Verona's Twirly Girl Baking Company makes pretzels you'll enjoy eating | Restaurant Reviews | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Verona's Twirly Girl Baking Company makes pretzels you'll enjoy eating

Crunchy snacks in exotic flavors such as curry, and fennel and orange

click to enlarge Twirly Girl's "fennel and orange" pretzels - PHOTO BY LISA CUNNINGHAM
Photo by Lisa Cunningham
Twirly Girl's "fennel and orange" pretzels

There's a lot to like about hard pretzels. The cool, loopy shape. They're a lower-fat snack alternative to chips, and they stay crunchy for a long time. Introduced to the New World by the Pennsylvania Dutch, they were local long before eating local was a thing.

So why are bowls of pretzels left untouched at parties? For all their positive attributes, pretzels often taste pretty blah — like compressed paper covered in salt chunks.

In a snack industry that covers everything in everything, there isn't much to entice the more adventurous pretzel-eater, besides a dusting of "honey-mustard." (The chocolate-covered pretzel is awesome, but that's a candy bar with a pretzel inside.)

Fortunately for Pittsburghers, there's Verona's Twirly Girl Baking Company, where Julie Steinhaus makes multi-grain hard pretzels in intriguing flavors. Like "fennel and orange," which delivers a slightly sweet pretzel whose aromatic seasonings call to mind a sunny Mediterranean afternoon, rather than a dark, beer-soggy tavern. Still sweet, but also savory and spicy are the curry pretzels — like an Indian meal compressed into a crispy nugget. Other flavors include: rosemary, chipotle, snickerdoodle, and garlic and parmesan.

The pretzels are large-format — their "tubes" at least a ½ inch thick — and are packaged pre-broken up for easy snacking; they are satisfyingly crunchy but not so dry they drain your mouth. (Butter is among the ingredients.) Sure, they cost more than standard pretzels, but it's a good bet party-goers won't leave these snacks languishing.

Available at many local grocery and specialty stores. See list at

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