigerated or frozen) at the supermarket than you can from any major chain, or from most local pizza joints. Let’s give the crust a 5, the sauce a 7, the cheese a 5, the meats a 6.  Overall, a “6” rating for a well-balanced pie that costs just six bucks.  

22 comments:

  1. Fantastic review! I'll have to check this one out. I really like what you've done with the broiler to brown the top of the pizza. I'll have to check that out!

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  2. Excellent stuff, it's great to see Aldi pizza's getting a good review. I've tried out a few (I'm in the UK) and they have always been of a good standard.

    Great blog, I could spend all day reading about Pizza :)

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  3. Gems: Glad to have a reader check in from the other side of the pond!

    Eric: I use the broiler both on homemade pies and reheating leftovers. "Kick it up a notch!"

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  4. Yeah I never order out anymore, I like to add black olives to the combo pizza from aldis, great stuff for six bucks!

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  5. It's interesting that your Aldi doesn't take credit cards or supply empty boxes. Mine, in Iowa, does both. I agree with your assessment of Mama Cozzi's Pizza. Not my go-to frozen pizza, but great when you are on a budget.

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    1. NO aldi stores take credit cards, and although they don't actually 'supply' empty boxes, there are enough around the store that are empty or very close to being empty that you can just take the 1 or 2 remaining items out of the box to empty it for your groceries.
      Vera, maybe you are confused about the store? Possibly you have seen someone use a debit card ot a welfare 'food stamp' card and assumed it to be a credit card, but again--NO ALDI STORE TAKES CRDIT CARDS.

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    2. I shop there exclusively, and they absolutely take credit card, not just debit. Experience from both Missouri and Iowa stores.

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  6. Vera,

    Thanks for the note! My local ALDI does (sometimes) have empty boxes available now, but still no credit cards. Some great bargains every week; was getting Jersey blueberries for 99 cents a pint, those are 1985 prices!

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  7. Will be having the aldi brand pizza shorlty... but it can't relate to any pie at a pizzeria. The crust is fluffier and chewier, instead of crispy. I do have to say the aldi brand pizza avoids a cardboard like crust yet it isn't quite simillar to a true italian pizza pie, but it's great when you don't feel like cooking and it's very inexpensive. Good review.

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  8. Thanks Kyle. ALDI has become my go-to store for all but the highest-end stuff. Jersey blueberries were $3.99/pint at another supermarket, one place had 2 pints for $5, ALDI had them for $1 per pint. And their other house brands -- beyond the pizzas -- are just fine and way cheap.

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  9. I was skeptical when the ALDI first opened near my house but I am a believer in the quality food products they offer. Their milk is growth hormone free and cheaper than Wal mart. The Mamma Cuzzi pizza is great, I even doctor it with fresh basil, tomatos and whatever else we want on it. Their Priano spaghetti sauce is the best jar sauce ever. Also tried their brand pumpkin bread mix, it is great. Good store, love it.

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  10. Shashali, One tip I got is to check the imported German stuff (often right by the entrance) that changes regularly. PQ

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  11. Thanks for taking the time to write the review. When I've seen those pizzas at Aldis, I was somewhat hesitant to buy one. It sounds like it's worth a try.

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  12. Hello Jean - The ALDI pizzas won't change your life (or trim your waistline) but they are tasty, well-made, and great value. Thanks!

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  13. We eat the frozen rising crust Mamma Cuzzi's regularly. The 5 Meat is my favorite. Mamma must add some herbs to this frozen pie because there is nothing bland about it. The Chicken and Spinach is pretty good while the Cheeses are fine as well. The frozen's run about $3, which close to half the price or better than the major brands. No major brands of rising crust frozen pizza's are better than Aldi's.

    As far as Aldi's in general go, I have heard the quality of fresh fruits and veggies depends on the store. I would guess it's up to manager to toss out the old and order the new. Luckily, our closest Aldi has good fresh F&V's. So far I have only found a few subpar items at Aldi's, mostly meat. Due to the price of beef, we have done a lot of ground turkey at $1.69/lb. Add a little cheap red wine, garlic powder and onion powder and it's good enough for anything you would use ground beef for, even hamburger. It's still not beef, but close enough to continue the hold out until beef prices come down.

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  14. Thanks Bubba! I'm an ALDI fan too. Watch for specials near the entry door - this is the stuff imported from Germany and it's often very good,

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  15. I espessialy like the Supreme ,I doctor it a bit by drizzle ing a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil on top & adding a little bit more Mozzirellia cheese on top before baking ,the olive oil makes it a lot more moist & Juicy

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  16. Thanks for the feedback! Interesting, I just bought the sausage version. I added red peppers (fresh) and some pepperoni. Then I heated my oven to 475 and baked it on my "Pizza Grate" vented pizza cooking surface. It came out with the bottom golden brown and nicely crisped, but overall the crust was rather bland and the sauce was not too special either. I think your extra olive oil idea is a good one to balance the moisture.

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  17. I cook my ALDI pizza on 575 degrees for about 6 mins, and I use a pizza pan I bought from Aldi's aswell-- great meal for 5.00.. I also add cheese and diced ham!

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  18. I have a supreme for dinner tonight,I love them and the price is soooo nice,:):) ALDIs Rocks !!!!!

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  19. Luke - I don't know how they do it - ALDI prices are often less than half of regular supermarkets, but the quality is the same or better

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