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Pastry Break - Pasticceria Alati-Caserta

Posted by Emily / April 11, 2008

Friends, last weekend was the pits. The sun was shining, the air was warm, people were smiling on the sidewalk, and I was stuck inside. I spent almost the entire weekend chipping away at a monstrous pile of work that should have been done a month ago. I swear, my backside has been permanently misshapen from having sat at my desk chair for too long.

Around 3 o’clock on Sunday afternoon, I was desperate for a break. And by break, I mean I needed some sugar ASAP. My roommate recommended her favorite high-energy snack: oatmeal with hot chocolate mix and peanut butter (she is literally a genius). But I was also desperate for photons, and I must admit I wanted to waste as much time as possible, so I decided to head out to Pasticeria Alati-Caserta near the Jean-Talon market.

When I got there, the place smelled amazing – like I’d just walked into a giant box of fresh cannoli.

I knew what I wanted to get as soon I approached the counter: the code d’aragoste, or lobster tail. This creatively named confection has a flaky pastry crust surrounding a creamy ricotta cheese filling (it also comes with a cream filling). But beware – these pastries are about as big as a whole lobster. Not even my superhuman sweet tooth could knock off even half of one in a sitting (luckily, I had all night).
The bakery also offers a wide selection of cookies and biscotti that really are better than what most Italian bakeries have. I often find Italian cookies to be too dry unless they’re dipped in a hot drink. But all of Alati-Caserta’s cookies can be eaten straight. The biscotti, which come in standard flavors like pistachio and chocolate-cranberry, have a soft, rich, rather un-biscotti-like texture. They would probably get harder after a day or two of sitting in the cookie jar, but mine never last that long.
And then, there is the torta alla mandorla, or almond torte. This decadently sweet dessert was off-limits to me last Sunday. I knew that if indulged in just one sugary slice, I would have been hopping around my room like a crazy person for about fifteen minutes before abruptly crashing and falling asleep at my desk. And as much as my cat would have enjoyed the performance, I needed a more sustained sugar high.
Here’s where the marzipan vegetables come in. Not only did they provide a delicious and convenient way to keep me typing into the wee hours, they are also super cute.
Alati-Caserta offers lots of other treats, including cannoli (I doubt I could tell the difference between these and Roma’s, meaning they’re pretty darn good), and a lemon meringue tart (which tasted wonderful but neither traveled nor photographed well). A pound of cookies costs $13 and almost all of the pastries, including the marzipan produce and the cannoli, are $2.50. The code d’aragoste costs about $5, but my memory’s a bit fuzzy on that one and I can’t find my receipt.

Thanks to the yummy biscotti I’m munching on as I type (can chocolate crumbs cause a Mac to malfunction? I hope not), this weekend is shaping up to be a great deal more pleasant than last weekend!

Pasticceria Alati-Caserta
277 Dante
Hours: Monday 10am-5pm, Tuesday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday-Sunday 8am-6pm.
****cash only****



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