Friday, April 11, 2014

Reko Pizzelle (Vanilla, Anise, and Lemon)

The idea that a food is better in another country than its country of origin is not an alien one, though I do believe it's something which would be hotly debated. The idea that "Authentic" cuisine using the ingredients of the country in which the dish was developed is superior to any adaptations in other countries tends to be debated. In fact, at the moment, I'm hard-pressed to come up with any food in America that people (other than Americans) think is better here than in its home country. This could reflect the limits of my imagination, of course. Readers may feel free to share their thoughts.

Reko, the company in Cananda that makes today's focus of a review, asserts that their pizzelle are so good that they export them to the Abruzzo region of Italy. That's the area in which pizzelle were reportedly formulated. They boldly say Italians think their pizzelle are better than native offerings.

I can't speak for Italians, but I can speak for me. The truth is that I have consumed very few pizzelle in my life. For those who are even more unfamiliar with them than me, they are a thin, crispy, waffle-like cookie. They are less deeply browned and crispy than a waffle cone used for ice cream, but do have the same flavors in their mix.

These cookies were available at Cost Plus World Imports. The main reason I ended up buying them was that there was a basket of samples of the dulce de leche flavor on hand. I don't even like dulce de leche, but I liked the sample so I picked up the three other flavors that sounded even more appealing to me. I figured if the one I didn't like was good, the ones I liked would be even better.

I paid $3.50 per box of 30 cookies. There are three packs of 10 in each box (which greatly reduces the risk of them going stale) and the nutrition information says that a serving is five cookies. For me, I tend to try to keep it to three or four, tops, but I can see how easy it would be to get carried away given that they are crisp, light, and only 23 calories each. You can put away quite a few for the calorie price of less than two and a half Oreo cookies.

All of these cookies have the same basic mix and prominent flavor profile. They have a slightly carmelized flavor which says that flour, fat, and sugar have come together in a toasty orgy to create a more appealing offspring. All of the flavors are relatively subtle and come through as a secondary flavor after the overall "waffle/cookie" taste. Of the three flavors, lemon is my least favorite for not other reason than it seems to add a little too much of a citric sourness and not quite enough of a floral sense. That is not to say I dislike it. I do, but vanilla is my favorite with anise being in the middle of the pack.

The shining star of these cookies is the texture and subtlety. They are the perfect light accompaniment to tea or coffee as a light treat. The web site and packaging show them with fruit toppings, cream fillings, and chocolate between them like a waffle sandwich, but I love them plain. I think that appreciating them as a simple treat while attending to the delicate flavors is a treat and I'll definitely have them again.

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