I am typing this on Sunday the 23rd of June, if all goes to plan you will be reading it sometime towards the end of July - How is the future going? have we got those flying cars that fold into suitcases like on the Jetsons? That'd be awesome...
I'm hoping future me has already covered this on the Facebook or Twitter, but the reason I'm doing this is that for 3 weeks from late July to early August I'll be on holiday in the United States (tasting the best parmas our neighbours to the north have to offer, no doubt) So instead of regular reviews things are gonna be slightly different for the next couple of updates. I'm writing this review early and banking it for upload later.
I first heard about the Four N' Twenty parma pie around July last year, when a video surfaced on youtube, which has since been taken down :(
"That'd be on par with the chicken parmi down at the pub" says one of the blokes in the video. Hmmm. big call mate! (and I'll be kind and overlook his use of the word "parmi" instead of "parma" ... to each their own.
After seeing that vid I kept my eyes out for the Parma Pie - but to no avail. In the video they seem to be mostly outside the 7-11 on the corner of Bourke & Swanston st, yet every slev I visited in search for the parma pie had their own "Munch" brand of pies, and while I'm sure "munch" pies are tasty in their own right, they're not Four n Twenty. And they don't contain parmas.
After a while I had considered it a lost cause, the parma pie falling into legend - Until recently I noticed the occasional post on Twitter and Instagram of people taking photos of the fabled parma pie. They did exist - but from what I could gather, not in service stations - The Supermarket is where I should have been looking.
This morning I set out on a mission. My plan was to scour this fair city, Hit every 7-11, Shell, Safeway, Coles, IGA and Aldi that I could find until I found the parma pie. I vowed to not return home until I found one, I didn't care if it took me all day.
Luckily, I found them in the first supermarket I went to, Thanks Safeway!
$2.29 RRP or $1.85 with an everyday rewards card. Not too shabby! The first one had a tear in the packaging (as you can see in the photo) so I skipped that one, grabbed three others and headed home.
This is gonna be a picture heavy post - I know it's annoying to only have a sentence or so in between a wall of photos, but you're gonna have to deal with it. Cool? Cool.
The packaging is slightly different than the youtube vid, rather than that crinkly plastic you normally find on pies in a servo, these were in a thicker paper/plastic hybrid - the paper that is designed for microwave use, so that the pie itself doesn't go soggy when it goes 3 minutes in the radiation chamber.
The instructions state to open each end, then microwave for 3 minutes ...
The frozen pie, about to go in the microwave
The finished product
I was a little scared. Would it be any good? Could it be any good? Amazingly I had heard good things about the parma pie, all the mentions on Twitter seemed to cast it in a positive light.
It was bloody hot coming out of the micro, so I let it sit for a couple of minutes before tucking in.
Rather than go in blind, I sliced to pie in half for a cross section, just to see whats going on in there...
Firstly, inside the pie there is a lot of sauce. a combination of napoli and cheese that manages to maintain a temperature hotter than that of molten lava, even after a few minutes posing for photos. Before cracking it open I was curious to see how they would pull off the "schnitzel" portion of a parma pie, and to be honest, their solution is quite ingenious...
Schnitzel balls! These are what make up the chicken in the chicken parma, the pie is full of little balls of chicken schnitz. I managed to extract one for closer examination (I put the coin in to give you some perspective on size...)
Freshly plucked from the pie
Schnitzel ball cross section
First thoughts - Impressed! Four n' Twenty have actually put some thought into how to make a legit parma pie, after the photos were done I tucked in. And instantly burnt my lip ... fucking thing.
But third degree scaldings aside, It was better than I expected. It's not "on par with the chicken parmi at the pub" but their was plenty of napoli and melted cheese throughout. I thought I saw a couple of ham cubes (if they weren't ham cubes I'm clueless as to what they actually were), and the balls of chicken schnitz throughout were pretty good quality (processed, of course, but as good as processed chook can be) .
It's a messy pie to eat, the abundance of sauce and cheese was very "drippy" and left quite a few stains down my shirt by the time I was done - but luckily none of the schnitzel balls got away from me.
I wouldn't trade a proper parma for one of these things, but it was actually a damn tasty pie, and for only $2 it's damn hard to complain - for pocket change (less than a can of coke these days) I can pick up one of these, chuck it in the freezer and, should a parma craving strike unexpectedly, have it ready to go at a moments notice - It would definitely tide me over while on the way to the pub.
The other two remain in my freezer, I imagine they will be the perfect drunken snack when I get home after a night out enjoying a few refreshments. It won't beat a regular parma at the pub, but its definitely worth having around - If you see one on your next trip to the supermarket pick it up - for the price its hard to go wrong.
The search continues...