Like ’em or not, you have to admit DiGiorno is a gutsy brand. For years, their advertising campaign has been predicated on the idea that an unwitting consumer could mistake their frozen pizza for hand-tossed, homestyle goodness delivered fresh from the local trattoria.
Now, with the introduction of their new line of thin-crust pies, the company has grown so confident in the quality of their work that their packaging is actually shrieking the word “PIZZERIA!“, exclamation point and all, in customers’ faces. But does DiGiorno’s latest creation finally live up to their lofty claims?
Because of my local grocery store’s limited selection, Pizzeria! Thin Primo Pepperoni was the only variety available for me. The box instructed me to place the pie directly on the center oven rack, warning that a pizza stone or cookie sheet may diminish its tastiness.
As an ardent pizza stone user/insane person, this filled me with terrific dread. I envisioned magma-like cheese dripping to the bottom of the stove and bursting into flames, or microscopic mites native only to oven racks infesting the crust. (Obviously, I have an awesome grasp on how science works, you guys.) Thankfully, when the kitchen timer rang, I discovered the pie intact and, from what I could tell, mite-free.
The directions also recommended that I let it rest for five minutes before slicing in, so I took that time to savor the smell; it was slightly herbaceous, but the oregano and basil were overwhelmed by the greasy aroma of the pepperoni (which isn’t a bad thing if you’re aiming for a genuine pizzeria experience).
As I bit in, I found the end product to be a bit of a mixed bag. Let’s start with the cheese: It was unremarkable, owing probably to the lame part-skim mozzarella used. No provolone, cheddar, or Parmesan to add some complexity and depth of flavor? Points deducted.
The sauce was similarly disappointing. Although the packaging proudly describes it as “made with vine-ripened tomatoes and herbs” – uh, I would hope so? – it tasted distinctly frozen pizza-y, by which I mean that it was equal parts bitter and bland, very unlike the sweet tomato sauce I’m accustomed to eating in actual pizzerias. Come on, DiGiorno!
Moving on to the “primo” pepperoni, I have no compliments, but no complaints either. It baked to a nice, crisp texture, and it tasted like your average pepp – savory and oily with a minor spicy afterkick.
But in spite of all this mediocrity, there exists one seriously redeeming factor: The crust. It was chewy yet crispy, pillowy yet flavorful. Just as the box says, you can taste the nuanced seasonings and the lushness of the olive oil drizzle. It would seem DiGiorno’s entire budget went into the dough and, really, that’s the smartest area of investment when it comes to pizza. Gourmet toppings don’t mean much when they’re served on a disc of tasteless, rubbery breading.
So has DiGiorno finally achieved mistakable-for-delivery status? Nah. But if you’re expecting something less ambitious, like a serviceable frozen pizza, then you’re less likely to walk away disappointed. Perhaps the other varieties (Supreme Speciale, Spinach & Mushroom, and Margherita) are a bit more convincing. Or maybe it just depends on the kind of delivery you’re used to.
(Nutrition Facts – 1/4 pizza – 310 calories, 130 from fat, 15 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 760 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.)
Item: DiGiorno Pizzeria Thin Primo Pepperoni Pizza
Purchased Price: $7.19
Size: 17.2 oz.
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Awesome crust. Okay pepperoni. Serves its humble purpose.
Cons: Lackluster cheese and sauce. Still not pizzeria-quality. Box condescendingly advises you to enjoy “with fresh salad and great company.”