Thursday, February 22, 2018

Review: Mama Cozzi's Hangry Tomato Frozen Pizza - ALDI

I love ALDI for its above-average groceries at below-average prices. The frozen pizzas there are always cheap, but they have been hit-and-miss. No matter how cheap, you shouldn't often waste calories on frozen pizza unless you are feeding kids or the pizza is at least as good as DiGiorno.

The best ALDI frozen pizzas come from ALDI's home country, Germany. For example, their occasional "Specially Selected" brand is an excellent value, on par with the Trader Giotta pies imported from Italy for Trader Joe's


Fun fact: there are two ALDI chains  - North and South - in Germany, operated by competing brothers. One is the same as the American ALDI, the other operates here as Trader Joe's.

Recently, my local ALDI (West Chester, PA) began carrying a few varieties of "Hangry Tomato" frozen pizzas in some splashy packaging. They feature spicy flavors and the regular price is $4.99 for a typical smallish frozen pie. When I saw them on sale for $3.49, I grabbed one each of the "Flamin' Chicken" (20.55 oz.) and "The Sizzler" (18.35 oz.) varieties.
Flamin' Chicken, pre-bake

The Sizzler, pre-bake

The chicken-topped pie featured buffalo ranch sauce with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, topped with Romano, Parmesan, onion bits, and spiced chicken chunks. The Sizzler also lacked red sauce; its base was siracha ranch sauce and mozzarella, and it was topped with Parmesan, Romano, jalapeno, and uncured pepperoni.
Flamin' Chicken, post-bake
I often doctor frozen pizza by adding toppings, but I cooked these unaltered, following the package directions to bake them directly on the oven rack at 425 degrees for 18-20 minutes. They came out with a golden crisped crust and some nice top browning.
The Sizzler, post-bake
Given their modest size, I cut them into 6 slices instead of 8. I was pleased to note that the crust was sufficiently rigid that it did not droop when lifting a slice, but I was disappointed in the overall texture and flavor of the crust.
A slice of the Flamin' Chicken
Unlike the "good bread" taste in the ALDI frozen pizzas imported from Germany, these were more akin to the typical American frozen pizza. In other words, a bit dry, mealy, and flavorless. The impression I got was "stacked saltines without the salt." Not offensive, but adding nothing to the overall pizza enjoyment.
A slice of The Sizzler
The chicken pizza was just barely spicy. Its flavors were basic and simple; it could have used a boost from a robust red sauce instead of the tame ranch dressing.

The "Sizzler" with fat slices of jalapeno and generous rounds of pepperoni was much better. The peppers were tame by jalapeno standards, but still added a nearly ideal amount of spicy zing. The flavor of the pepperoni carried the whole pie and rescued it from mediocrity.
Under the hood
Final verdict?  Good enough, but too spicy, for kids. Not good enough for adults, even at $3.49 per pie. The Sizzler was far better than the Flamin' Chicken, but I won't be buying either one again. I ate it so you don't have to! If you are going to buy frozen pizza, get stuff imported from Europe or the rising-crust varieties from DiGiorno or Freschetta.

1 comment:

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