Pizzelle Italian Waffle Cookies are a unique biscuit from Mississauga, Ont.’s NuStef International. Originating from a centuries-old recipe from the Abruzzo region of Italy, pizzelle contains no trans fat, cholesterol or preservatives, and just 23 calories per cookie. The company offers eight flavours of pizzelle: vanilla, whole wheat vanilla, anise, chocolate, chocolate mint, lemon and dulce de leche. The cookies can be eaten as a snack on their own, can be topped with spreads or ice cream, and can even be heated in the microwave and curled into cannoli shells or dessert tacos.
Here’s what our taste-testing panel had to say:
Male, 39, cabinet maker
Vanilla & Chocolate: “I had two varieties from which to taste. Always wanting to leave the best for last, I opened up the pack of vanilla first. Only one cookie was crunched within the thin packaging…disappointing, but I’ll live. The vanilla was a taste sensation! You could smell the vanilla on the cookie, and when it hit your tongue – mmm-boy! That was good! Even if my wife wasn’t around to help, I would have eaten the entire pack in a few minutes. So with vanilla tucked safely under my belt, I opened up the uncrushed chocolate pack – yay! I bit off a large piece and let it settle onto my tongue, hopping to get the chocolately flavour all over the inside of my mouth. What a disappointment. There was virtually no chocolate flavor at all. It was like having a flavourless wafer melt in my mouth. Thinking it an aberration, I jammed the rest of the cookie in my mouth. Still little to zero flavour! So I had another and another…my wife had the same experience with one and refused to eat another chocolate one. After four cookies, I could taste some chocolate. Enough to let me know it was chocolate I was eating. Tsk-tsk to the chocolate; five out of five for the vanilla.
Female, 40, writer
Lemon: “I loved these! My grandmother used to make them when I was a kid and they always remind me of the holidays. Hers were softer, thicker and she only used anise. So the idea of ones with a lemon flavour was a treat. I love the tanginess of lemon in just about anything. And they were delicious, light and crispy. I liked that the lemon flavour was subtle and the pizzelle were perfectly sweet. I could almost say they tasted homemade. I would buy these.”
Female, 42, teacher
Dulce de Leche & Maple: “Both these varieties smelled wonderful, and I couldn’t wait to eat them. The maple cookie had a stronger flavour than the dulce de leche, but both were subtle and delicious, with a little bit of vanilla flavouring that reminded me of waffles. I loved the thinness of the cookies, the texture and the printed pattern. I could imagine them tasting yummy with ice cream, but I ate these right out of the package with some tea. I’ll look for these at the store.”
Male, 46, electrician
Maple: “These are a light snack that go perfectly with coffee. I liked that the maple flavour wasn’t overwhelming, and not too sweet, with nothing sticky to get all over your hands. The plastic wrap isn’t resealable though, so I wonder if these go stale fast?”
Female, 40, writer
Whole Wheat Vanilla: “Who knew you could use whole wheat flour to make pizzelle? I love having the healthy option. That’s when you know the healthy movement is strong – when it crosses over into a very niche, ethnic, traditional food. These were delicious. Crispy and light as the lemon flavoured ones and just enough sweetness.”
Female, 26, account manager
Chocolate Mint: “I tried the chocolate mint pizzelles. I was quite surprised. I am used to my Italian Nonna’s homeade pizzelles, so I wasn’t expecting anything special. They look just like the ones I grew up with. I would have preferred the plain as I found these to be a little too sweet. The pizzelles I grew up with were always plain so I can’t imagine eating them any other way. The taste was pretty good though, relatively fresh and I liked the fact that they came wrapped in smaller packages.”
Female, 40, writer
Anise: “These would have to be my favourite. I didn’t think they would be, but they’re delicious. They remind me of the typical pizzelle I had as a kid. Anise has such a distinct flavour – like nutmeg and cloves and cinnamon. These were also so light and went well with coffee, tea or just milk. I tried them on their own and with Nutella and they were such a perfect dessert.”