If you live in the tri-state area then you know that bakeries are a huge part of our lifestyle. Going to a family friend’s house for dinner? Go to the bakery. If it is Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas or New Year’s Eve, out of respect, you better be hitting that bakery in the morning… Sorry local grocery store, you are not getting the job done.
As a child, I will always remember going to the bakery to pick up cannoli’s with my mom and brother for a mid-day snack on a Saturday. However, when I went away to college in Baltimore, I took it all for granted. If I wanted a sweet pastry, I had to resort to dining hall options which obviously did not meet my or anyone’s standards.
However freshmen year I stumbled upon Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop in Little Italy Baltimore. I fell in love right away. The menu was available for take-out but you could also sit down for full service and order any Italian dessert you could think of: Tiramisu, Rum Cake, Sfogliatele, Cassata, etc. They also offer an assortment of fresh gelato which you can mix and match, or choose from a selection of their giant sundaes (which is a total dream for me). Obviously any Italian café is not traditional if it does not offer any sort of caffeine. They offer any espresso drink and you more than welcome to pair it with liqueur such as Holy Water or you may know it as Sambuca (for the full menu, view here).
When I returned home to Connecticut after graduating last year, I truly was going to miss being spoiled at Vacarro’s. However when I made the decision to move to New Jersey, I stumbled upon L’Arte della Pasticceria in Ramsey, New Jersey which brought me back into “paradiso” or heaven in Italian.
Cannoli’s, Sfogiatelle, Lobsters Tails, Eclairs, Cream puffs, fruit tartes; everything you could dream of. All the desserts, gelato, coffee and even paninis are available for takeout as well as dine in at L’Arte della Pasticceria.
I would love to see more business owners open up establishments like Vacarro’s and L’Arte. They are full service bakeries yet they cater to people who crave a homemade pastry after dinner (totally guilty about this), forget to pick up a dessert or simply just want to end their night with a cannoli and decaf coffee while catching up with a friend or loved one.
These type of dining experiences truly allow you to enjoy the moment. If you ever traveled abroad, you understand that sometimes it is nice to relax with a delicious treat and drink while the waitstaff leaves you alone which is another advantage of these establishments.
Don’t stop showing your local bakery love though- they are still the MVP’s as well!