wafer cubes

Is there a more underrated (or, rather, undervalued) sweet snack out there than a filled wafer? It seems like everyone enjoys them when they’re present on the table, paired with a cup of tea or coffee, but hardly anyone names them as a favorite when asked what their favorite sweet snack is.

Wafers are thin, light, dry, and crisp biscuits with a very mellow taste. What people like about them is the crunchy texture - and the filling. Unfilled wafers on their own have little flavor. They’re a team player, so to speak: they bring the texture to the table, while the filling (most often sweet) brings the flavors.

Do you like the iconic Kit-Kat? It would hardly be the same without the crunchy wafers in the chocolate.

But filled wafers make a great snack all by themselves as well, without being an addition to a chocolate bar. With more crunch and just as sweet a taste, they hit the spot for most people: as two large iconic Italian confectionery brands, Balconi and Loacker discovered a long time ago.

Nowadays, small, cube-shaped wafer snacks are one of the most famous snacks in both these companies’ assortments. Not in the least because the small size makes the treats a great on-the-go snack, and there aren’t many others who offer the same.

Have you given either of them a try? If not, here’s a small guide that should help you get started.

What are Balconi Wafer Cubes?

Balconi Dolciaria was founded in 1953 by pastry chef Michele Balconi. Initially, Balconi wasn’t a food manufacturer but a small artisanal shop where Michele was focused on creating sweet cakes.

His sponge cake, however, became so in demand that the shop kept expanding. Over time, it became clear that the demand was so high that Balconi could transition to more industrial food production methods. Starting with sponge cake snacks, Balconi quickly established itself as the leader in the “snack cake niche” and expanded its assortment to include biscuits and wafers.

Balconi Wafer Cubes are pretty much mini-wafer snacks. They consist of nine layers: five thin waffle layers and four thicker filling layers. Instead of the standard long rectangular shape of filled sweet wafers, they come in small cube shapes. 

What are Loacker Quadratini Snacks?

Loacker was founded in 1925 by Bolzano (South Tyrol)-based confectioner Alfons Loacker. His signature product was “Cialda di Bolzano” or “Bolzano wafer.” 

The start was similar to Balconi: it wasn’t intended to be the confectionery juggernaut it is today. Loacker was just a tiny baking shop Alfons ran with two assistants. His focus on wafer-based sweets (along with chocolates) set him apart, and the demand for his wafers steadily grew, with the shop always brimming with people.

In 1974, Alfons’s son Armin and daughter Christina who had been running the business side of things while their father took care of the sweets, decided to transition the company to industrial production. Armin decided to move the  production of Loacker wafers (and other assorted sweets) to the Renon plateau (Dolomites).

Sweet, filled wafers have been Loacker’s main product since the company was established, and Quadratini, small cube-shaped wafer snacks, are one of their most recognizable products. Quadratini are 9-layered, similar to Balconi cubes: with five layers of crispy wafers and four layers of sweet filling.

Which Has More Options?

When it comes specifically to bite-sized cube-shaped wafers or the overall collection, Loacker is an uncontested winner for this one. In fact, it’s very likely that Loacker has the most varied assortment of sweet wafer snacks on the market right now.

And Loacker Quadratini collection is the most varied among its series of wafer-based crunchy snacks. It counts nineteen (19) different flavors, a longer list than even its classic series, which has 13 flavors right now, 12 of which are available in the Quadratini format. The only “classic” flavor that Loacker has yet to launch in Quadratini form is the Alpine Milk flavor. 

In comparison, Balconi Wafer Cubes are available in only six (6) different flavors, with half of them some chocolate-based variety. It seems that Balconi is not very interested in expanding its flavor options, as it’s been quite some time since a new flavor was added to the Balconi Wafer Cubes assortment. 

The same rings true for their more classic wafer snacks: regardless of the form, Balconi seems to be focused on reliable classics and finds little incentive to experiment. They prefer to focus on the products they already have in the markets and have yearned dedicated audience for. 

Which Has More Unique Flavors?

Comparing Balconi’s line-up with Loacker is kind of a moot point when it comes to this question. The answer is basic math: as Loacker has more options and is more eager to experiment with its flavors, it’s no surprise that they cover more ground and offer more unique options.

While Loacker is no slouch in the “classic flavors” department, the Quadratini is an excellent assortment to explore if you’re the type of person who likes trying new things. It’s unlikely that you would find sweet wafer snacks in cheese, tiramisu, espresso, and speculoos-orange flavors. They also offer flavors that have become more common but still aren’t considered classic among wafer snacks like matcha, peanut butter, and fruit-and-yogurt combinations.

Loacker also offers seasonal flavor additions, which is an excellent assortment to explore with Christmas right around the corner. The Speculoos-Orange is the newest addition (more of a nod to Christmas traditions than you may realize: Speculoos cookies are one of the most famous and a very traditional Belgian Christmas snack), but they also offer more classic Cinnamon and Gingerbread flavors.

Balconi, in comparison, simply doesn’t have a wide enough assortment to spare the place for unique flavors. They like their classics, and they know they’re good at them. Not much risk-taking going on there. Interestingly though, if you want a wafer snack with strawberry filling, you’re going to have to go to Balconi: Loacker offers Raspberry-Yogurt and Blueberry-Yogurt combinations, but no strawberry, classic, or with a twist. 

Which is Better?

As usual, it’s hard to say that one is 100% better than the other, considering there are many caveats to evaluating the product they produce. 

Both Balconi and Loacker are companies with a long history and well-reviewed pedigree. They wouldn’t still be in the wafer snack-producing business, putting thousands of people to work if they hadn’t been able to carve out their specific niches.

So if you ask people who’ve tried them both, you’ll likely get different opinions on the subject simply because different things matter to different people. Both Balconi and Loacker wafer snacks have their fans - and for a good reason.

So let’s break down the pros each company has going for it, and you decide which collection you’d like to explore first.

- The Packaging

When it comes to packaging, the two are equal. Nothing is out of standard with the packaging of either Balconi Wafer Cubes or Loacker Quadratini. Both come in colorful glossy plastic bags, vacuum-sealed to keep the wafer snacks inside fresh and crunchy as long as possible. 

It may seem that the material used for the Balconi Wafer Cubes packaging is a little thicker and sturdier than the Loacker Quadratini one. But in the end, both serve the same purpose - prevent the wafers from being exposed to oxygen and pathogens - and both do it well.

As long as you ensure that the packaging is tightly sealed, you can even keep the wafer snacks in the bags without fear of them going stale.

- The History

If you’re the type of person who trusts the experience, Loacker Quadratini is the one to pay attention to. First of all, Loacker has over a quarter of a century of experience over Balconi. It was established in 1925 vs. Balconi’s 1952. Secondly, wafer-based snacks are the primary product of Loacker’s. It’s what they’ve chosen to specialize in ever since they transitioned from a small bakery to an industrial factory.

Balconi, by comparison, is primarily a pastry-focused company. While it has earned a solid niche in wafer snacks, its main products are sponge cake-based, like Swiss Rolls, Rollini, and Snack Cakes.

So if you want to try the one that’s older, Loacker is the one to go with. If you just want a wafer snack with history, then both Balconi and Loacker fit the description to the T.

- The Flavors

Both of these companies offer their clientele some of the best wafer snacks that can be found on the current market. So the question is not which of them produces better wafer snacks (they’re both as good as can be), but

  • What kind of flavors do you prefer;
  • What ratio of filling-to-wafer do you like;
  • How sweet do you like your snacks?

If having a varied choice of options is what matters to you, then undoubtedly Loacker Quadratini assortment is the one to explore first. It offers a good balance between the classics (chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut, lemon), the once-upon-a-time-novelties that have become common (cappuccino, matcha, coconut), and unique flavors that few other companies offer (cheese, tiramisu, Speculoos-orange).

On the other hand, if you like your classic flavors (chocolate, hazelnut, strawberry) and prefer a sweeter taste and a higher filling-to-wafer ratio, then test the Balconi Wafer Cubes first. If lack of options is the biggest con Balconi has going for it, then the flavor and texture are its strongest pros. Many reviewers have noted that Balconi cubes are more generous with filling than most other similar products (including Loacker), but some have complained they can be too sweet. 

That said, the sweetness level can be complicated to gauge, as everyone’s preferences are different. Maybe the classic chocolate flavor is too sweet for you, but the dark chocolate hits just right? This one you can only decide on if you actually try both Balconi Wafer Cubes and Loacker Quadratini, comparing the similar flavors. 

- The Decorative Aspect

Neither Loacker nor Balconi have yet come up with any unique decorative aspects for their packaging. If you’re looking for gift boxes or festive tins for a loved one who loves sweet wafer snacks, then, unfortunately, you won’t find what you’re looking for here.

Both packaging designs are standard, with no embellishments or exciting patterns. Loacker does come in brighter packaging, with more stark colors used for the background, but that’s pretty much it.

You don’t come for either Balconi Wafer Cubes or Loacker Quadratini because they’re prettily packaged; you go for them because you enjoy the taste. 

In this aspect, they’re both weak, I’m afraid.

- The Price

Comparing the price between the two is tricky, mainly because of the differences between the packaging sizes. However, they do stay in roughly a similar price bracket.

Standard Balconi Wafer Cubes come in 8.8oz (250g) bags, and their average price is around $3. Loacker Quadratini comes in two different sizes: the smaller bag is about 4.4oz (125g) and is priced at about $3. It may seem like Loacker wafers are twice the price of Balconi ones, but the larger bag weighs 8.8oz (250g), similar to the Balconi cubes, and costs around $4, only around a dollar difference between the two. Big bags for specialty flavors (matcha, tiramisu, fruit with yogurt, etc.) weigh a little less at around 7.75oz (220g) and cost roughly the same.

If you prefer Loacker Quadratini, a dollar isn’t worth settling for Balconi ones, especially if you’re keen to explore the more novel and unique flavors.

Visit Yummy Bazaar’s Online Snack Store for the Best Sweet and Savory Snacks:

With Yummy Bazaar’s help, you can easily order snacks online from the comfort of your couch! Explore our cookie and nut selections for the sweeter treats, including crunchy wafer snacks (with a wide selection of Balconi and Loacker treats right there), gourmet-grade chocolate, and seasonal novelties, like the wide assortment of gingerbread and amaretti cookies for the upcoming Christmas season.

Or go ahead and check out the chip and cracker assortments if you prefer your snacks on the savory side. Our carefully curated collection includes snacks from all over the world, with beloved classic flavors like classic salt, nacho cheese, and pepper mingling with white and black truffles, seaweed, and Taiwanese oyster omelet. We even have seaweed and beef & jerky selections for those who need help finding their favorites nearby. 

All you need to do is stack the online cart with your favorites, and then we’ll take it from there, ensuring the snacks get delivered safely to your doorstep ASAP.

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