When I went to school in Philadelphia, an essential component to my foodie explorations was a monthly pilgrimage to Isgro Pasticceria in South Philly (1009 Christian St., Philadelphia). I used to bring home a box of cannolis from there on the holidays, despite some major flak from the TSA (the major question: Is ricotta a liquid?). Year in and year out, I still think Isgro has the best cannolis, and I think it’s about time they were featured on ETW. Isgro’s is the type of old-school Italian bakery that once graced most major Northern metropolises, and they have been doing business in Philly since 1904. The difference is, Isgro’s is still here, and they are baking up pastries and cookies like it is still 1940. Stepping into Isgro’s is like stepping back into time, from the retro store, to the gruff but friendly service, to the shelves piled high with cannoli shells. There is definitely too much to chose from, so long story short, get the cannoli. The traditional type, filled with ricotta with chocolate chips my favorite, but you can also get special chocolate or mascarpone varieties. However, I think the ricotta strikes the perfect balance of a sweet, but not too sweet, filling and super fresh crispy shell, which is filled to order. The filling to order is essential – as it preserves the integrity of the crispy shell. M pointed out that Isgro’s website is Bestcannoli.com and while that is pretty somewhat boastful – we think it’s true!Beyond that, Isgro’s serves a huge variety of Italian-American favorites like pignoli, biscotti, Rum Baba, Sfogliatelle and tiramisu. On the American dessert side they have heaps of fruit tarts, brownies and spritz cookies. On our last visit, there were even special pastries and cookies dedicated to the Pope’s 2015 visit (and Isgro’s was even tapped to make him dessert). Everything we tried there has been excellent, but we keep coming back for the cannoli. If you are in Philly, definitely give Isgro’s a try, if you like cannolis it is an absolute must.We wish we lived closer!
Tag Archives: cannoli
D’Amato’s (1124 W Grand Ave., Chicago, IL) is the type of place that hasn’t changed in decades. Like Bari, D’Amato’s is carrying on the tradition of the old Italian enclave that once existed (and now exists in pockets) on West Grand Avenue in Chicago. Carrying it one step further, this cash-only place has a ornate, copper cash register from the 1920s. We tried to get a video of it in action, but we were so mesmerized that we couldn’t even get a proper shot. However, go take a look for yourself, we know you will be mesmerized too.
The stock in trade at D’Amato’s is classic Italian American baked goods and thick squares of coal-fired Sicilian pizza. They are known for their cannolis – you can even get a giant cannoli filled with miniature cannolis, one of our favorite things in existence. For Lent, they also are famous for their zeppole, the Sicilian fried doughnuts, which were superlative. We also tried another assortment of Italian treats including sfogliatelle and chocolate dipped cookies. Everything was tasty but the zeppole were standouts, and we really look forward to trying their Sicilian pizza!