The sight of those mouth-watering Sicilian desserts, cannoli and cassata, displayed at Antica Foccaceria San Francesco's booth at the Madison Square Eats fair made me renege on my vow to jump start my low-carb diet.
Yes, they do look that inviting. Everyone's familiar with cannoli, those fried pastry tubes filled with creme, but it was the first time I laid eyes on another dessert from Palermo, Sicily - the cassata.
Of course I had to try both! Lest you think I'm a total pig, I managed to restrain my sweet tooth and did so on separate days - I'm happy to report that both were excellent - the cannoli's creme lighter and fluffier compared to those I've tasted elsewhere, and the cassata's green icing sweetness was tempered by the creme inside. In each case, I polished off the dessert in front of in a matter of minutes, and adamantly refused to share with anyone.
And whom do we have to thank for these delightful desserts? Italian import Antica Foccaceria San Francesco, quite a mouthful. They have been around in Italy since 1834, and have branches in Palermo, Naples, Rome and even in the north, Milan. If your Italian is up to snuff, then take a stab at browsing their website.
If you haven't heard of them, well can't blame you since based on my chats with their staff, currently there is no presence in New York. The organizers of Madison Square Eats invited them to participate, and voila! Seems such a long way to come for only a month-long food fair, as I pointed out to the bemused cashier. Perhaps they would consider setting up an outpost here in Italian-food obsessed (or just plain food-obsessed) New York City, I suggested to another crew member, pointing out the success of other Italian food concepts, like nearby Eataly.
Hopefully my subliminal pleas, along with countless diners' I'm sure, will amount to something, but in the meantime, you have only two weeks to savor their desserts, meat-filled rice balls, pasta and other Italian goodies at Madison Square Eats - get 'em while you can!