Mama Cozzi's Hand-Made Pepperoni Stromboli (Aldi)

A box of Mama Cozzi's Pepperoni Stromboli, from Aldi
Oooh, a stromboli! What could go wrong?

I’ve reviewed far too many Mama Cozzi’s products, but that’s for good reason: they rarely let me down. Sure, there have been a few products I haven’t been crazy about, but for the most part she knows how to serve up some pretty tasty pizzas and pizza accessories. 

So then when I saw that Aldi was offering stromboli under the Mama Cozzi’s name, I knew I was in. 

I had a feeling these were knockoffs of the Screamin’ Italian (paraphrased) brand, because they’ve carried the actual brand before; that further cemented the idea in my head that these were going to be good. Obviously, not great - we are still dealing with frozen food here - but something that would be more than passable for a quick dinner on the go.

Prepwork is easy, as expected: simply vent the plastic packaging the stromboli is in, pop it in the microwave for two-and-a-half minutes, and voila! You have yourself a finished stromboli! And that stromboli looks a little…dead. It’s pale white, and not nearly as appetizing as I was expecting from the brand. It looks more like a breadstick than it does a stromboli…this was the first time I had to pause for thought.

A sickly-looking Mama Cozzi's Pepperoni Stromboli, on a plate
This thing smells like a car tire.

Then, an odd smell wafted my way. At first I thought it was from some external source - like our cat had taken a dump, or our son got into something he shouldn’t - but it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was seeping out of this thing. It smells like a car tire. Seriously. Like straight-up rubber. (My wife offers a second opinion, opining that it smelled like “old meat.”) By this point, my stomach had completely dropped, and I was no longer looking forward to trying it anymore. In fact, my hunger had magically subsided considerably.

Still, against my body’s natural reflexes telling me to run far away, I forced myself to take a bite. It’s awful. Godawful. The first bite or two is just bread - cherish these moments, because while the bread is bland and tastes a little weird, it’s by far the best part of the whole “experience”. I was expecting some stringy cheese in the middle, with some tasty toppings…and instead I was treated to a jumbled mess of what appears to be pepperoni inside a glob of hardened cheese. It’s gross, with none of the flavors you would expect out of either pepperoni, or cheese. I would be tempted to believe this was a factory-related error were it not for the fact I got two of them, and both of them turned out the exact same way. This certainly isn’t what I signed up for, and especially not for $2.99 per stromboli. 

The inner contents of a Mama Cozzi's Pepperoni Stromboli, from Aldi
WTFH is this?!

This is easily one of the worst Mama Cozzi’s products I’ve ever had - it just might be one of the worst Aldi products I’ve had, period. I managed to finish most of the first one, but two weeks later, couldn’t even force myself to down the second one. I dipped it in tomato soup (all that we had), which made it slightly better, but once the soup ran out, I had nothing else to turn to; the rest ended up going in the trash.

Overall: 0/10. Does this really deserve a “zero”? I’m asking myself the same question, because that’s not a score I take lightly, or hand out often at all. That is reserved for products that have no redeeming value whatsoever. Unfortunately, that description is all too apt from this mess from the usually-reliable Mama Cozzi’s line. The filling is a slab of pepperoni and hardened cheese, it smells like a car tire, and it even just looks sickly once it’s cooked in the microwave. Even beyond that, Aldi wants $2.99(per single package stromboli) for this junk. Considering you can get their much better calzones for a dollar cheaper, it makes this deal even worse. It’s easily one of the worst things I’ve ever had inside an Aldi store, and judging from the way my stomach twinges at the mere thought of taking another bite - even 24 hours after attempting to force it down - I’d say it’s a score that’s well-deserved. 


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