Specially Selected Stone Baked Mushroom, Mascarpone and Authentic Italian Cheese Pizza (Aldi)

Packaging for Specially Selected Stone Baked Mushroom, Mascarpone, and Authentic Italian Cheese Pizza
Mushrooms aside, this "imported" pizza has a unique flavor all its own.

I'm not even going to try to remember what lead me to even consider this pizza. Actually, I guess I will: my wife loves mascarpone, but hates mushrooms. I don't really care for either of those things all that much, but I guess I just figured my wife might be interested in taking off the mushrooms and eating the rest. She wasn't, but if she was, the mushrooms are large, and don't take up a whole lot of surface space—they'd be real easy to pick off, especially before baking.

The texture is actually a big plus. Well, not so much the mushrooms (which we'll get into more in the next paragraph), but the rest of the pizza features an enticing interplay between the soft, crispy crust; the hardened Italian cheese on top; and the rich, creamy “sauce” that must just be mascarpone. I'd compare the texture to a breakfast pizza, as the sauce is—at the risk of making it sound disgusting—more the texture of a gravy than a typical pizza sauce. Kind of like a crème fraiche, though not quite as rich.

As for the taste itself, it's...interesting. Yep, that's the perfect word for it. Actually, the mushrooms are absolutely gross, and don't belong anywhere near the pizza. While I wouldn't at all consider myself a fan of the earthy fungus, I'd say that I actually have a stronger tolerance for them than my wife, who generally avoids them like the plague. As for me, I tend to avoid them, but if something appeals to me that has mushrooms in them, and it's done well, I don't have a problem eating them. (I'll bore you with a quick story: The best mushroom anything I had was at a restaurant, now sadly closed, in Athens, OH a few years back for our anniversary dinner. It was a creamy mushroom soup that was so irresistably good, I even downed the huge chunks of mushroom that had settled to the bottom of the cup. My wife, on the other hand, still wasn't all that impressed with the dish (but loved the rest of the meal overall).) Here, they don't provide much else other than a slimy texture and the added taste of feet. Seriously, I can't even see mushroom fans appreciating this mixture...it's like they had a leftover vat of the unpopular vegetable, and just chucked it on a random cheese pizza. The flavors clash and don't really flow together at all.

The “rest of the pizza”, however (as apparently the pizza must be judged on two separate sets of criteria), offers up a pretty unique flavor that I would probably get again. Not really anytime soon, mind you, but again. The flavors are all pretty “neutral”, and don't veer off into any flavorable realms of distinction, yet between the texture and the tastes that are there, it creates an intriguing experience that you won't get with any “standard” pepperoni pizza. There are always pizzas that say they're imported, or that look like they're trying to be different, but end up tasting like something created for American palates; the “imported” verbiage is usually merely used as a way to jack up the price, and give the item a sense of heightened, exclusive quality. This one, however, I believe actually was “imported from Italy”, because it has the taste of a completely different culture.

I may not have enjoyed it 100%, but I definitely respect it.

Overall: 6/10. This is a weird pizza that I wouldn't quite say I “enjoyed”, but that is probably one of the Aldi's more memorable pizza offerings. The mushrooms are completely miscast for the role here, providing nothing but their trademark slimy texture, and the taste of feet; the tastes don't “flow” together in any way. No thanks. However, the rest of the pizza makes up for that by offering a unique flavor that doesn't go off into any extreme territory, but it just tastes...different. Even without the mushrooms, which seem to be tossed on as an afterthought. It claims it's “imported from Italy”, a claim I almost always ignore these days, but this one actually tastes like a different culture; it might be a bogus claim like many others seem to be, but it's certainly unlike anything else on the frozen pizza shelf. Just make sure you pick off the mushrooms first.