The great Mel Brooks once said “Sex is like pizza. Even if it's done bad, it's still pretty good."
In case you missed it the internet was abuzz last week with news of the new Coles Chicken Parma Pizza, News.com.au, Triple M, Pedestrian.TV, Nova 100, LADbible and MediaNet all ran stories on the release, and that’s just the first page of Google results for “Coles Chicken Parma Pizza”. The ParmaDaze social media pages were flooded with links and tags. Everyone wanting to know more. It couldn’t possibly be any good… could it?
First up, a bit of history. The first “Parma Pizza” we ever came across was during a road trip to our 200th review back in 2014. On the way to the Shamrock Hotel in Echuca we stopped at the fantastic Tooborac Hotel and stumbled upon their version of the parma pizza, and to be honest it was glorious…
Things went quiet for a few years on the parma pizza front after that. Then in 2018 our friends at the Imperial Hotel decided to change the game up and launched their version of a Parma Pizza (which I still call a Pizza-Parma because that makes more sense). That used a flattened out schnitzel as a base to the toppings above.
We did a video review on the Impy’s Pizza Parma, which you can watch here…
So as you can imagine, the pressure was on. This week I headed down to Coles to try and source a Parma Pizza.
My first stop (and first mistake) was the freezer section. I wrongly assumed the Coles Parma Pizza was a frozen deal so naturally I went to the frozen pizza section but to my dismay the Parma Pizza was nowhere to be found.
After a little more wandering I came across a staff member frantically restocking the shelves in the fridge section. Kind’ve where you’d find the bags of cheese, garlic bread and Latina fresh pasta.
These things must be going fast as he only seemed to be restocking the Parma Pizzas and not the other flavours. I milled around amongst the cream cheese until he moved on and grabbed my target for the evening.
Interesting to note that these are marked as “Limited Edition” yet at the speed they seem to be flying off the shelves I’m gonna hazard a guess that they will be around for a while.
I made it home, pizza in hand and put the oven on pre-heat. While I waited we had a bit of a photo-shoot.
After an exhaustive photoshoot it was time to go into the oven. The pizza comes on a little cardboard tray that the instructions say to leave under the pizza while cooking. Into the oven it goes.
Now we play the waiting game. The box recommends 15 minutes at 200 degrees in a fan forced oven, as its cooking from refrigerated and not frozen the cook time is much lower than I would have normally expected.
My timer for 15 minutes went off, I checked the oven and it looked, well, pretty much exactly like the picture above. I shut the oven, left it for another 3-5 minutes and checked again to find…
Other than a bit of a bend in the base it was looking pretty good. I think it was time to plate up this bad boy.
Remember about 10 years ago when everyone was gifting everyone else those bench-top electric pizza ovens? Well I had a pizza stone lying around from one of several of those that I have been gifted over the years, which actually came in handy for pretty much the first time ever…
Out of the oven it actually didn’t look terrible! The cheese was a little crispy on one side, I guess cooking a ready made pizza is a culinary art I have not yet mastered.
I sliced it up and tucked in, and it was … Okay? Acceptable?
Imagine you are eating the pizza pictured above, It tastes exactly how you are imagining it tastes.
As suspected the ham was super fresh and probably the best part of the pizza. It could have used a bit more cheese and more napoli sauce but that was otherwise fine.
As for the popcorn chicken I was actually impressed with how much they put on the pizza. For a $5 pizza I would have been wholly unsurprised if it had 3 pieces in the clear window on the front of the box and none anywhere else - But Coles has surprised me by actually being fairly liberal with their popcorn chicken, I don’t think a single slice went popcorn-less throughout the meal.
How did the popcorn taste? Also fine. I couldn’t really detect any of the southern spices touted on the box. A little bit doughy and over crumbed but not the worst popcorn chicken I’ve ever had.
The most flavour on the pizza actually came from the tomato chunks, which were actually surprisingly good and I could have had more of, while not being listed as an ingredient on the box.
Is it comparable to a parma? No. Is it comparable to a home delivered pizza? No.
Is it good as something to leave in the fridge and chuck in the oven when you get home from the pub at 2am? Maybe!
If it truly is a “Limited Edition” thing then I’d say there’s no harm in picking one up and giving it a crack while you can, worst case scenario you’re down five bucks and you’ll just have a bad pizza which, as they say, is still pretty good.