January 21, 2007


The right slice: We rate the best and worst frozen pizzas (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/21/07)

Over two hours on a recent afternoon, 14 members of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette features department staff ate 13 pizzas, trying out thin crusts, self-rising crusts and plain cheese pizzas before rising in rebellion against the final category -- supreme pizza -- and declaring they could eat no more. Until then, each was asked to grade each pizza's texture and flavor on a scale of 1 (terrible) to 5 (awesome), for a maximum score of 10.

The results? A dark horse, the flatbread-style California Pizza Kitchen Crispy Thin Crust White pizza, was the surprise winner. Even next to saucier, more mainstream competitors such as DiGiorno, Freschetta and Red Baron, the pizza's fresh taste, multiple cheeses, snappy texture and zesty garlic flavor wowed nine of the 11 participants who completed their survey forms, winning their votes for best pizza overall with 87 out of a possible 110 points.

That pizza also won its thin crust pizza category, of course, while the winner of the self-rising category, DiGiorno Rising Crust Sausage and Pepperoni (76 points), came in second place overall for its good mixture of crispiness and chewiness in the crust, spicy sauce and meaty chunks of sausage.

And while participants were underwhelmed by DiGiorno's Thin Crispy Crust Four Cheese pizza -- "crust lumpy, sauce OK" and "pretty cheesy" were among the most flattering comments -- and awarded it just 57 points, it was judged to be the best of a mediocre lot. (Palate fatigue and rising indigestion might have contributed to the relatively low scores given to all the cheese pizzas.)

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 21, 2007 8:01 AM


Posted by: Jim in Chicago at January 21, 2007 10:11 AM

It's also pretty convenient to buy some foccacio, a jar of chunky pasty sauce, and a bag of pre-grated italian cheeses.

DiGiorno's and Freschetta's were good when they first came out, but, like a lot of products, after they hook you on the brand they try to "PIP"* the margins by going with cheaper ingredients and production processes.

*Profit Improvement Plan--actual industry acronym heard from actual industry executive at a cocktail party.

Posted by: ted welter at January 21, 2007 10:12 AM

Trader Joe's Pizza Margherita - $3.50 and made in Italy!

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at January 21, 2007 1:53 PM

Mr. Beversluis, you are right on. I was going to say exactly the same thing but had to leave for work and you beat me to it. It even has the slightly charred bottom and everything. That pie has restored my faith in science.

Posted by: David Hill, The Bronx at January 21, 2007 2:50 PM

Boboli pizza crust + pizza stone + your own toppings = better than most takeout pizza.

Posted by: PapayaSF at January 21, 2007 7:19 PM

I must agree w/Papaya. But in a pinch the wife likes Tombstone (Supreme).

Posted by: Bartman at January 22, 2007 3:26 PM