Every time I tell someone I live in Hoboken, they always ask me the same thing: “How is the Cake Boss?” The truth is, I couldn’t tell you. Since the show aired, people have flocked to Carlo’s Bakery like a bunch of crazies. I’m talking a 3 hour line—even during downpours and 100-degree temperatures. Seriously, people? Is it really worth it?
And then I learned that Hoboken residents can cut the line completely. So I decided to brave the crowds in the name of sugar and cream for a very important experiment: a blind cannoli taste test from three popular Italian bakeries in Hoboken, tasted by a group of pure-blooded Italians (also known as my family).
First up, collecting the pastries.
Here I am at Carlo’s showing my license. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but the line stretches way beyond CVS. Rumor has it that this is the highest grossing CVS in the country just because of the people buying water and other reinforcements while waiting to get into Carlo’s. You heard that here first.
Seconds later, I got mauled by the angry mob.
And finally, Giorgio Pasticcerie Italian, an old-school spot in my neighborhood, run by a nice family from Naples.
Finally with three bags of cannolis in hand, I ended up with this.
Can you guess which cannoli came from which bakery? Neither could the judges, who took their job very seriously. The official rules: Votes must be on taste alone. Judges cannot talk to each other until after they had voted. I couldn’t have anyone influencing each other. The judges happily obliged.
The Final Tally:
1. Cammareri’s: $3 per cannoli. Judges liked the thick, crunchy shell and the rich and creamy, chocolate-chip-sprinkled filling, which two judges said had a delicious subtle liquor flavor.
2. Carlo’s: $2.50 per cannoli. No votes. Each judge said the same thing: Soggy shell and bland filling. (Bottom line: Stick to the cakes.)
3. Giorgio’s: $2 per cannoli. The cream here contains chocolate chips and candied fruit—an authentic Sicilian filling—which gave the filling a citrusy taste. The shell was perfectly crunchy.
Want a tie breaker? My vote is for Giorgio’s for the taste—I thought the candied fruit gave it something extra. And the experience can’t be topped. The place smells like freshly baked pastries, plus I usually walk out with a free pignoli cookie. Can’t beat that!