It never gets old. Strolling through the narrow streets of Boston’s North End, known affectionately as “Little Italy,” is always a multi-sensory stimulating event. From the sumptuous smells of homemade pasta dishes wafting from the small restaurants, the vibrant New England-accented banter of the pedestrians, to the colorful and festive façades of the shops and bars, tourists and locals alike flock to the area any time of the year. And of course, the best Boston cannoli.
There’s an amazing array of things to do in Boston, but the best reason to come to the North End is to devour the celebrated cannoli. All other pastries pale in comparison and none better can be found. Anywhere. Period.
A rolled up, deep-fried but flaky shell generously jammed with fresh, rich, and slightly sweetened ricotta cheese cream filling then dusted with confectioner’s sugar, the cannoli comes as close as anything to heaven on earth.
Founded in 1942 by Mike Mercogliano, Mike’s Pastry is famous for its consistently long lines, especially during the summer, which sometimes stretches out the door and down the street. Even though they also sell cookies, biscotti, cream puffs, assorted loaves of bread, and numerous other baked goods, they are renowned for their numerous and dazzling variations of cannoli. Mercogliano, who passed away in 2012, was quoted in a Boston Globe article, “If you want low-fat cookies, don’t come in Mike’s – they taste like clay.”
Modern Pastry Shop, another authentic Italian bakery, has been owned and operated by three generations encompassing 70 years of baking assorted Italian treats in the North End, and boast over 150 years of “Old World” Italian recipes and techniques. “The world may have changed since the 1930s, but our original recipes and time-honored traditions for creating our confections have not,” the family claims. Modern is always busy, though not to the state of chaos as Mike’s.
Holy cannoli! Read the verdict of the Great Boston Cannoli Challenge in WaveJourney
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