If your Thanksgiving celebration calls for an alternative to pumpkin pie for the crazy few (i.e. finicky kids) who don’t partake in that gorgeous gourd dessert, look no further than pizzelles from SE Portland’s Fiore Baking Company. Traditionally made in Italy on irons passed down generations, the pizzelle is eaten in celebration of any holiday or festive occasion, especially Christmas and Easter. It has been said that to Italians, there is no feast without pizzelles.
Fiore Baking Co. is owned and operated by Erin Crum in SE Portland. In 1912, when Erin’s grandparents immigrated to the US from the Abruzzi region of Italy, among the possessions they brought overseas was the family pizzelle iron. A heavy, cast iron waffle-making type of instrument used over an open flame or stove, the pizzelle maker kept the family’s baking tradition alive for more than 70 years. In the late 1970’s, it was time to modernize, and the family bought an electric pizzelle iron. This innovation was huge news to Erin and the rest of the kids in the family as they would finally be able to help make pizzelles in the kitchen.
This past spring, Erin enrolled in Getting Your Recipe to Market, a 12 week course founded as a collaboration between PCC Small Business Development Center and OSU Food Innovation Center. In the end, all 15 students presented their products and plans to buyers from New Seasons Markets. Crum’s pizzelles were chosen and one month later, Crum made her first round of deliveries to nine New Seasons Markets. Today she’s baking up a storm, sampling and delivering the goods to all ten New Seasons and Zupan’s markets.
As a parent I love that these cookies, at only 5 to 7 grams of sugar, don’t send my toddler on a sugar bender. I also love that they’re only 80 calories apiece, lend a subtly sweet flavor and you don’t feel like you had four bags of flour heading straight for your hips after indulging. We recently discovered they make delicious gourmet ice cream sandwiches, espcially when drizzled with caramel. Pizzelles start with five simple ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, butter and baking powder to which pure flavors and extracts are added to create a variety of flavors.
Finally, one look at the photo and you can see Fiore pizzelles make thoughtful and beautiful locally-made hostess gifts.
Two packs are only $1.99, but if you’d like to taste one first, all New Seasons will be sampling Fiore Baking Company pizzelles soon on December 8th and 11th.