Food and Nutrition

Found: Frozen Pizza So Dang Good, You’ll Swear You’re Eating a Fresh Pie Al Fresco in Italy

Photo: Stocksy /D3sign
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The best pizza I've ever eaten was, unsurprisingly, in Rome. I was on a family trip when I was 13, and 15 years later, can still distinctly remember how perfectly cheesy and delicious that simple Margherita pie was.

But the second best pizza I've ever eaten was, very surprisingly, frozen—although I swear you'd never know it. As an Italian-American woman from New Jersey, you better believe my pizza standards are very high (as are my bagel expectations.) But Talia di Napoli frozen pizza tastes so unbelievably good, you'd think you were dining al fresco in a little Italian alleyway with each and every slice.

Now, before you roll your eyes at a seemingly overblown pizza review, I'm really not exaggerating—I taste test a lot of food, and these are not your average frozen pizza pies. They taste like the real thing because they are the real things, handmade by actual "pizzaiolo," aka pizza chefs, in Naples, Italy, where they're flash frozen hot, vacuum sealed, and sent to your door.

Talia di Napoli, The Speciale (Pack of 8) — $124.00

Consider this a little taste of Italy shipped straight to your door. Each pack includes two Margherita, two Provolina, two Tartufina, and two Four Cheese pies, coming out to $15.50 each.

"We have no more than 90 seconds to get the pizza from the oven to the cryogenic freezer," explains Edouard Freda, the company's co-founder and CEO. "This is what preserves the pizza and all its flavors... it comes out to be what we consider restaurant quality."

Like other innovative startups, Talia di Napoli was born in a garage. Freda's uncle, who had worked in the food business for many years, was determined to figure out how to make, package, and deliver a frozen pizza that was *actually* good (not saying standard frozen pizza is bad, but...there's a time and place). After countless iterations (and many, many raised eyebrows from his Neopolitan neighbors...) the team landed on a patented cryogenic freezing method where the pizzas are flash frozen ("put to sleep" ) as soon as they come out of the oven. This ensures their flavors and textures are preserved on the spot, so that when they're "woken up," they're just as good as they were when they were first baked.

"The way to be totally authentic to the tradition [of Neopolitan pizza] is to not only have the technology, but to follow a rulebook," Fred says. "We decided in order to make a frozen pizza, we're not going to go the industrial frozen route. Aside from the cryogenic chamber, everything is made entirely by hand."

There are no dough kneaders or mixers or pizza dough-throwing robots in the Talia di Napoli kitchen. Instead, there are around 25 chefs that throw the dough, add toppings, and pop them into the wood-fired stove. Freda says the "rulebook" the brand abides by is a real thing developed by chefs in the 17th century that outlines the exact acceptable ingredients, and steps it takes to make an authentic, Neopolitan pizza. This means everything is sourced locally and sustainably, without any GMOs, preservatives, or any other funky additives.

This is also means they're outstandingly delicious. While they don't top the Roman pie I ate 15 years ago, they come pretty damn close, transporting me back to sun-drenched Italian streets with every bite. All you have to do is unwrap them, pop them in your pre-heated oven, and bake for the recommended time (usually somewhere in the 9-12 minute range.) You will not be disappointed, promise. If you're entertaining guests and want to impress them with pizza straight from Italy? They'd never know these were flash-frozen.

When the sun hits your eye like a big pizza pie? That's amore. When that pizza pie is a Talia di Napoli pizza? It's even more amore. Explore the flavors below, and stock your freeze with a taste of Italy.

Margherita (Pack of 8) — $116.00

The pizza that started it all is the Margherita pizza, aka, the most popular pizza in the world. Turns out, it was created to honor Queen Margherita and was designed to resemble the Italian flag: red sauce, white cheese, green basil.

Talia di Napoli’s Margherita pies stick to the original recipe, made with fresh pomodoro sauce, creamy mozzarella and parmesan, and crisp basil. Also available in a gluten free version and packs of six.

Provolina (Pack of 8) — $99.00

For fans of the smokier flavors, this ones for you. It’s baked with a tasty provola cheese that’s a bit bolder than normal mozzarella. Layer on the fresh chopped cherry tomatoes and sprigs of basil, and *chef’s kiss*. Also available in packs of 6.

Artichoke (Pack of 8) — $128.00

Freda says the pizzaiolo are constantly developing new recipes (that fall within the rulebook, of course.) This artichoke pizza the brand’s newest limited-edition flavor, and it is delicious. It swaps out the red sauce for a creamy white base and topped with hearty artichokes. Personally, it’s my favorite one of them all. Also available in packs of 6.

Rossa (Pack of 8) — $92.00

No cheese? No problem. The Rossa is the brand’s tomato pie, topped with the same, zesty pomodoro sauce as the others, only with a lighter crust and no cheese. It’s a great alternative for those who are lactose-free (or who want to experiment with their own toppings at home.) Also available in packs of 6.

Tartufina (Pack of 8) — $135.00

Or if sauce isn’t your thing, try the Tartufina, which nixes the pomodoro for a white pizza topped with porcini mushrooms. Its rich, earthy flavors are elevated with a grated black truffle mix to make your tastebuds say, “grazie.” Also available in packs of 6.

talia di napoli pizza
Mozzarella (Pack of 8) — $116.00

This tasty pie is layered with Italy’s “white gold,” that creamy, melt-in-your-mouth mozzarella. Per the website, it’s designed to be your “canvas,” dressed up with whatever your heart desires. Also available in packs of 6.

Four Cheese (Pack of 8) — $130.00

You’ve never met a frozen four cheese pizza like this, I promise. It’s loaded with that cheesy goodness, including an iconic parmesan/mozzarella blend, gorgonzola, and delicious Swiss emmental cheese. Yum. Also available in packs of 6.

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