As much as I am a homebody, I love exploring new places. Spending my days at home has led me to dream of summer vacations around the world – especially regions that are known for sunny days this time of the year. Therefore, I was inspired to add this new member to my summer snack stash. This is the closest I can get to strolling along cobblestone lanes under the golden Mediterranean sun!
Although I’m dreaming of a Mediterranean summer vacation, ‘pasticceria’ (the Italian word for ‘pâtisserie’) equates to summer for me particularly because I’m reminded of my trip to a pasticceria in Western Australia several summers ago, with trays of assorted biscuits and rows of divine pastries on display for foodies to admire. While chocolate chip cannoli isn’t on the menu this time, there is another decadent treat that I couldn’t wait to taste. I hereby introduce the original hazelnut tortina from Loacker’s pasticceria range.
Italian Hazelnuts Galore!
Loacker’s HQ is located in South Tyrol, Italy, an area that neighbors Austria. Their operations are located in both Italy and Austria, and this tortina is made across the border in Tyrol, Austria. Since Loacker is most commonly known as an Italian brand and 100% Italian hazelnuts are included in these tortinas, I consider my experience with this wafer as a little vacation to Italy.
As hazelnuts is the headliner in the wafers, I was keen to slip into my sleuthing boots to learn a little more about hazelnuts in the boot-shaped nation’s baking realm. My sleuthing led me directly to a cake called torta di nocciole, a crumbly hazelnut-laden cake that features roasted hazelnuts in its fullest glory. Along the way, another hazelnut-laden treat caught my eye. Named baci di dama, this eat is a ‘sandwich cookie’ – comprising of two button-looking cookies featuring finely-grounded hazelnuts, with dark chocolate binding the two hazelnutty cookie pieces together in the center. Needless to say, reading about these eats increased my excitement in tasting the tortinas!
Tortina Taste Test
Scrutinizing the sweet treat, I realized that the tortina has double-stuffed cookie vibes in the form of a wafer confection, with a creamier and smoother center than ‘sandwich’ cookies. A thick layer of hazelnut cream sits in-between two wafer biscuits, and the stack is entirely coated in chocolate. Holistically, the tortina’s flavor profile reminds me Loacker’s classic hazelnut wafers, with a lot more hazelnut cream and an added chocolate touch on the outside.
As soon as I took a bite, hazelnut cream stood in the spotlight. Smooth and decadent, the cream spells ‘hazelnut’ with its 27% hazelnut content. The hazelnuts are sourced from the wafer brand’s Italian Hazelnut Orchard program, which supports sustainability. The tortina features this delicious Italian produce wonderfully. This cream filling is very prominent, as it is 54% of each tortina. The decadent tortina’s taste isn’t complex, but it nicely executes flavors that foodies know and love to bits. Also, I’m glad that it isn’t overly sweet, as it allows hazelnut’s taste to take center stage.
Even though over half of the tortina comprises of the filling, I could taste both the wafer biscuits and chocolate coat. Although both waffle wafers are smothered and sandwiched between two elements with softer textures, they are far from soggy: instead, they are firm and pleasantly crispy, much like regular wafer snacks.
The Ecuadorian cocoa’s lovely presence in the chocolate coat is detectable as well. Its appearance in the tortina is more so a supporting role that allows the hazelnut cream to shine in this classic hazelnut-chocolate combo. Nevertheless, I was fascinated with this element as it is referred to as ‘dark milk chocolate’, which comprises of 38% chocolate. Tasting the chocolate on its own, it possesses a sweetness that originates from milk chocolate, with a gentle cocoa edge of mild dark chocolate. Milk chocolate fans will be happy because it isn’t bitter at all!
I’m impressed that my tortinas had survived beautifully in a regular tropical climate, hence passing my ‘room temperature’ test. Considering there was a slight difference between the chilled and non-chilled wafers in my previous Loacker adventure, I decided to put one of my tortinas to the ‘refrigeration’ test.
It turns out that the non-chilled tortina is way more spectacular than the chilled ones. The flavors shine more in the ones that are stored in room temperature. Also, to me, the filling is miles better when it’s creamy and smooth rather than firm and harder. The ‘room temperature’ version wins hands-down in my book.
All in all, I enjoyed my taste of Italy through its beloved produce, with the addition of its flavorful friends! The trio of hazelnut cream, wafers and dark milk chocolate work together perfectly in every bite.