Mama Cozzi's Four Cheese Take and Bake Calzone (Aldi)

An empty container of Mama Cozzi's Four Cheese Take and Bake Calzone, from Aldi
If you can get past the bland bread, these things are delicious.

About a year ago, when these were relegated to special buy status, I tried the pepperoni version, and liked it a lot. Now that these seem to be part of their permanent stock, it's given me enough time to get intimately acquainted with the other available option: four cheese.

We'll cut straight to the chase here: these are very nearly just as good as their meated counterparts. The cheese here is in overabundance, with the potential for stringiness, especially when they are hot right out of the oven (or, as in my case, microwave). The four cheese blend (which actually seems to consist of five, according to the packaging: provolone, mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, and romano) gives a nice blast of cheesy flavor that really carries the whole package.

There is the same weak link as the pepperoni variety, and that’s the bread: don’t let the seasoning fool you: it’s dry and boring as shit. It’s the same (or pretty darn close) to the bread they use in their strombolis, but whereas strombolis have sauce to help offset the blandness of the bread, the lack of sauce here makes it all-too-obvious. Since the cheese flavor is really good (and in abundance), it might be a good idea to have some sauce on hand to dip these in, unless you’re eating something else with it.

That’s a shame, because these have become one of my go-to meals for nights when I’m on my own, or even as a quick option for work lunches when I don't have the time to pack something proper. Our child has also taken a liking to these, which is odd considering he’s pretty darn picky about what he eats; that’s just another reason to have at least one of these on hand at any given time. And thanks to the $1.99 price tag and 2 minute prep time (cook for one minute, then let sit for another), getting them is both affordable, and convenient.

Overall: 7.5/10. I initially thought this one might be better than the pepperoni, but the further in I got, the more its weakness becomes apparent: despite the appearance of seasoning, the bread is boring and bland as hell, taking what could be a virtually flawless store-bought calzone down a couple pegs. However, add in the quick prep time and $1.99 price tag and it's still a great combination of value and convenience. Add some sauce to dip these in, and that takes the flavor up yet another notch. A great buy no matter how you look at it, but one that could be even better with a better exterior.