Tag Archives: cannoli

PaRi Pasticceria, Concord

PaRi Pasticceria, named after owners Paolo and Rita, opened just after the new year. For some time now, they have wanted to share with Sydney some of the sweets they grew up with in their home town in Sicily in Italy’s south. A pretty little spot with parquetry floors and marble tables on the Concord strip, the shelves at PaRi are laden with glistening deliciousness and service comes with a smile and authentic Italian accents.

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They particularly wanted to serve traditional Sicilian granita with brioche, something you’ll find many enjoying in the piazza in Taormina in Italy during the hot Summer for breakfast. I tried the refreshing espresso granita (it usually comes with cream on top if you choose) and it’s generous enough to share. There are a few flavours to choose from, among them strawberry, almond and pistachio. The texture of granita varies from place to place in Italy, with PaRi’s version being a smoother sorbet style.

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The Marito and I both loved the brioche with the ricotta and pear compote

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The baba was lovely, one of the better ones I’ve tried in Sydney, as was the ricotta cake.

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The (Not So) Small People rated their Nutella ciambella.

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You’ll also find plenty of other traditional Sicilian sweets such as cannoli and Minne di Sant’Agata (Saint Agatha’s breasts), a sweet with ricotta, chocolate and candied fruit. In the next few weeks you’ll find a traditional Pignolata Messinese, something hard to come by down under.

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If you’re not into sweet stuff, there are arancini with ragu and vegetarian arancini (I really liked the spinach filling, next time I will try pistachio which I’ve never had before) as well as focaccia. There’s a breakfast and brunch menu and a small selection for lunch.

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PaRi Pasticceria, 83 Majors Bay Road Concord, Ph 02 9743 425
http://www.paripasticceria.com.au

PaRi Pasticceria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The hunt for Sydney’s best cannoli – part II

After sharing my post on Sydney’s best cannoli to an “Italians in Sydney” group, there was a bit of an outcry that I didn’t include Mezzapica.  It was not intentional, I just forgot about them (my brother-in-law too shook his head in disbelief).  Which is a bit odd, considering that at the two hundred or so Italian weddings I went to at the Mediterranean House and Festival House growing up, everyone got their wedding cake and other sweets from Mezzapica.  And we also used to buy cakes, cannoli and biscuits from there for family occasions.  But somewhere along the way my mother became a devotee of Blue Star, and this became the default cannoli location.  My first test included Blue Star, Marineve, Tamborrino and Dolcetti.  It was time for round two.

So one sunny morning, off I went to Leicchardt to Mezzapica.    I also recently tried some great cannoli at a friend’s birthday party, and she told me they were from Cavalicious, so I decided to stop in there on the way home, and a little further up the road at newcomer Mercato e Cucina.   Once again, traditional ricotta flavour had to be the benchmark.

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And yes, the masses were right.  The Mezzapica cannoli were fantastic, crunchy shell, creamy not-too-sweet ricotta.  But I have to say, Cavalicious, while a slightly different flavour to its shell, were excellent too, will definitely be buying both of these again. Mercato e Cucina’s version was probably my least preferred of all seven (gosh I am glad I did this in two parts, imagine eating seven at once) – loved the pistachio topping, but the filling and the casing, while good, just weren’t to the standard of all the others.

A good bit of time after this, I tried the cannoli from Dolcettini.  I’ve been wanting to get there for an age, but I don’t find myself in Dural often as its quite a hike.  But wow, I think the drive is worth it! Crunchy case, gorgeous filling, an all round excellent package. Right up there!

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You’ve got to admit, regardless of your cannoli preference, that it is great to be this spoilt for choice.

Mezzapica Cakes, 130 Norton Street Leichhardt, ph (02) 9569 8387
http://www.mezzapica.com.au

Cavalicious Patisserie Cafe, 213 Victoria Road, Gladesville, ph (02) 9879 7378
http://www.cavalicious.com.au

Mercato e Cucina, 297 Victoria Road, Gladesville, ph (02) 9817 9457
http://www.mercatoecucina.com.au

Dolcettini Patisserie, 829 Old Northern Road, Dural ph (02) 9653 9610
http://www.dolcettini.com.au

Mezzapica on Urbanspoon

Cavalicious Patisserie Cafe on Urbanspoon

The hunt for Sydney’s best cannoli – part I

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When I did my write up on Sydney’s best cake, cannoli – a traditional Sicilian sweet – should have featured. But my favourite cannoli were from Sulfaro in Haberfield, which unfortunately closed down (Update 2015: I hear Sulfaro has now re-opened but it is different owners and not the original cannoli!). So I thought I’d compare those from a few other Italian pasticcerie around town. Cannoli are a fried pastry filled with either ricotta, a vanilla crème patissiere or a chocolate custard. Traditionally the ricotta ones (my favourite and usually the only ones I will eat, whereas the husband goes for vanilla and the kids the chocolate) will contain chopped nuts or candied peel, and there’s also often a touch of alcohol. For a mere couple of dollars, these are a great little treat. Most places will make mini and larger size ones, and most don’t fill the casings until you order them, to prevent the pastry from going soggy. They are best eaten as soon as you can after the casings are filled with your desired flavour.

On my little trip to the Inner West, where I go regularly to the Italian delicatessans, I tried those from Blue Star, Marineve, Dolcetti, and Tamborrino. Blue Star has been around for as long as I can remember. The wave of Italian migrants to Australia in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, among them my parents, would eventually change the face of dining in Australia. But back then, they struggled to find the food and products they were used to eating at home.

Blue Star was one of the early ones, bringing a piece of the familiar to a little corner in Five Dock; their “continental cake” was a standard order in our family growing up – it was there for every birthday, christening, communion, anniversary and any other special occasion. When we became teenagers we moved away from it, wanting to try things that were modern and more “trendy”. But recently we’ve gone back to the continental cake, and it fills us with a wave of childhood nostalgia. Marineve is very similar to Blue Star, the sweet Italian nonna behind the counter, and beautiful traditional sweets in the counters are just waiting to be eaten (I also recommend Blue Star’s conchiglie biscuits). They are old school, you won’t find a website, their customers are those they’ve had for 30 years, and their children and grandchildren.Tamborrino and Dolcetti are two of the ‘newer’ ones, though still with plenty of longevity – they serve a mixture of the traditional and the new.

So onto the taste test

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The verdict? Well, frankly, they were all pretty damn good. I think they could be put into two groups in terms of style – Blue Star and Marineve in one, Dolcetti and Tamborrino in the other.

Blue Star and Marineve were more similar, and more traditional in style with a thicker ricotta filling, and chopped nuts, though Blue Star’s filling was a little sweeter. And Dolcetti and Tamborrino were similar, with the ricotta filling being thinner, probably combined with cream. Tamborrino had no nuts or peel for texture, but it did have slightly more alcohol giving it a lovely flavour. Tamborrino also had the thinnest pastry casing and Blue Star the thickest. The pastry of all of them had a good crunch, as you’d want and hope with good cannoli. So I think it depends on how you like your filling and if you like texture. Out of Blue Star and Marineve I prefer Marineve, and out of Tamborrino and Dolcetti I prefer Tamborrino. My husband and I also compared the vanilla fillings and our preference on that one was Blue Star (I also adore Blue Star’s conchiglie biscuits). But hey, you won’t go too far wrong with any of these places, and many of their other sweets.

See part II here

Blue Star Cakes, 267 Lyons Road, Russell Lea, Ph (02) 9713 9940
Marineve Pasticceria, 71 Ramsay Road, Five Dock, Ph (02) 9712 2293
Dolcetti Pasticceria, 294 Great North Road, Wareemba Ph (02) 9713 8880
Pasticceria Tamborrino, 75 Great North Road, Five Dock, Ph (02) 9712 1461

Blue Star Cakes on Urbanspoon

Marineve Pasticceria on Urbanspoon

Dolcetti Pasticceria on Urbanspoon