Product Review: Spinach and Goat Cheese Pizza from Archer Farms

It’s tough for me to get fired up about frozen food – at least, you know, the kind that you don’t eat cold. Granted, I’ve had a decent Freschetta pizza in my day, and do have a strange and curious infatuation with frozen tater tots, but for the most part, I’ll skip out on the non ice-cream section of the freezer aisle. Sometimes though, even I can’t resist the thrifty and convenient choice of a frozen pizza, especially when it has box artwork as fancy as this:

Target was having a sale on their Archer Farms products a few weeks ago, and already being a converted fan of all Archer farms chips, crackers, and cookies (oh my!) I figured a jaunt into the frozen line of Target’s premium brand was in order. That the pizza claimed to boast “All Natural” ingredients while claiming to have been “Imported” from Italy seemed quite bold, and always ready to defrock extravagant claims, I picked one of these up for a cool $3.50 to have after work one night.

Frozen pizzas are never going to be as good as the real thing, but this was without a doubt in the upper echelon of all frozen pizzas, and probably even better than any attempt I could make on my own. Most thin-crust pizzas that come out of the thaw end up falling short, but I really enjoyed the crisp and firm exterior of the crust. While it does sag on the interior, the crust holds its own reasonably well, although the taste is bland and cracker like, lacking the distinct smoke flavor and char aroma that would come from the genuine article.

Make no mistake about it though; the goat cheese is the star. It stays intact through cooking, releasing little streams of surface fat and moisture while flavoring the mozzarella base and spinach. It has a wonderful complexity that survives the deep freeze better than Han Solo in carbonite, and a salty and slightly grassy tang that even non-cheese junkies will find appealing. The base cheese is applied in moderation, and is probably par for the course in flavor and stretchability.

The sauce is neither too sweet nor spicy, and has a reserved herb flavor. The fresh tomatoes, while providing a great visual, fall a bit short, having a slightly acidic component about them and an off bitterness. The spinach flavor is a bit plain, but the moisture released wasn’t overbearing.

At the end of the day a frozen pizza is never going to match the genuine article, but this is the first frozen pizza attempting to recreate a more “artisanal” product that I’ve found worthy. That I got it for $4.50 ($3.50 when you count a coupon, plus a free 2-liter Coke Zero) is basically a major bargain “hooah.” I’ll take that kind of pizza to delivery any night.

Pros: An artisan frozen pizza worth giving a try. Goat cheese has tangy flavor that beats whatever California Pizza Kitchen could stick on a frozen pizza. Crispy crust. Really cheap. All natural. No trans fat. Easy to make, even a recent college graduate could do it.

Cons: Crust lacks authentic wood fire flavor, tasting too much like a cracker and bringing cheese flavor down. Cherry tomatoes taste off. Spinach could use more seasoning.

Taste: 8.75/10
Value: 9.50/10
Price: 3.50 (on sale at Target, with $1 off coupon)

Overall GrubGrade: 9.00 (Exceptional)

Nutrition Facts:
Spinach and Goat Cheese Pizza (1/3 of pizza, or 157 g)
Calories: 370
Total Fat: 16g
Saturated Fat: 5g
Cholesterol: 10mg
Sodium: 760mg
Total Carbs: 38g
Fiber: 3g
Sugars: 8g
Protein: 18g