8 TOP PIZZAS TESTED
Slice of the action
IN Ireland we each eat over 3.5 kilos of pizza per year, with under 50% of us eating one a week. But what should we expect from this Italian treat? Pizza margherita should be uncomplicated and is easy to make. Use flour, yeast, salt and water for the base. Allow to sit for an hour to prove, then spread out and top with tomato sauce and basil. Tear up mozzarella cheese, and grate some Regato Italian cheese for extra flavour.
While a tasty snack food, pizza delivers a low enough 10% of protein which explains how we can be hungry an hour after eating one. Eating a larger one won’t help, and with 10% fat content, we certainly don’t need to eat a whole one. A salad or hot winter vegetables are needed for a balanced meal.
Make an easy tomato sauce from a can of tomatoes with onions, garlic and herbs, adding a squeeze of tomato paste or a liquidised sun-dried tomato for depth of flavour. Or short circuit the process and use a readymade tomato sauce. Add mozzarella to finish. Put all toppings on just before going into the oven to avoid soggy bottoms.
Instructions on packs need to be followed closely, especially in placing pizzas on oven racks, not trays, to ensure crisp bottoms. Use a hot oven set at the highest temperature given. We found lower fan oven temperatures were too low.
Marks & Spencer Wood Fired pizza mozzarella di bufala margherita 425g €8.50
Bubbles of mozzarella, whole sweet cherry tomatoes make the texture interesting on this oblong pizza. A base taste of garlic and tomato with some Italian Regato cheese provides lusciousness. The crust was crisp, with a slight chew from wholemeal flour. Tasters approved.
Milano Classic Margherita 249g €2.84
The rim of this quite small pizza crisped up better than the base and was tasty. The topping was short on tomato flavour and the cheese lacked flavour too, but was genuine mozzarella and nicely creamy. A pleasant pizza.
SuperValu Free From margherita pizza 350g €3.99
This gluten-free has a light base made with tapioca starch, rice flour, maize starch, psyllium husk powder. The outside of the base crisped up nicely, but just under the filling was quite damp. The topping had a good, natural tomato flavour from roasted tomatoes, but the basil and oregano listed were barely discernible. The light topping was real mozzarella, not full of flavour, but the texture was genuinely creamy.
Dunnes Thin & Crispy stone baked pizza 328g €2
Slices of cherry tomatoes top a mix of 20% mozzarella cheese with 2% each of Monterey Jack, Cheddar and 1% Edam cheeses with cheese powder. Though not in keeping with the Italian tradition, the mix of cheeses provide a melting texture. A flavoursome pizza which has a light, crisp base. The higher score was given in a blind tasting when no-one knew what cheese they had. But it’s not a margherita as we know it.
Aldi Italian Cuisine stone baked margherita pizza 290g €1.69
Cheddar added to mozzarella and regato cheese, as well as added cornflour takes away from the genuine texture of this pizza topping, but the tomato base was rich and tasty. The base, like a few other samples, has rapeseed oil which is not traditional either, and the pizza needed longer to cook than specified on the pack. Score: 6.75
Goodfellas Stonebaked thin margherita 345g €3
With just enough tomato for our six-year-old taster, but not quite enough for adults. It was topped with extra mature cheddar which is not traditional, even with 20% mozzarella. Potato and maize starches were used to thicken and diminished what should be a natural pulpy sauce texture. The garlic purée listed was not discernible. Pleasant, but not margherita as the Italians know it. Made in Ireland.
Tesco stone baked Italian Kitchen pizza margherita 286g €3.50
This fresh pizza has 20% mozzarella with 8% regato, a medium hard fat tasty cheese which gives a genuine Italian flavour. Under the cheese, the sauce of tomato and herb was low in flavour, but the bread taste from the addition of sourdough culture (the only brand we found to use it) makes a huge difference to the overall experience. A good all rounder liked by tasters.
Lidl Just Free margherita pizza 350g €2.99
This gluten-free pizza has a base made from has tapioca starch, rice and buckwheat flours, corn starch, psyillium husk powder instead of wheat. Tasters didn’t like the strong dried herb flavour, but appreciated the slightly sweet tomato taste of the sauce. The mozzarella cheese had a genuinely creamy feel. The fan oven temperature given on the pack was not hot enough, but when we turned it up, it improved. Produced in Northern Ireland.