Saturday, June 24, 2017

Specially Selected Spinach Ricotta Bistro Style Frozen Flatbread (Aldi)

Not very good.
Here we have another Specially Selected flatbread, which is available as an occasional Special Buy from Aldi stores across the States.

Pulling this out of the box, it looked pretty much like any other number of similar offerings that Aldi has had over the years…there’s lots of green, lots of cheese, and some mushrooms for good measure. So pardon us that my wife and I weren’t all that excited to give it a shot once we opened it up. But then I re-read the box, and remembered that this doesn’t feature a pizza sauce, or a pesto, or any other sauce “typically” found in supermarket pizzas…it features a “sweet onion” sauce. That was actually enough to perk me up, because I’ve never heard of such a sauce on a pizza before. Also illuminating: there are bits of ricotta cheese randomly placed throughout. It now had my attention.

Well let me just say that the sauce puts the “sweet” in sweet onion, and then some…to my astonishment, it went completely overboard. In fact, it’s so sweet, and with the onions by nature, so strong, that it pretty much pummels all the other flavors into oblivion. In case that doesn’t quite spell it out for you, it borders on “sickeningly sweet”, and anyone whose read this blog with even occasional frequency should know by now that my palate clearly favors sweet. The ricotta does add a nice bit of creaminess to the texture, with some of that flavor peeking through at the end, but the frozen mushrooms (which are pretty small) do nothing to add to the flavor. I couldn’t even really taste the spinach or the Ementaler cheese.

I have to say this is pretty much a failure, and we will not be trying it again. It’s at their standard price point for frozen pizzas (and flatbreads), which is $3.99...since it’s pretty much the same as every other kind, it doesn’t earn any extra points for value, nor does it really give anyone incentive to give it a try. There are enough solid options from their constant inventory (such as their spinach and goat cheese pizza) that you should never have to resort to getting this.

Overall: 4/10. On paper, it sounds pretty good: spinach, Emmentaler cheese, mushrooms, and dabs of ricotta (well, not crazy about mushrooms, but the rest sound good). But where it goes wrong (and, ironically, what intrigued me the most about the pizza before actually trying it) is the sweet onion sauce…it’s simply too sweet. Like, ridiculously so, to the point that it pretty much ends up sabotaging the rest of the flavors, overpowering them into submission. The ricotta does give it a nice creamy texture, at least in the bites that it’s present in, and you can generally taste it in the back of the taste buds (once the taste of the onion sauce dissipates a bit), but as for the mushrooms and spinach and cheese…not so much. At $3.99 per box, the price is in line with almost every other frozen flatbread/pizza that Aldi offers, so there’s really no argument that it’s going to save you any kind of money. We will not be picking this up again.

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