Trader Joe’s Ancient Grain Pizza with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes. I have back to back Pizza reviews this week. First up is the newly released Ancient Grain Pizza with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes. This is a vegetarian pizza, but not vegan. (I really don’t know how vegans can live without cheese!) It’s another one of those pizzas from Italy which always seem to be a cut above the Red Barons and DiGiorno pizzas. I was a little skeptical of the claim of Ancient grains because they are clearly trying to go after the anti-wheat crowd too at the same time. I suspect that Pizza is one of the best sellers at Trader Joe’s and they are always looking at ways to up their game and bring you something new and different.
Trader Joe’s clearly knows their demographics here. The anti-wheat crowd and vegetarian and a pizza now less! So what make’s the grains so ancient? BTW, “Ancient Grains” is a made up term for grains that supposedly haven’t change in thousands of years. In reality, people have been farming them just as long as wheat, or they wouldn’t still be around, now would they? But, they have not been bred and manipulated as much as wheat and are closer to the original wild grains that nomads ate thousands of years ago. But, Trader Joe’s drops the ball in a big way here. If you were looking for a pizza made exclusively of Ancient Grains you would be sorely mistaken! The first ingredient for the crust is WHEAT FLOUR! Followed by Einkorn Wheat, Emmer Wheat and Spelt, all ancient forms of wheat. Then Wheat Gluten! Then Whole Wheat Flour. Not sure what the point of adding the Ancient Grains were except a marketing ploy by Trader Joe’s. I’m thinking that they don’t expect most people to flip the box over and look at the ingredients all that closely.
Well, the proof is in the pudding, as they say. How did it really taste? I have to say if you just served me the pizza and didn’t tell me any of that BS about Ancient Grains I would tell you that I really liked this pizza! I loved the nuttiness of the crust. It was a little thicker than most of the crusts you get from the frozen pizza section in Trader Joe’s and it had a nice rich, earthy aroma when it was baking in the oven. Trader Joe’s had a odd blend of cheese, Provolone is well know, but Maasdam and ReibeKase? Whatever, but they really work together nicely and there was plenty of cheese, which isn’t always the case. I really liked the asparagus and the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes and the pizza sauce was quite tasty too! The crust was very much like a really good Whole Wheat crust and got nice and crispy on the outside and was chewy on the inside. It was enough for me. It was too small for me and my wife to share.
Let’s break this down two ways… First, if I didn’t know about the Ancient Grains angle, I would really like this pizza. I would give it a solid 8 Bells! I feel a little like Trader Joe’s duped me by calling this “Ancient Grains” because in all honesty, I think the ratio of ancient grains to wheat is pretty low. I make pizza from scratch, and there is a reason it’s made with wheat and that’s because wheat works for pizza and other grains just don’t have the elasticity. That’s what gluten gets you… Anyway, I thought blindfolded that this pizza was an 8 Bells and that’s what I’m giving it!