This time of year makes me so very happy. Not only do I get a hall pass from Karen to say things like “Che se dice?” and “Mia famiglia!” in my loud, overly exaggerated Cake Boss Italian accent, I get to repeatedly wander down to Hertel Avenue to cruise the Italian Fest for cannoli upon cannoli.
Sure, other offerings of the fest greatly appeal to me. Campi’s Pizza. Mozzerella Stuffed Meatballs from Salvatore’s. Steak and dandelions from Lombardo’s. But if I only had $4 in my pocket, my lone purchase would be “un cannolo.”
So because EVERYONE loves them, I’ve taken the liberty to give you everything you need to know about the cannoli offering this year – from price, to location, to the most important taste factor. But let me point out that only ricotta filled cannoli are under consideration. Any substitute for that is un-Italian and just plain wrong.
Here’s the cannoli vendor lineup, in no particular order.
Tombak’s: The bakery got its start in the Broadway Market and now serves the local farmer’s market scene. One location near Commonwealth boasts six varieties and the least expensive cannoli on the street at $2.50. Slightly thin filling but very tasty!
Angelo’s: Very sweet filling. They also made the daring move from chocolate chips to rainbow sprinkles to serve as the garnish to the tube ends. $3.50 each or buy six get one free. Three locations throughout the thoroughfare, I bought from the one in front of Daddio’s Pizza.
Romano’s: Filled directly from the pastry bag right in front of me, this $3.50 cannoli was as fresh as they come. It also had great texture and consistency, something I found to be inconsistent across the vendors.Two shops between Crestwood and Lovering, I chose the one in front of Top Shelf Music. Also serving up the buy six get one free deal.
Gino’s: Priced at a whopping $4, I was expecting a foot long and got a cocktail wienie. In trying to be fair and objective, I just can’t see how this one could command the fest’s highest price. The pastry shell may have been undercooked and overall the cannoli was just rather bland. One location at Virgil Ave.
Muscarella’s: Not to be confused with Muscoreil’s in Tonawanda. Their Italian confection had somewhat of a frozen yogurt texture to it, but I was happy to see chocolate chips right in the filling. Green sprinkles gave it some flair. $3.50 in front of Caruso’s Italian Imports. Buy six get one free available too.
Romeo & Juliet’s: Kitty-corner to their actual restaurant at Hertel and Crestwood, their $3.50 cannoli probably has the most distinct, amaretto, flavor of them all. A thinner filling as well, but the real story here is the amaretto.And my winner is…
Romano’s provided just a perfect amount of crunch in a delicious shell, a desirable consistency, and overall great flavor. And to top it off, the baker’s Italian accent was as authentic as the cannoli too. Buon appetito!