Review: Archer Farms Four Cheese Pizza

With magazine deadlines to meet and two birthdays in the family, I’ve been a busy girl this past week. So busy, I’ve been digging heavily into my supply of frozen pizzas for late-night, bleary-eyed noshing. But hey, who am I kidding — a cheese pizza is usually my meal of choice, anyway. I did mention that my husband and I served pizza (Little Caesars, to be exact) at our wedding, right? So yeah, we’re serious pizza eaters. Although we have our favorites, as I’ve mentioned, I’m always looking out for new kinds of frozen pizzas.

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archer-farms-four-cheese-pizza-old

Before the box got a makeover.

Maybe it’s because of the new box design, or maybe because I have a bad habit of shopping while hungry (the Target popcorn scent wafting through the building doesn’t help), but the Archer Farms Four Cheese pizza stood out to me on one of my recent trips. I think I’ve had it before, but the cheesy memories didn’t stay with me, so I figured it was worth another try.

Right out of the package, the pizza didn’t impress me. In fact, I muttered, “Yeeeah, I’m not going to like this,” and started thinking about the alternate meal I might prepare should this one taste of suckage. These pizzas are wood-fired, so are pre-cooked, and frozen, previously-melted cheese just isn’t particularly attractive. Below, the left photo is before cooking, and the right is after 10 minutes in a 425° oven. There’s barely a difference, except for some browning. I’ll give Archer Farms big kudos though, because the finished product DOES look pretty much like the picture on the box.

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The description on the box reads “… features a hand-stretched dough that is covered with a basil-infused tomato sauce and layered with four mouthwatering cheeses including creamy mozzarella and zesty Italian cheeses.” Hmm. I’ll give them the benefit of doubt on the dough, but I didn’t detect much basil in the sauce at all. Of course, there isn’t much sauce to speak of. And wait a second. Do they really essentially say, “cheeses including mozzarella and cheeses?” Target’s website lists the ingredients to include Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano. So what’s the fourth cheese? Why be vague in the first place, Archer Farms?

I’ll have to follow up on the cheese mystery later, because I soon as I took a bite, I exclaimed “Yummm, cheeeese!” Whatever combo of cheeses is there, it’s a tasty one. The crust, like most “wood-fired, hand-stretched” doughs I seem to come across, was fairly flavorless and cracker-like. I didn’t care much, though, because I just considered it a cheese delivery device. The outer edge of the crust, though kind of floury, was crunchy. And I like crunchy. As I mentioned, the minimal sauce seemed bland — fresh tomato flavor, but with little spice. So clearly, the cheese is the star of the show here, and that was more than fine by me.

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Despite my best efforts to hate this thing, and even though it has it’s shortcomings, I actually liked this pizza. I even ate it all (In two sittings. It reheats nicely, too!), which doesn’t often happen in my frozen pizza trials. If I don’t like a pizza, I’ll often shove the leftovers, still sitting on the box, into the fridge, and wait the requisite few days before it gets gross and I or my husband tosses it in the trash. Somehow this makes me feel better about wasting food, rather than just throwing it out at the get-go. Or… maybe I do this just so it leaves the option open to eat the leftovers, should I be hungry and desperate at 1:00 a.m.? *shrug* And, this brings up a whole other topic. Why doesn’t Tupperware or Rubbermaid make a plastic thing that can hold an entire pizza? I’ve been on the lookout for a Leftover Pizza Containment Device for years. If you find something like this, for the love of crust please contact me.

Would I Buy It Again? Yeah, I think I would! I was pleasantly surprised by this pizza. I don’t think it would crack my top five frozen pizzas, but as a different option once in a while, I see myself buying it again. By the way, at the same time I purchased the Four Cheese, I also picked up an Archer Farms Pepperoni pizza, so look for that review soon (Sans Pepperonis. Heck yeah, you know I take those suckers off!).

Heather

The little leading lady at The Plain Cheese. Read the About for more. My fav snacks are Doritos, Red Vines, Reese's, Sour Patch Kids, M&Ms, Jelly Beans, Popcorn, Oreos, Gummy Bears...

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11 Responses

  1. I am a picky eater with SED and I never eat pizza at all, but I have been wondering if I might be able to handle cheese pizza now, since I’ve made progress. I was so tempted to buy this very brand the other day and I did not. Of course now I want to go back to Target and get it and see if I can eat it. The basil-infused kinda scared me off, but if you say it’s not noticeable, then maybe I have a shot.

    • Heather says:

      I didn’t notice the basil much at all, but, that being said, I like basil! You might have a stronger reaction to it. I think the word “infused” is just marketing jargon. They probably mean “We put a little bit of basil in the sauce.” 😉

  2. T says:

    The cheese part tempts me, but the look of how thin and sauceless the pizza is turns me off. I doubt I’d try this, as I’ve never had anything that was Archer Farms that I liked. =( I do appreciate the review though!

  3. Elaine Farrar says:

    I will have to buy one of these pizzas the next time I go to Target. You made it sound quite good. I do have a tendency to add a little extra parmesan reggiano to frozen pizzas and that really helps a lot. I did it recently with a $.97 pizza from Food Lion and it was actually decent.

  4. Sarah says:

    There ARE containers to hold leftover pizza… the issue is that because most are marketed as pie holders, the biggest that is readily found is 12 inches.. but that should fit most frozen pizzas and a good portion of leftovers from takeout. 🙂

    http://www.amazon.com/Tupperware-Pizza-CUPCAKE-Round-Keeper/dp/B005178PE0/

    http://www.amazon.com/Tupperware-Large-Carrier-Clear-Seal/dp/B009QD9DW8/

    • Heather says:

      Thanks Sarah! I think I’ve seen those before and wondered if they would work for pizza. I need to nab one and give it a try. I DO wish there was something wider available, though.

  5. Frank says:

    I saw this yesterday on the Huffpost. A new packaging idea for pizza boxes. Impressive.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/05/pizza-box-turns-into-plat_n_5766244.html?utm_hp_ref=taste&ir=Taste

  6. jwoolman says:

    I just wrap individual slices in plastic bags or aluminum foil and then put them in the freezer. I don’t have a regular stove, just a combination convection/toaster oven. I got a rectangular pizza stone that fits such ovens, heat up the stone and then heat up the frozen slice on it. Really good. I do have an old pizza oven gadget also for initial baking of a whole pie, and found the only way a frozen pizza is going to really look like the box is to bake it in such an oven (or maybe in a regular oven with a pizza stone). But often I will slice the pizza before baking if possible, stash most of it in the freezer, and just make one slice in my little convection oven on the little pizza stone. Just slip an informative piece of cardboard or your own notes into/onto the package so you remember which pizza it is. They seem to last forever in my freezer, which is kept pretty cold. I keep finding them as a happy surprise (it’s a big standalone freezer) many months (years?!?) after the last time I bought that brand of pizza. I also discovered that a kitchen shears is worth the money just for ease of cutting pizza….

  7. Alan Shaner says:

    Why in the Hell did you change your new cheese recipe. I would buy the old recipe 3-4 at a time. The 1st time I was going to try the NEW RECIPE I opened the box and threw it out. Looked like mold on the crust and cheese. Put my finger on the cheese and it went straight into the box. I thought maybe a bad one. So, idiot that I am I tried another Worse yet. I will never buy another Archer Farms cheese pizza unless you go back to the old recipe. Your other pizza’s suck also!!!!!!

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