Friday, July 31, 2009

Pizza Nut

UPDATE (8/21/09): Bella Monica's pizzas will be available at all Wegmans markets beginning in October.

I'm always interested to learn of new gluten-free pizzas on the market, as the Italian specialty is our older son's favorite food. I recently read about a line of gluten-free frozen pizzas from Bella Monica FlatBread Company. I emailed the company's owner, Trevor Chambers, to ask where the pizzas were available in the area, since I hadn't seen them on any store shelves. Through a distributor, Trevor was able to have all three varieties of his flatbreads delivered to Natural Health in Clementon, New Jersey, where I purchased the Margherita style. (Also available are Mushroom & Herbs and Spinach & Tomato.)

The Spinach & Tomato rice-flour pizza is topped with a mix of mozzarella and feta cheeses, while the others have a blend of asiago and mozzarella. The Margherita variety we tried is more cheesy than saucy. The flatbread can be heated in the oven for its entire cooking cycle (10-12 minutes after defrosting), but at Trevor's suggestion, I threw it on the grill for a few minutes after baking, which imparted a smoky flavor. The thin-style crust was crisp but not flaky. Although I like a bit more tomato sauce on my pie than what I tasted here, my son and I both enjoyed it. The Margherita is a first-rate effort worthy of adding to the pizza rotation in our house.

Bella Monica's pizzas are not made in a dedicated gluten-free manufacturing facility, but - as stated on the packaging - the products are tested for the presence of gluten to 10 parts per million, which is below the 20-ppm definition of "gluten free" being recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The cost is on the high side - the list price for each pizza at Natural Health was $13.49 each, although the store was selling them at an initial promotional price of $8.99 each. Keep in mind, though, that the pizza is about twice the size of the Pizza By George pizzas that we usually buy at between $4.99 and $6.49 each.

At the moment, Bella Monica's flatbreads are available at the following local stores (call ahead to confirm availability):
  • Big Bear Natural Foods - Yardley, PA; Lambertville, NJ; Pennington, NJ
  • Black Forest - Hamilton, NJ
  • Bonterra Market - Egg Harbor Township, NJ
  • Bunn's Natural Foods - Southampton, PA
  • Frey's Better Foods - Hellertown, PA
  • Grapevine Natural Grocery - Newtown, PA
  • Kimberton Whole Foods - Douglasville, PA; Downingtown, PA; Kimberton, PA; Ottsville, PA
  • Martindale's Natural Market - Springfield, PA
  • Natural Health - Clementon, NJ
  • Newark Natural Foods Co-op - Newark, DE
  • Water To Go - Pennsauken, NJ
  • Whole Earth Center - Princeton, NJ
More stores are being added, but if you'd like to have your favorite natural foods store carry the pizzas, pass along the company's sales sheet to the store's management. And if you happen to be traveling in the Raleigh area, check out Bella Monica's restaurant, which offers a full gluten-free menu.
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  1. Mike,

    Thanks for the delicious review and your dedication to your blog! What a cool and practical tribute to your son.

    Few things are more important than sharing a common meal with freinds and family! Blogs like yours help make that possible by finding the foods everone at the table will eat - not just those on the GF diet. Like our Nana said: "Everyone Come to the Table. Mangia! Mangia!

    Bella Monica

  2. We live in Raleigh and are lucky enough to be able to get this pizza all the time. I'm thrilled that we can get it when we go visit family in NJ. That's great news. Thanks Trevor!