Some of you may remember, many years ago I took on Dominos to compare their new range of pizzas to my own. I was contacted recently to do this again, as Dominos have just released a Gourmet Specials range, including the Firenze, Florentine and Rustica pizzas. These are prepared on their Italian style base with a sundried tomato and garlic topping and various other additions, from spicy salami and pepperoni, to baby spinach, feta cheese and Roquito peppers.
For my part, I chose to cook one large pizza and split the toppings into three sections, one for each of the above. I made my own garlic and tomato sauce and used a mozzarella over the whole pizza, this time choosing a base from Phil Vickery’s Pizza Masterclass, which (I have to admit) was better than my Gino version.
So, I went to the Domino’s site to order pizza online and chose one of each, a delivery time of 8pm and a free tub of Ben and Jerry’s! Now, I would say I sat back and waited, but in the meantime, I took my proved dough, rolled out, prepared the toppings and waited til ten to eight to top and bake, not wanting the base to go soggy. However, the Dominos then arrived, so I quickly prepared and cooked mine to add to the collection!
The first thing we noticed was that, apart from the Firenze, compared with mine, the Domino’s pizzas had fewer toppings, maybe just one of each item on every slice. And very little tomato and garlic paste. In fact, even when peeling back the layer of cheese, it was barely noticeable to look at, never mind to taste.To be fair, since I was cramming three pizzas into one, mine was heavily laden, but also had a good tasty layer of the tomato paste.
Let’s take the pizzas one by one: first the Firenze. Domino’s describe this as having Ventricina salami, pepperoni and Peruvian Roquito peppers on a fresh thin crust base. The salami and pepperoni were indeed very tasty, but we all found the sweetness of the peppers a little overpowering…do you really want a sweet pizza? Perhaps a change to a more savoury pepper might do the trick here.
Secondly, the Florentine. This is topped with baby spinach, sunblush baby plum tomatoes and Greek Feta cheese. Now, for my comparison, I simply used halved cherry tomatoes, rather than the baby sunblush, which gave a superior taste. In fact, it seemed a bit pointless having a rich tomato and garlic sauce on mine, and then using more of the same tomatoes on top. Out of all the pizzas, this was definitely the nicest flavour combination.
The third pizza we tried was the Rustica, using toppings such as chicken breast strips, smoked bacon rashers, baby spinach and sunblush baby plum tomatoes. I couldn’t taste the smokiness of the bacon with this one, or the spinach, but again, the tomatoes were good.
My pizza, as mentioned, had a thick layer of the tomatoes, sporadic mozzarella, bundles of topping and a crispy and bubbling base! I could have precooked the salami and pepperoni to give it a slight crispiness, as I like this aspect of the Domino’s version: the meat on mine was a little ‘wilted’. Also, I was upset to find that the middle of the pizza had the infamous ‘soggy bottom’; ‘not a good bake' as Paul Hollywood would say! The flavours, however, compensated for both of these!
Usually, if I ever order a Domino’s, it’s because I fancy a deep pan Pepperoni, which I just can’t make at home. Sorry Domino’s, I should learn my lesson. For just a little effort, I feel that you can make the thin crusts easily and quickly, the results being more topping, richer flavours and a crispier base; it’s also certainly lighter on the wallet with a large Domino’s costing around £17.
So, all in all, my family (I promise, they weren’t being biased!) voted mine best for overall flavour, crispiness, bubbliness of base and price. The picture speaks for itself!