Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Frozen Assets

Talia di Napoli's gluten-free Margherita pizza
Ever since our son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 16 years ago, we've been on a seemingly never-ending quest for the perfect frozen gluten-free pizza. His tastes have changed - from the personal pizzas made by Foods By George that he devoured in his younger years to the hard-to-find gourmet American Flatbread varieties that he discovered more recently. One constant is that the frozen pizzas - and for that matter, most of the ones available in restaurants - do not have a distinctive crust.

Until now, dear readers. Talia di Napoli's gluten-free Neapolitan pizzas are a game changer and have immediately become our son's new favorite. Recently featured in Food & Wine and the New York Times, the company imports both traditional and gluten-free pizzas hand made in Naples, Italy. The gluten-free versions are certified by Coeliac UK (less than 20 ppm) and the company's owner told me that they are produced on sanitized lines on days when traditional pies are not made, and baked in a dedicated wood-fired oven then flash frozen - known as a "sleeping" process. They have a real, airy crust that we haven't seen in any other frozen pizza. In fact, these pies rival the taste and texture of craft coal- and brick-oven pizzas sold at local pizza shops.

The gluten-free Primavera pizza from Talia di Napoli
Why the difference? The 11" gluten-free pizza base is made with buckwheat flour, rice flour and - yes - gluten-free wheat starch. The use of gluten-free wheat starch, which helps makes Talia di Napoli's gluten-free pizza unique, is more prevalent in European gluten-free goods than in the United States; Schar's gluten-free croissants and waffles sold in America are made with the starch. Given the word "wheat" in the name, consumers understandably may be wary of consuming products made with gluten-free wheat starch and, indeed, those with a wheat allergy or intolerance should avoid such foods. However, research has shown no evidence that foods made with gluten-removed wheat starch are harmful to those with Celiac Disease. You can read more about gluten-free wheat starch here, here and here and here. (Of course, consuming gluten-free foods made with this ingredient is an individual choice and I'm not here to twist your arm.)

Talia di Napoli rotates its offerings monthly, but the gluten-free Classic Pack ($95.99) includes four Margherita and three Primavera pies. All orders ship free to U.S. addresses. Yes, these cost more than your typical frozen pizzas but believe me: it's worth it. Promotions vary, but currently using GRAZIE15 will get you 15% off, TALIA10 will get you 10% off and this link will save you $5.

Make room in your freezer and buon appetito!
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