An Adventure to Pastry Paradise

6 Feb

Coming from a town chock-full of Italian eateries– pizza, pasta, cannoli galore– it was a bit of a surprise to find that Baltimore has a neighborhood of similar culinary tastes: Little Italy.  One night on a day off from school, I ventured into Little Italy with friends in search of the famous Vacarro’s Pastry Shop, purveyor of delicious diet-busting Italian pastries.  We traveled by Collegetown shuttle, Baltimore Circulator, and foot to arrive at our destination around dinner-time, hungry, freezing, and a wee-bit cranky.  When we walked into the cafe, the fatigue and crankiness instantly dissipated: eclairs the size of my face were lined up in rows and rows of glistening “eat-me”ness, pizelles and pignolis were stacked in solider-straight lines, and behind the counter, fried cannoli shells stood at the ready for marscapone cream to be injected into them.

We sat down and paged through the lengthy menu– two pages dedicated to elaborations on caffeinated beverages, a page to gelato, and several other pages filled with descriptions of pastry combinations.  Slightly befuddled and longing for a sugar-high, I ordered a slice of tiramisu based on a recommendation from our waitress.  A few minutes later, the tiramisu was whisked out on a porcelain dessert plate, rimmed in chocolate sauce and topped with a cloud of whipped cream.  After a brisk three minutes, half of the cake disappeared into my mouth and down into my stomach.  The musk-tinged rum-soaked ladyfingers commingled with the intensity of the sugar and chocolate, initiating an eateateat sensation that took over my body…until I realized that my dinner was supposed to come soon after.

Shuffling my cake to the side, I made way for the chicken caesar salad, a disappointment compared to the pastries that surrounded me.  Offered a half of a friend’s cream puff, I set down my salad fork, gulped down some water, and popped the cream puff in my mouth.  Reminiscent of a profiterole, the Vaccaro cream puff was crispy and golden and creamy and wonderful… and then it was gone.  It was easily the most delicious dessert that I had consumed in the past three weeks, and its sugar-satiated contents fueled me all the way back to campus, allowing me to chatter the whole time about how much I wanted to go back to Vaccaro’s as soon as possible.

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