I am shocked that I do not have a post for Angelo Brocato yet, particularly since it may be our platonic ideal of an Italian bakery in America. First of all, you are greeted by an amazing vintage neon sign. Second, the shop has operated continuously since 1905 (not at this particular location the whole time) and thirdly, it is simply delicious! Every time we visit New Orleans, we have to give their flagship store a visit (214 N Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119, there is also a new branch with ice cream only in the MSY airport). In fact, Angelo Brocato was one of the last places we visited before COVID-19 shut everything down in February 2020. We were so happy to return in 2023!
Though we think of it primarily as a bakery, Angelo Brocato is also a coffee shop and ice cream parlor. The old school copper espresso maker is serious, and you can get any number of classic espresso drinks. However, ice cream was their original claim to fame. A native of Cefalù, Angelo Brocato himself got his start making gelato in Palermo, Sicily before emigrating to New Orleans. The original Angelo Brocato shop opened in the French Quarter in 1905, when it was a hub of New Orleans’ Sicilian immigration wave. Befittingly, there is still gelato on offer by the cup or pint, but also some of the more old-school frozen sliced ice cream treats, which you rarely find anywhere else. These vintage ice cream specialties include torroncino, vanilla and cinnamon; spumoni, pistachio, almond, and tutti frutti; and the cassata, spumoni with a cake layer.
Of course, they also have many pastries, Italian and otherwise: rum baba, cream puffs, eclairs, mini cassata cakes, and holiday specials like the St. Joseph’s Day zeppole. The cannoli are filled to order with the somewhat unorthodox half chocolate and half vanilla cream by default. All of the pastries are delicious, and who can resist a fresh cannolo? This time around, we tried the eclairs for the first time, and M particularly approved, especially since it was filled with chocolate cream. The sfogliatelle are one of L’s favorites, and she also appreciates how they are one of the few places where you can get an authentic mini Sicilian cassata cake (covered in green marzipan and filled with cake and cream – similar to Swedish princesstarta).
However, our favorite treats at Angelo Brocato are the full assortment of Italian cookies, of course. There are dozens of varieties on offer: cuccidati, pignoli, rainbow cookies, biscotti, ricotta cookies, chocolate drops, etc. They also have some rarer varieties like nucotoli (cinnamon spice cookies). You can buy cookies by the piece, pound, or even in sealed packages for some of the more popular varieties. The Sicilian representation in the cookie varieties is significant, and we particularly love their cuccidati and biscotti regina, both of which are staples for St. Joseph’s Day.
We were surprised to learn that Brocato’s moved to their current location only in the 1970s, due to its vintage flair. The store boasts a small amount of seating, but be prepared, because it is not unusual for there to be a sizable wait to order, and to get a table. On St. Joseph’s Day weekend, there was a line out the door both times we visited. Despite the crowd, it is also an interesting time to go, since on St. Joseph’s Day, they even have an altar in the back, showing the traditional elements: shaped breads, fava beans, cookies, etc.. Remaining a local staple for over 100 years, Angelo Brocato will always be one of our New Orleans must-dos. It is a great place to satiate your sweet tooth, and get a taste of bygone Sicilian New Orleans.