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Sunday 24 October 2010

Iceland Italian Stonebaked Mediterranean Vegetable Pizza

This appears to be a fairly new product, considering I'll often pop into my local Iceland to restock on the simple, freezer-friendly stuff. It looks interesting enough and, for a mere £1.50, I could probably even forgive the usual Iceland trick of using too much tomato purée and not enough cheese... However, this one seems quite well-balanced, and certainly has no shortage of toppings, in the form of peppers (yellow and red), spinach, courgette and red onion. Furthermore, it lays claim not just to the presence of Mozzarella, but of "cheese sauce", whatever that may be.

The blurb on the back describes it thusly:
A real Italian pizza made in Meduno, a small village near Venice in Northern Italy. The dough for this pizza is prepared and left to rest for 6 hours before it is baked traditionally in a stone oven producing a delicious thin and crispy base.

And here, in many ways, is the problem with ready-made pizza: the base is pre-baked. When you go to a restaurant the serves pizza - even the place we have at work - they start with the dough, add the toppings, and slap the thing in the oven in its properly raw state, there to cook for 10-15 minutes. This produces a pizza base that's far fresher - crispy, yet still almost moist inside - than ready-made, pre-baked pizzas can deliver.

But, y'know what? This has to have been one of the best ready-made vegetable pizzas I've had in a long while. All of the toppings survived being frozen with all their flavour both intact and distinct (with the possible exception of the red onion, some of which seemed a little bland). My worry with vegetable toppings on frozen products, particularly low-budget ones, is that they'll just go soft and tasteless in the oven, so top marks to Iceland for this pizza.

Once cooked, the cheese-to-tomato purée ratio did start to look a bit more like Iceland's usual but, in terms of flavour, the whole thing was just right. I do wonder if they'd be better off freezing it with the base raw... but then, since most UK ovens come with wire racks, rather than solid flat surfaces like a proper pizza oven, that probably wouldn't work out so well.

Having eaten it, though, and read the ingredients list, I'm still none the wiser as to what the "cheese sauce" was.


  1. The new stone baked range at Iceland is excellent. I am slowly working my way through all of the new flavours.

    And yes for just £1.50 it is a tasty oven treat!

  2. I agree, I totally stumbled upon the stonebaked pizzas. No one believes me that they are the best (well, my favourite) frozen pizzas. I just had the sweet chili chicken tonight. Very good, though I usually go for the Speciale.