Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day 3: North End -- Markets & Maria's

Saturday, 3/22, I took a day trip to the North End with my three food-loving friends.

I've raved about farmers' markets before. Fruits, vegetables, honey, jellies and jams -- everything bursting with color and the hearty aromas of the earth. What's not to love?

Something about this piece of architecture is both grand and comforting. Perhaps it's because the steel horizontal panels create the illusion of an indoor ceiling and thus, a living room area. I hope the couple sitting on the bench didn't think I was being creepers.


Mike's? Modern's? Forget those overpopulated destinations and keep walking until you get to Maria's Pastry Shop. Now this is what I'm talking about. Powdery sugar sprinkles. Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside (like curd, although I know that might sound like a weird reference). Sfogliatelle, or a clam-shaped layered pastry, has a stacked symmetry that resembles seashells by the seashore. Sally would want one of these...

Sfogliatelle is not lacking in the richness department. The buttery dough is drenched in shortening (or, for more authentic renderings, strutto, i.e. pork fat). The dough is then rolled up and cut into thin cylindrical discs. The center is typically filled with orange-flavored ricotta, but citron peel works just as well.

In case you were wondering, you pronounce this sfog-j'ah-TEL-e.


Amaretti is the Italian word for macaroon, which literally means "little bitter things." But I didn't find anything bitter about these. If anything, the sweet almond taste perked me up instantly. Macaroons have an elastic texture -- crunchy on the outside, soft inside. They were created during the Renaissance period in Venice, Italy. Usually, two cookies are squished together with jam, buttercream or ganache inside. Try them with ice cream or sherbet! Note the crinkles and fine sugar flecks.

Maria's Pastry Shop.

Remember, GO TO MARIA'S. You will not be disappointed. You might even get the lanky young blond guy with the Italian accent who sheepishly asked me not to tell his boss that he didn't know where the hot amaretti was stored. Don't worry, buddy, your secret's safe with me. And the readers of my blog.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. For someone who's not especially fond of rich pastries or cannolis (yeah, I know...I'm "crazy"), Maria's left me wanting more. And I did help myself to seconds of the amaretti.

Maria's Pastry Shop
46 Cross St
Boston, MA 02113

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