Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cuban Pizza - Aldi: Cherry Hill, NJ

Cuban Pizza - Aldi: Cherry Hill, NJ
I mentioned this in my veggie pizza review, but a Cuban pizza was advertized in this week's Aldi circular, and I was really excited for it. Back when I was working at Panera Bread, we replaced the Chicken Bacon Dijon panini (which I loved and made my own recipe for here) with a Cuban one. While it was far from authentic Cuban cuisine, I loved the sandwich. Since then, I've had Cuban themed sandwiches from a few restaurants, but every single one I have tried has been from an American company/franchise, and this pizza was made in Germany! While I doubt I've ever had a true Cuban experience, I am fond of the versions I've had so far, and I'm excited to try it in pizza form.

This time, the pizza box has quite a lot going on. It features a rough and distressed version of the Cuban flag, which adds a lot of visual interest, but those text choices! Why? Nothing about that typeface says "Cuban" to me, and the one on the front looks like there's a stroke added around it. The blue text stands out enough as-is! It doesn't need a stroke! Bad font choices aside, this isn't too bad, and the pizza photo looks really appetizing. There weren't many of these left in the store, so I'd say the packaging does a good job of marketing the product to the average American consumer.

Look at all those toppings in the photo! The box says this pizza contains: crème fraîche (just like the Gyro pizza), mustard, mozzarella and Emmental cheeses, Canadian and traditional bacon, and green banana peppers. That sounds great to me! I opened up the box, and sadly my toppings didn't look as bountiful as the ones on the package. Aldi pizzas are usually pretty good with their topping distribution, and their pizzas usually look very similar to the ones on the box, so that was a bit of a let down.

Still, pizza is pizza, so I tossed it into the preheated oven to bake.

When it was finished, the smell reminded me of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. The meaty and cheesy aroma was appealing, especially since it's been so cold here in Jersey, but it didn't smell as seasoned as the Cuban sandwiches I have had in the past. (Which are usually quite heavy handed with the mustard.)

I took a bite, and I was underwhelmed. The pizza had a rich and creamy flavor, from all the cheeses and the crème sauce, and the meats added some salty and smokey flavoring, but where's the mustard? After a few more bites I could taste a mild hint of mustard in the sauce, I think it was mixed in with the crème fraîche, but it was easily overwhelmed by the cheeses and meats. I picked off one of the peppers to try it on it's own, and even the peppers tasted especially weak. Normally banana peppers have a tangy bite to them, but these marinated ones were especially mild, although they did add a bit of texture and variation to the pizza.

Aldi really let me down with this one. Also, aren't pickles usually on Cuban sandwiches? Or is that just something that the American companies I've order from add on? Either way, if the peppers and mustard were more prominent, this would have been a very successful Cuban pizza. As is, this tastes more like a ham and cheese sandwich turned into a flat-bread. If it was marketed as such, it would have tasted amazing, but since this is meant to be a Cuban, I feel like this was a flop. (Still I'm happy I bought it and tried it.)
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  1. Not sure what's worse - bad fonts or the actual Cuban-sandwich-pizza

  2. Tried this last night (almost two years after your review), and it was a great hit. They had me when I saw that it was an Italian pizza with Cuban inspired toppings, French sauce, Swiss cheese, and manufactured in Germany. LOL. As of half an hour ago, there are now TEN of these pizzas neatly stacked in the big garage freezer, which is mostly dedicated to stockpiling fleeting ALDI products.

  3. Four years later and they're back in stock at ALDI. Got four more. Let's see if I still like them.....

  4. Two more years and I miss my Cuban pizza from ALDI. I haven't seen it stocked since 2020. Guess it's time to try making my own.