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Nov 26, 2003 06:03 PM

St. Louis: Where's the cannoli?

  • h

So I was wandering around The Hill today after a nice lunch at Lorenzo's. I might post about Lorenzo's later, but for now I just want to ask:

Where's the cannoli?

Good cannoli, not sad looking pre-filled items with fruit and jimmies. Good cannoli, like you can get in the Italian neighborhoods in other major cities...

Really. First I went to Missouri Baking Company. Just some very small sad looking cannoli with marashino cherries pushed into each end. I asked if they had any larger shells they could fill -- sorry, no.

Then I stopped at Vitale's: they had the same tiny cannolis with cherries. I asked if they could fill any of their larger cannoli shells (which they sell separately) without adding cherries. They didn't have any filling made, I was told.

Finally, into Amighetti's Bakery. Their version was the same as the two above, plus chocolate jimmies. Not what I was looking for. I explained I was looking for the larger size, filled to order. The nice woman at the counter suggested I cross the street and ask at Vitale's...and when I told her I'd already done that, she suggested Missouri Baking Co. When I told her they didn't have them either, she said I was out of luck as these are the only 3 Italian bakeries on The Hill.

How sad. Is it true -- is there no bakery in St. Louis that makes large cannolis, fills them to order, or at least doesn't shove marashino cherries into the ends?

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  1. pick the cherries out if you don't like them. The ones at Missouri bakery are better than any I've had since moving to boston (where they are made way too sweet). Bigger doesn't mean better.

    1. I am afraid you're out of luck. The italian bakeries here are adequate, but definitely not exceptional. Some of their wares, such as the canolli, are bastardized. Your best bet is buy some ricotta and a piping bag, and fill 'em yourself.

      1. This part of the country, sadly, is lacking in alot of good food. Quality is replaced by quantity. My recent Holiday trip to the East coast resulted in a supply of some items. Bialys, Holiday Wine, German Sausage, etc. Bad planning, on my part, eliminated a trip to Corrado's (Clifton, NJ) for Lobster Ravioli (It.), It. Pastries (more than canoli) in regular & miniature sizes, Cheese (in Kansas the cheese that is supposed to be soft is hard and vice-versa. They also don't understand the diference between shredded and grated!) A Chinese grocery that offers my Cantonese supplies (Red Pork, Winter Melon Cakes). Real Kaiser Rolls (the crusty one - not the soft, icky ones out here. FYI a local Supermariet (Shoprite) was offering Lobster (fancy's over 2-1/2 lbs @ 5.00/lb, a special, yes, but out here people think that any lobster above 1-1/4 lb (I call them CHICKEN Lobster) is TOUGH!
        I also contact Berbiglia (sp??)in Mo, about wines from the Bully Hill Winery which I discovered on my last trip. The person, a supposedly informed wine person, didn't even know about the company but did say that someone also asked about it and if I would come in an fill out a form, perhaps they can get it for me as NO WINE CAN BE SHIPPED INTO KANSAS (sic). It's an uphill struggle.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Mimi Schmidt

          What went you into the wilderness to see? You should have known when you moved to Kansas City that you would not find the things you found on the East Coast; you came from the New York Metro area and went into the Great Plains... plain being the operative word. And by the way, Bully Hill is a regional wine. One of the Taylor brothers of Taylor winery fame opened his own winery after the Taylor "name and legacy," as he put it, was sold ("sold out," he says). I think it's only available in a limited area, such as New Jersey, where you found it at the ShopRite supermarket liquor store. I was also told that it isn't illegal to ship wine into Kansas, but it must be sent to a dealer, not to an individual - to someone or some entity that has a liquor license.
          Come back to New Jersey if you want New Jersey foods...

          1. re: snookie2

            "They have my name and my heritage, but they didn't get my goat." Walter S. ______, Bully Hill.

            In fairness, Bully Hill isn't exactly a household name in wine, even for "supposedly informed wine person(s)." That said, if you ever get over near St. Louis, there's at least one store in Illinois that has, or has had, a decent stock of Bully Hill -- so there's at least one Illinois distributor that can get it.

        2. Do you know where I could find a recipe for the Missouri Bakery Company Cannoli?

          1. Yes, it is true. We aren't the East Coast. Thank goodness.

            You think it's bad now? Try 30 years ago. We couldn't get anything here! No one KNEW what a cannoli was, much less where to buy one. That's why I learned to cook. I made myself dim sum, cannoli, fancy pastas, breads, everything I couldn't buy. Still do.

            2 Replies
            1. re: k_d

              Good for you! You learned to adapt, instead of just complain. My hat's off to you. I have lived on the East Coast all my life and I like it here. But I don't begrudge anyone moving away for whatever reason. But if you go somewhere, know where you're going and what you'll find when you get there. Don't go blindly and then complain that this place that's totally different from what you left isn't anything like what you left.... Garrison Keillor told a story (which I will shorten considerably) about the Norwegian settlers in Lake Wobegon, who got there and found it was just like home, so they settled, forgetting that the way it was was why they left Norway in the first place. You have things in the Midwest that we can't get here, I'm sure, but I don't miss them because I don't know them. And you miss things you know from the East Coast, but you've planted yourself there, so you either do without or adapt, as you have done; you don't complain about it and whine that nothing is as good as it was in New York or New Jersey. You probably have cleaner air than we have, and you can't buy THAT in a supermarket.

              1. re: snookie2

                I feel I need to explain a little. I was just a child when we moved back to the States some 40 years ago. I knew "exotic" foods because my mom and dad were adventurous people and my dad is Chinese. Our travels exposed all of us kids to different foods, so while I know little about living elsewhere (having been here in the Midwest so long), I have always been fortunate to know foods and cultures from elsewhere. So I'm not an old East Coaster who moved here voluntarily (Mom and Dad never asked me where I wanted to live! LOL), but rather a Midwesterner who knew about food cultures and wanted to duplicate them in my home, when I wanted them, rather than only when I was traveling.