Wafer cookies and gelato cones in Bertinoro.
Taking advantage of Italy's post-war gelato boom, Attilio Babbi founded his cone factory in 1953 in Bertinoro, near the coastal towns of Rimini and Ravenna. But gelato is a seasonal item, almost ignored in Italy's cold winter months. So beginning in 1958, Babbi decided to use his cone-making resources to produce layered wafer cookies in the October through March off-season.
The basic vanilla- and chocolate-filled wafers are terrific, sold in an attractive tin on which the words "Prelibati Waferini Specialità Babbi" are surrounded by images of Romagna's tourist sites. But Babbi also makes several other varieties of wafer cookies: the Viennesi are individually wrapped squares covered with chocolate, and Babbette are tubes rolled around chocolate filling. The larger Dolcetorta - a round cake-sized wafer cookie that is either edged or coated with bitter chocolate - is more than enough dessert for six, and is even scored into six wedges for easy serving.
Though the cookies are sold only in winter, gelato accessories such as wafer cones, tubes, and wedges are sold year-round at the factory, which is run by three generations of sons. Also available are ingredients like Piemonte's fine hazelnuts, preserved-fruit toppings, chocolate, natural flavorings and gelato base mixes.
Babbi, via Caduti di Via Fani 80, Bertinoro, tel. +39-0543-448-598, fax +39-0543-449-010. Cookies are shipped throughout Italy, and faxed orders are accepted for shipping to the U.S.
January 30, 1997