For the first time in my life, I’ve had a taste of cannoli, an iconic Sicilian pastry. It’s a tube-shaped sweet treat made of a crusty outer shell and creamy ricotta cheese inside it. I didn’t even know this yummy dessert existed until my friend brought us to the San Gennaro Feast in New York City’s Little Italy on the 13th of September. (Looking back now, I found that cannoli’s a favorite that it’s even mentioned as an improv line in The Godfather.
Back to the Feast of San Gennaro: the feast celebrates the patron saint of Naples, and for 11 days, Little Italy celebrates for 11 days (September 12-22). This festival started way back in September 1926 when the immigrants from Naples, Italy gathered at the Mulberry Street in lower Manhattan. These days, the Feast of San Gennaro is something that is enjoyed by millions of visitors.
The roads were blocked off and the streets of Little Italy were lined up with food vendors and game booths. The place was packed, groups of young men and women singing, cheering on players of games, walking about with giant stuffed animals they won as a prize. Overall, the mood was jolly. We squeezed our way to Napoli Pastry Co. and bought a box of vanilla and pistachio cannolis, and this is where I got my first bite – wow! I’ve been missing out, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen this in the menus of my favorite Italian restaurants back home (or I may have not been paying attention). I found that there is a cannoli eating contest (which we missed) – that would have been a blast to witness!
Glad to have been to the San Gennaro festival, it was truly one of a kind. Lucky us to have scheduled our trip to NYC at this time of the year too. The city never fails to surprise us.