Sunday, February 8, 2015

Mama Cozzi's Dip-N-Strips Pizza Strips: Pepperoni and Cheese (Aldi)

A stupid, unnecessary idea that actually tastes really good.
One thing I can’t stand about products these days, is many of them seem to be geared toward making life almost too easy.  Thanks to technological “advances” like smartphones, you can literally control the lights in your house, turn on the television, order a pizza, watch movies, etc., all without leaving the couch.  And then we wonder why everyone’s getting fatter, but that’s an entirely different story altogether.

Speaking of getting fatter, this trend seems to be spreading to our foods.  Case in point, Mama Cozzi’s Pepperoni Dippin’ Strips (the cheese is pictured above, but they're really both interchangeable).  Now why is such a product necessary?  Probably because it takes too much effort for the average American family to pick up a pizza cutter, and manually slice the pizza into semi-even slices, or at least that’s the thought process from some corporate bigwig.  But that’s an entirely different story altogether.

Anyway, you just toss these in the oven for about twenty minutes, pull them out, and the pieces pull apart.  It’s really that simple.  And for all my bleak rambling about how computers are taking over the world (they are), I have to say that this is a really delicious pizza, at least for what it is.  While there’s not a  lot of pizza sauce on each slice, the box also comes with two dipping sauces:  A delicious, sweet marinara, and a Papa John’s-style butter garlic, so you can fill in the blanks with your favorite sauce.  Both are absolutely fantastic, go great with the strips, and unless you like more sauce than actual pizza in each bite, there should be plenty of sauce to go around for the whole thing.

The crust gets crispy around the edges, but the middle part is almost alarmingly soft.  I don’t know that I would call it “doughy”, because it clearly gets cooked, but it’s fluffy and light and doesn’t feel like there’s much substance there.  It didn’t really bother me, but it almost feels like you’re eating cheesesticks more than an actual pizza.  That being said, there’s a lot of pizza here, and it should comfortably feed a family of three with little problem.

My only complaint is that $5, at least to me, seems like a slightly excessive price for this, especially with Mama Cozzi’s take and bake pizzas dropping down to the same price range.  This is just pepperoni and cheese on a crust…aside from the enclosed dipping sauces (which can’t cost more than pennies per box to produce), there’s nothing different from any other frozen pizza on their shelves.  It might be a tad bigger, but not substantially enough to justify the price hike.  If the price would come down even just a dollar, I feel like it would be more in line with similar products.  That’s just a minor gripe, because these things are way better than they should be, but I think it’s still a valid concern.

Overall: 8/10.  I didn’t know that pizza slices were so large and cumbersome that we had to replace them with strips, but these are actually pretty darn good.  The inner crust is very soft, while the edges bake up nice and crispy, which is kind of an odd combination, but it works.  There isn’t a lot of pizza sauce on each strip, but that can be changed by dipping them into one of the two included dipping sauces, which consist of marinara, and butter garlic.  Both are very delicious, with the marinara treading lightly into “sweet” territory, while the butter garlic tastes like a standard butter garlic, which is perfectly fine for me.  The only downside is the $5 price tag, which does seem a little high for what you get.  Still, if you like pizza, this is worth a shot…it really is surprisingly delicious.

NOTE: I was going to write up separate reviews for the cheese & pepperoni versions, but they're so similar (same included dipping sauces, same texture, etc.), it's not worth taking the time.  Both versions are really interchangeable, so if you prefer cheese pizzas, or just don't like pepperoni, you can't go wrong picking that one up instead.

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