Chow Bella

Forget Bianco's, Give Me Mama Celeste!

We're going to catch hell for this, but here goes anyway.

Everyone knows Phoenix is famous for its pizza, specifically, for the almighty Pizzeria Bianco downtown. And while that's all well and good, there's another pizza story happening here. It's a sad story that's gone under-reported until today.

Has anyone ever noticed you can't buy Mama Celeste frozen pizza in Phoenix? We haven't found a single grocery store that carries it. What's up with that? Mama Celeste is the bomb.

To be fair, it's not really pizza; it's a fatty, carb-laden, sodium bomb masquerading as pizza. But for a quick dinner when the cupboard is bare and you don't want to spend the dough to go out, it's the best frickin' frozen pizza on the planet. It's thin and crispy and the "Zesty Four Cheese" actually has a nice blend of Italian spices on it. Plus, we love any food product referenced in the TV show "The Golden Girls". Remember the episode where Sophia Petrillo claimed to have almost gone into business with Mama Celeste herself, but a love triangle tore them apart?

To get to the bottom of this pizza mystery, we contacted Pinnacle Foods, which owns the Celeste brand. We received a prompt response from a "Consumer Insights Representative" named Lena Grant, who confirmed that no one sells it here and apologized for that. Then she gave us a tip.

"Since the stores in your area don't seem to carry this item, we suggest that you ask the Manager of the store you shop in most often to stock the product," Grant wrote.

That sounded promising, until we read her next sentence.

"Please be advised," Grant added, "that we do not sell direct to consumers or stores but to distribution centers only. I do apologize that I am not able to offer additional assistance at this
time. Thank you again for taking the time to email us.  We appreciate your loyalty to our products."

So where does that leave us? Are we supposed to picket our local "distribution center" waving signs emblazoned with the face of founder Celeste Lizio?

In the meantime, we can watch homemade videos like this one, of people outside of Arizona talking about how much they love Celeste pizzas.

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Rene Gutel
Contact: Rene Gutel