For anyone who loves sweet, crispy, smooth, and delicately rich desserts, cannoli should be one of your favorites. In case you’re not familiar, a cannoli is an Italian pastry made with tubular fried dough and a creamy filling that usually consists of cream, a type of soft cheese—traditionally ricotta, sometimes mascarpone—and an assortment of accoutrements like chocolate chips and pistachios.
The first time I ever saw a cannoli was on TV. The crunchy pastry was featured on an episode of “The Sopranos” when I was much too young to be watching it. Watching Christopher Moltisanti almost shoot a bakeshop worker after getting impatient for a box of those sweets left an impression.
While my favorite cannoli is halfway across the world (Ferrara’s in Little Italy if you’re curious), our local bakers can surely put up a delicious fight. If the cannoli cravings ever hit you, here are a few places you can grab a box—hopefully without shooting at anyone.
With fine Italian food usually comes fine Italian desserts. Tartufo Ristorante is a go-to for those in the Pasig area. Aside from sumptuous pastas and pizzas, their cannolis (P280/serving) are also of note. For those who are planning a date night, the cannoli is a great way to end the meal with sweet memories.
Nothing but Jill’s claim to fame may be its cheese rolls, but the variety of cannolis they have available has turned into a Nolisoli team favorite. A box of plain cannoli is priced at P390 for five pieces, while the sampler set with plain, chocolate, white chocolate, white chocolate oreo, mocha with white chocolate chips, and mocha with toasted almonds costs P450.
The cannolis from Gab’s Just Desserts have ingredients that are closer to the traditional cannolis you can find in the pastry shops of Italy. The bakery uses ricotta cheese and chocolate shells for a variety of flavors. Aside from the classic cannoli with chocolate chips, it also serves oreo, pistachio, and a candied orange and dark chocolate chip versions. A half-dozen box of its classic cannolis starts at P499, while the special cannolis cost P549. You’re definitely free to mix and match flavors, though.
For an at-home Italian feast, one cannot ignore the offerings of Extra Virgin. The cannoli was the inspiration for the entire business, but the restaurant turned commissary’s menu has expanded to include a whole host of delectable Italian dishes. Since 2012, Extra Virgin’s cannolis (P290) are made with local sweetened ricotta cheese and lemon zest piped into a crunchy shell and coated in pistachios. One may not be enough, and we don’t blame you.
Cannolis are a true Italian standard, but that doesn’t strictly mean it has to stay that way. Francesco’s serves your classic cannoli (P480), but they’ve also created a version that incorporates Filipino flavors for last year’s holiday season. The “cannoli with a twist” is made with an ube and macapuno filling and queso de bola for a decidedly local and festive flavor. Our fingers are crossed that they’re bringing it back this year.