*Sniff, sniff* A sense of deja vu overcame me as I looked for the source of the sweet scent wafting down the street. Not overly sweet, the smell instead epitomized the familiar scent that wafts out of the oven as a cake finds its form. Or, to me, the somehow distinct scent of powdered sugar on beignets. The last time I smelled such a heavenly baking scent, I found a bread festival right across the street.
Today, though, I couldn’t figure out the source of this mysterious smell. I saw an open door down the street, and took off for…a residential building. Slightly embarrassed, but now even more determined, I continued down the street, walked quickly past a small doorway, then immediately stopped. And reversed. I definitely would’ve missed the shop had it not been for the intensity of that most lovely scent, along with the line of people streaming in like ants to an ant mound. Peering inside, I saw one of the best sights in the world: Cases and cases of delectable looking pastries.
Oh yes, today I stumbled upon Dolce Maniera, a Cornetteria famous for its convenient hours (24/7) and amazing, amazingly-priced, pastries.
Of course, this extra information is all from TripAdvisor, since I seem to be much better at accidentally finding pastries than actually researching them. But anyways. What I can attest to firsthand is the taste of these pastries: airy, fluffy, sweet, hazelnut-y, flaky, creamy, chocolate-y, perfect. These are seriously some of the best pastries I’ve had this trip, and at the best price – only a little over €3 for this spread:
From left to right, Cannoli Siciliano, Napoleon (with Nutella instead of pastry cream…but more on that later), and a Cornetti con Panna e Nutella.
Let’s start with the Cannoli. I’m really not sure how I held off eating Cannoli in Italy for this long, but I’m glad that that craziness is finally over. Cannoli is a traditional Italian dessert originating in Sicily. It consists of a tube of pastry dough filled with a cream center (traditionally made with ricotta, though some are now made with mascarpone). This Cannoli was my perfect introduction to this pastry in Italy – the shell, which was lined with chocolate, had a firm, but not quite crunchy, texture. The creamy filling was mild, with no hint whatsoever of orange (my normal cannoli nemesis).
The next pastry was previously introduced by its original name, the mille-feuille, in one of my Paris blog posts. In America, it is more commonly known by the name Napoleon. This tasty treat is generally comprised of puff pastry sheets with pastry cream in the middle. In Paris, I enjoyed one with pistachio filling and raspberries. Today, I tried one with the well-loved Nutella spread. This one was incredibly flaky and light, balanced with the slightly heavier Nutella cream.
Finally came the cornetti, which is a crescent shaped cousin to the croissant. This particular cornetti was filled with fresh whipped cream and Nutella. This was absolutely my favorite pastry of the bunch, and definitely a highlight of the trip. The whipped cream melded perfectly with the Nutella and was practically overflowing from the pastry. SO GOOD.
If you have the chance to visit Rome, you absolutely must visit this cornetteria. One thing I might’ve left out, though, about my own visit, is that I took the pastries to go. In fact, the stop at the cornetteria was a detour on my way to visit the oldest gelato factory in Italy – Palazzo del Freddo.
My mom’s close friend Amanda (thank you!) recommended this gelateria to me, and I’m so glad she did. Started in 1880, this Rome institution is known for its monstrous scoops of fresh, decadent gelato. As I found today, this is a shop that many locals frequent – check out the mob!
In keeping with the spirit of adventure, I’ve been attempting to try a different gelato flavor every time I visit a gelateria. Today, I decided on riso (rice), cocco (coconut), and pesca (peach), with some whipped cream on top.
The coconut was icy fresh, and chock full of coconut flakes. The pesca also contained an icy texture and was slightly sweeter than the coconut. The real standout for me, though, was the riso. The flavor was mild and very pure, and there were grains of sweetened rice scattered throughout the gelato. I guess if I must end my 11-day gelato eating streak, it’s good to go out with a bang…tomorrow, it’s off to Athens!