I’ve known about Palermo’s for a number of years, but my knowledge of them was limited to their contract / private label business. They make a lot of other brands retail frozen and deli pizzas. An offshoot of a family-owned restaurant in Milwaukee, started in the 60s, Palermo’s has grown to be one of the top frozen pizza manufacturers nationwide, selling under their own band name, with lines including “Primo Thin”, “Rustica” ( a thick crust) “Hearth Italia,” (marble-hearth fired) and “Classics,” in both traditional thin and rising crusts. They also make a frozen breakfast pizza (cheddar sauce, scrambled egg, bacon and Italian sausage).
I’ve had a hard time finding them, and wasn’t inclined to spend $50 for overnight shipping (you can order from their website here).
You can tour the factory if you are planning to be in Milwaukee. I might just have to add that to my text burger/dog/pizza tour!
So anyway, I am out today, stop into my local Albertson’s for something else, and there in the freezer section is a variety of choices of Palermo’s. I would have liked to get their all-meat one, but that wasn’t in stock, so I picked up the Primo Thin Supreme, mozzarella, parmesan and romano cheeses, with sausage, pepperoni, peppers, onions and black olives – for $5.99, about the same average price I pay for California Pizza Kitchen Sicilian, my usual choice. (They are $8.49 online, plus hefty shipping). Before I forget, here’s a locator if you want to find them near you.
Notes on the box: “All Natural Crust.” “Do Not Eat Pizza w/o Cooking.” “Old World Family Recipe.” “USA Gold Taste Award – American Academy of Taste.”
“All Natural Crust” is defined on the box as “minimally processed. No artificial ingredients.” I am not sure about the upside of one component of a food item being “all natural”, but the other components contain dextrose, nitrites, flavorings, etc. Now I am not picky about these things myself, but I imagine “all natural” types would be. Or maybe not, no matter.
Instructions were straight-forward as usual, ( 450, center rack, 10-15 minutes)and here’s what the uncooked pie looks like straight from the box. More toppings than many brands, w/ the exception of the black olives are kind of skimpy (another caution on box: “Due to the nature of olives, this product may contain olive pits.”)
I absconded w/ one slice of pepperoni pre-baking, and it didn’t have a very robust flavor, and may have had a slight freezer burn taste. We’ll see how it cooks up. Into the oven!
After the first eight and a half minutes of the suggested cooking time, this puppy was done. It had taken on the characteristics stated on the box (browned edges, may be slightly curled, and melted cheese).
I let it rest a minute or two, cut it, and took my first bite. The 100% real cheese is evident. The sauce is present but not overwhelming or distinctive. The pepperoni has a nice flavor, and one wouldn’t know that peppers and onions were present save for their color poking thru the melted cheese.
The crust? Well, I’d still have to say CPK is better, to my standards for a thin crust. This one is crispy and chewy at the same time, if that makes any sense to you. It’s almost similiar to fresh matzoh.