Davide Lazzaroni began making cookies in 1718 in the town of Saronno (also known for Amaretto liqueur). Today D. Lazzaroni & Compagnia is one of Italy’s largest makers of premium baked goods and candy. Their famous Amaretti di Saronno—meringue-like almond cookies wrapped in pastel tissue in a bright orange tin—still use the original recipe from the 18th century, and are well-known wherever gourmet products are sold.
Lazzaroni makes a regular line of packaged cookies—classics like tea biscuits, lemon cookies, and chocolate-covered butter cookies—in both regular and sugar-free versions. One of these days we are going to have to buy a package of the regular cookies. For the past two years, we have been so enamored of the sugar-free versions, that we have never thought to try the others.
Made with wheat flour, maltitol, partially hydrogenated coconut oil, butter, eggs and whole milk powder, Lazzaroni’s sugar-free line is equally suitable for those who cannot have sugar (subject to physician’s approval) and for dieters seeking to work a tasty cookie into their food plans. And tasty is the operating word here. These cookies taste so good, they have engendered a daily Tea Time at our offices. Because for 100 calories, a cup of Earl Grey and three of these cookies is as good as it gets.
Classici are a tea biscuit-style cookie (think of a Petit Beurre). The cookies are 2" square, 1/16" thick, and 33 calories each (10 from fat). A dry, crunchy biscuit with good wheat flour flavor, it has enough sweetness to be enjoyed as a cookie with ice cream, or as a savory biscuit with cheese.
Zerole are a more substantive, moister, sweeter basic cookie, 2-3/8" x 1-3/4" and 1/4" thick. More heft means more calories: 53 calories apiece (23 from fat).
From left to right: Limonelli, Zerole, and Classici. Senza Zucchero means “without sugar.” Photo by Gina Erdmann. Below: Velieri cookies.
Limonelli are lemon hazelnut cookies, with prominent amounts of both flavors well blended. Round with an attractive surface texture, 1-7/8" diameter and 1/16" thick, they are 30 calories apiece (16 from fat).
Velieri (sailing ships), perhaps the most exciting to the sugar-deprived, are a round butter cookie capped in a layer of semisweet sugar-free chocolate—think of the L-U Little Schoolboy cookies for postgrads. We couldn’t get a box for details because shipping chocolate is iffy in the summer heat. Had we known, we’d have hoarded ours—or at least saved the packaging. We recall that they are about 70 calories apiece and higher in fat percentage than the others; but that’s to be expected when you coat something in chocolate. Even if you have just one, the satisfaction quotient is way up there. Lazzaroni must think so too, because they’ve embossed the chocolate with the company logo, a steamship.
We especially enjoy these cookies:
With a really flavorful cup of black tea—Earl Grey and Lapsang Souchong are two of our favorites, but any black tea will do
With a cup of sugar-free hot cocoa (our current favorite is Nestle® Fat Free, augmented with an extra Splenda® and Parmalat Skim Plus® milk that has been warmed in the microwave for 40 seconds and whipped with a frother)
Classici, Limonelli and Zerole as the base for a pair of mini ice cream sandwiches, using Breyers Carb Smart® Vanilla and Breyers Sugar Smart® Triple Chocolate ice creams (hedonists can add a dab of La Nouba sugar-free raspberry spread)
Classici and Limonelli crumbled and layered in parfaits
Crumbled Limonelli cookies over yogurt
Classici with cheese and spreads
Classici, Limonelli and Zerole with La Nouba sugar-free jams and chocolate hazelnut spread (substituting sweetened, fat-free Total Yogurt for Devon cream at tea
Velieri with coffee or espresso after dinner, and to keep on hand for guests with restrictions who can’t enjoy regular desserts and snacks.
Now for the challenge: telling you where to find these great cookies online has been an ongoing source of frustration. The cookies are imported by Lazzaroni USA and then sold to distributors, who in turn sell them to retailers. Distributors are numerous and sell regionally, so a distributor in New England won’t be helpful to a reader in Ohio. Plus, distributors write orders and ship products: they don’t necessarily keep track of which of their retail accounts might sell online. We searched for months, and mostly found gift basket companies that sell the cookies online packaged in baskets with other products. We found only two companies, Perugina and iGourmet.com, that sold them online—and then when we returned months later, the links no longer worked. LazzaroniUSA.com, the website of the Italian manufacturer—the same company that produces the famous Amaretti di Saronno—has only a holding page with the message that “The website is currently under construction. It will be online soon.” Perhaps the corporation’s parameters of “soon” are five years or less; that message has been there for two years, and no one responds to the contact e-mail address provided.
Until we solve this challenge, we’ve provided a phone number for Lazzaroni USA below. Call and demand your rights as a consumer, to information about where the product can be purchased. We can only suggest that you tell your local specialty food store to contact Lazzaroni for the name of their local distributor and order them. With a little promotion to make customers aware, the store won’t be able to keep these cookies on the shelves. (And if you do know an e-tailer that carries the line, click here to let us know.)
LAZZARONI SUGAR-FREE COOKIES
Classici, Limonelli, Velieri & Zerole
10.5 ounces, about 40
3.5 ounces, about 15
Velieri 3.5 ounces
10.5 ounces, about 24
Retail prices vary. We have seen them from $3.99 to $5.99 and higher.
For further information contact: Lazzaroni USA Corporation
Sugar-free Zerole, Classici (tea biscuits), and Limonelli. Photo by
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