Cannoli de Palermo, Your Neighborhood Pastry Peddler
A few weekends ago, I was walking down Thames when a cyclist stopped me in my tracks. Very abruptly. The funny thing is, the driver wasn’t even moving. Nor even on the bike.
Instead, the bike had become a type of converted kiosco, filled with brimming baskets of cannoli and sfogliatelle. The cyclists were two pastry chefs, donning aprons powdered with sugar and caressing pastry bags of sweet ricotta. They had parked their bike in front of Thames 1891 to sell these sweet, flakey pastries to the beautiful –and always hungry– people of Palermo.
Although I am a giant foodie, I don’t have the most immaculate taste buds. Give me a cookie, and as long as it’s sweet and chocolatey enough, I’m happy. I know good food from bad food, but not great food from amazing food. However Chiara, my lovely Italiana friend and dinner party planner, was by my side, standing at attention while purchasing her sfogliatelle, ready to compare these little wonders to those of Italy.
Her oooh‘s and aaah‘s confirmed not only the deliciousness of the pastries, but their authenticity as well. As I whole-heartedly indulged in mine, she engaged in one of her spa-talian (the linguistic combination of Italian & Spanish) conversations with the two pedaling pastry chefs to find out more about them and their sweet treats.
As I raised the cannoli to my mouth, crunched down, and let the ricotta dribble to the outskirts of my lips, I made sure to eavesdrop. I too wanted to befriend these fine Italian bakers. As they brushed cheeks and said their hellos, the introductions were made between Chiara and the chefs: Fiona, an English expat from Cornwall and Facundo, an Argentine native. Where’s the Italian, I thought, swooping my head from side to side in search of their Italian counterpart, letting clouds of powdered sugar waft from the cannoli to my shirt in the process. (I swear, they shouldn’t let me out of the house without a bib.) But no, no Italian was to be found. That’s when inquisitive me perked up and I, with a shirt speckled in sugar and the corners of my mouth stained white with ricotta, began the interrogation process.
What I discovered was a beautiful, surprising story of love and passion. Just as the two aren’t Italian, they weren’t bakers either. Fiona was a traveler, venturing through South America, when she first came to Buenos Aires and decided to stay. She quickly fell in love with the city and then Facundo, who at the time was an information technology consultant. Fast-forward a few years and the couple was traveling through Sicily together. It was there that they discovered the beautiful, handcrafted delicacies of Italy. Upon their return to Buenos Aires, their kitchen converted into a research lab and they experimented with countless recipes and ingredients to perfect the taste, smell, and vision that is the cannoli.
Needless to say, they’ve perfected the pastry as well as other Italian favorites including cornetti all pistachi (pistachio croissants), sfogliatelle (the flakey, shell-shaped pastry pictured below), and bronzi (a delicious, dark chocolate cakelette), amongst others. Cafes in the area have realized there’s nothing quite like an Italian pastry to complement a flat white; hence why you’ll find Cannoli de Palermo pastries at coffee connoisseur favorites, such as LatteNte and Felix Felices. The couple’s loyal patrons check the Cannoli de Palermo Facebook page often to see where the bakers will be pedaling to and selling that day, but it’s guaranteed you can find them Saturday afternoons in front of LatteNte (Thames 1891). 15 few pesos later, you’re savoring your very own cannoli, complete with chopped pistachios on one end, semi-sweet chocolate pieces on the other, and a candied citrus peel to top it all off.
Cannoli de Palermo
Contact information and menu can be found on their Facebook