The Frozen Pizza Chronicles Vol. 3: Big Grocery Gets in on the Game

Can PC Black Label swoop in and undercut our local heroes?

If you’re a regular reader of you may remember my ongoing obsession with the relatively new trend of authentic Italian pizzas being offered in frozen format. Here in Vancouver it was Nightingale, which not only started the trend but emerged triumphant in our first head-to-head taste test, (although the pizza from Nicli, available at was a close 2nd). And all was well in the world—sure the price crept up from $15 to closer to $19 at some spots, but hey, inflation.

Then, a few months back, I got a tip, that Nook in Kits was selling their own frozen pizza and after taking it for a spin, damned if it didn’t wrest the gold from Nightingale. It truly is the greatest frozen pizza my small mind can even fathom. But, it’s $20 (plus tax, plus tip) and while I appreciate no one at Nook is getting rich off these pies,  you’re looking at $50 to feed a family of four before you even get to the salad or sides. It’s steep. Great, but steep.

So when I was looking through the flyer for my local Loblaws City Market, you can imagine my surprise when I spied a one-page ad for frozen pizza “Hand Tossed in Italy”. My first thought was “Wow that packaging looks exactly like Nightingales.”

My second was “Why would someone go to the trouble of having an Italian hand-toss pizza, when we have so many capable people here?”

But my third? $7.99. Holy hell that’s cheap.

Separated at birth?

So I bought one of every kind on offer: Diavola, Margherita and Funghi and marched home to cook them up and eat while watching the World Cup on PVR (“which one would go best with diving Spaniards,” I wondered).  And here are my findings.

  1. The package looks so much like the Nightingale one that there’s got to be some sort of licensing thing going on;
  2. The cook time suggested—14-16 minutes at 425F— is too long. The bottom of my Margherita in particular got charred and hard. I wonder if doing the Nightingale method — 500F for shorter might be the trick;
  3. The crust, double fermented, is good. It’s light years ahead of a normal frozen pizza. It is, however, not in the league of the three Ns: Nightingale, Nook and Nicli. It just doesn’t have that chewiness, that give, that the other three do;
  4. The toppings are likewise both way better than normal frozen pizza and still not quite at 3 N level. The Ventricina salami on the Diavola is quite good, but the mushrooms on the Funghi are a bit watery and lack the depth of flavour the Nightingale ones have;
  5. Diavola is best; then Margherita, then Funghi.
  6. And they’re still an absolute smoking deal.

I’m 100% going to keep buying these going forward. I know many people hate on big grocery right now and none are bigger than Loblaws, but these pizzas are simply too compelling at this price point. (And before you freak out and claim we’ve been bought—I bought these myself with my own $$$ and as far as I know Loblaws isn’t even an advertiser. I also bought some of the new Chicken Adobo chips, which are fricking fantastic). No they’re not Nook, but once you add the tip I feel obliged to add at Nook, and then tax,  they’re legitimately 1/3 the price. It’s just too great a divide to ignore. I’ll still buy Nightingale and Nook too—they really are the pinnacle of frozen pizza—but these cheapies are also going to become part of the rotation.

I’ll still buy my produce at Persia Foods, though.