Bella Lucia Gluten Free Pizzelles
I always love it when I have those gluten-free ah-ha moments when I come across a gluten-free version of an item I had enjoyed prior to my Celiac diagnosis. A recent visit to a D.C. area Wegmans yielded these sweet little treats from Bella Lucia.
Growing up, I remember my mother with her pizzelle maker making homemade pizzelles most often around the holidays. As a child, it was always exciting to help her make these because they were so different and typically signaled that the holidays were coming.
So imagine my complete surprise when perusing the gluten-free aisle to come across a selection of gluten-free pizzelles. I actually have to credit my other half for finding them because I actually missed them at first pass. These come in anise, cinnamon, and vanilla varieties. I opted to try the cinnamon and vanilla and they did not disappoint.
These cookies were light and crisp which is what you would expect in the perfect pizzelle. The vanilla variety had subtle notes of vanilla that were perfectly balanced by a refined sweetness that did not overpower. The cinnamon variety was elevated by the slight spiciness of the cinnamon that was complimented by the slightly sweet base. Not only did I love these, but my mother also gave her seal of approval having enjoyed these with me over this past Christmas.
If you come across these I would definitely recommend pick-up a few packages because they will go fast. You can learn more about the company and their gluten-free products on their Web site where you can also locate where their products are carried or buy them online and have them shipped to your door. You can also friend them on Facebook.
Les Recettes de Celiane Batonnets Chocolat au Lait
Another Geneva, Switzerland find that I brought back with me were these delectable milk chocolate fingers or Bâtonnets Chocolat au Lait (sounds more appealing in French). Now first off, Céliane is an actual person who was born with a gluten intolerance who, according to the product back story, wanted to create a range of delicious products to share with the public.
This was my first time trying this brand but this product did standout. The chocolate fingers were extremely reminiscent of an old beloved British variety that I had the pleasure to enjoy before my Celiac diagnosis. Well, I no longer need to rely on delicious memories because Céliane has created gluten-free chocolate finger that rivals the best of them. The biscuit itself is exactly what you would expect – wonderfully crunchy with a subtle sweetness with just a slight tinge of saltiness. Pair this with the creamy milk chocolate that enrobes each finger, and well, you have chocolate finger perfection.
Les Recettes de Céliane has a good range of products that I look forward to sampling next time I come across them. You can learn more about the company and their products on their Web site which is available in English and French.
Schaer Meranetti and Cioccolini
First up was the Meranetti which are chocolate cupcakes filled with gianduja chocolate cream. These are individually wrapped (four to a box) which makes for a perfect portion controlled snack – not to mention it keeps each cupcake moist. What’s nice about these cupcakes is that they are not overly sweet but have a rich cocoa flavor that really comes through. The filling is also not too sweet with the cocoa flavor perfectly complemented with a subtle hint of hazelnut.
The Cioccolini are small chocolate cookies with a chocolate cream filling hidden inside. Again, these were not overly sweet with a subtle sweetness that allowed the chocolate notes to really shine. While these were good, I was expecting the cream centers to be soft and they were in fact hard. I am not sure if this was the normal filling consistency or if these were just a bit off. They were perfectly sealed and one year within the consume by date so not sure what was up with them. They were still good but would have preferred a softer center.
I love traveling around the world and seeing what some familiar companies are doing in local regions. Hopefully more and more of the international brands with a U.S. presence with continue to expand their product offerings by bringing over some of their popular regional products.
Now if I can just figure out why Schär in the United States is pronounced incorrectly sans umlaut, even by the brand…drives this German-educated Celiac nuts .
Laboratoire du Fournil, Le Sarissans Organic Chocolate Fondant
One of the decadent finds on my recent trip to Switzerland was found at an amazing organic market (Urban Bio, 19, Rue des Alpes) that I literally stumbled across while walking around Geneva a day before heading home to the United States. I typically do a bit of research prior to any trip but as the majority of my trip was in my familiar stomping ground of Montreux, I thought I would wing-it for our final night in Geneva. I have a few other goodies that I picked-up in Geneva and will be reviewing them soon. Now on to the chocolate fondant…
This was an amazingly rich and organic tart that was really more like a small round brownie. It contained just five simple organic ingredients: a buckwheat and rice flour blend; cane sugar, eggs, chocolate, and vegetable oil. While the ingredients were incredibly simple the cake itself was wonderfully complex. It had a rich, nutty, chocolate flavor that had only a very subtle sweetness allowing the chocolate to have the spotlight. It was wonderfully moist but was still dense enough to not be overly fragile – I actually threw this in my carry-on on my way home and it arrived in one piece.
So once again a great gluten-free find popped-up when I wasn’t even looking once again proving that you can get out there and, even without major planning, still navigate successfully as a gluten-free traveler. If you happen to be in Geneva, definitely stop-by Urban Bio as there gluten-free selection was truly amazing.
Galbusera Frollini al Cacao con Crema Vaniglia Cookies
A recent visit to the Little Italy of the Bronx known as Arthur Avenue yielded a host of delicious gluten-free products from Italy. I was familiar with the Galbusera brand thanks to an Italian friend who introduced me to the brand years ago. Ever since then I am always excited when I come across the brand here in the United States.
These cookies are chocolate sandwich cookies filled with a sweet vanilla cream. The cookies themselves are mildly sweet with a rich cocoa undertone. There delicate subtle sweetness allows for the rich vanilla cream to be the real standout. The vanilla cream perfectly complements the cocoa flavor of the cookies. If you are thinking Oreos, think again. These are far smaller and more sophisticated cookies but they are still filling so three or four and you are good to go without having to feel guilty about indulging your sweet tooth.
As for where to purchase these in the United States, definitely check out your local Italian market if you have one. If not, simply pop online where several stores such as Shop Italy Online carry a range of products (gluten-free and otherwise) imported directly from Italy and shipped to your front door.
Galbusera Zero Grano Plus con Gocce di Puro Cioccolato
Another Italian gluten-free find from my excursion to Arthur Avenue here in New York City was these Galbusera Zero Grano Plus con Gocce di Puro Cioccolato cookies. These come in six portion controlled individual bags which makes indulging a little less guilt-ridden.
The first thing you will notice about these cookies is that they have a very subtle sweetness that allows the rich deep chocolate notes to really come through. Throw in delectable tiny chocolate morsels and any chocolate lover will be one happy camper. But wait, that’s not all. You see if these were just chocolate on their own they would still be a homerun. However, you will also notice a very subtle hint of hazelnut and honey that play absolutely perfectly off of the chocolate.
I have been seeing the Galbusera brand popping up in more and more specialty markets so be sure to look for them next time your are at your local market. Additionally, there are several online retailers that import them here in the Unites States and will ship them right to your door. Check out Shop Italy Online which has a range of Galbusera products available for shipping.