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It's St Joseph's Day (3/19) - get your Italian donuts

rworange Mar 19, 2007 08:34 AM

Just a reminder than on March 19th many Italian bakeries sell Italian donuts called sfingi & zeppole.

Emporio Rulli usually sells both. Victoria Bakery sells a custard filled zeppole which still ranks as one of the finest donuts I have ever eaten. Both places have shops in SF & Marin.

Melanie posted that Bovolo has zeppole today.

She also reported about a new Italian Bakery in Sebastopol called Sfoglia Italian Bakery & Cafe ... so might be something there.

Does anyone know if any Italian restaurants serve special St. Joseph's Day dishes. Here's a little on the General Board

Hope you'll report back on your finds.

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  1. pane RE: rworange Mar 19, 2007 01:29 PM

    Oh my god. I just got zeppole from Victoria and it's divine. The delicate, puffy crust is coated in sugar and filled with rich, cold custard. It was a pretty big guy, too--probably enough to share, though if you tried to take a piece of mine I'd be willing to use violence to defend it.

    For those searching for this place, note that it's Victoria Pastry (not bakery). Also, I've never had zeppole before and didn't know what to look for; when I asked if they had an italian donut, they told me they didn't make donuts and directed me to other bakeries. Ask for zeppole by name.

    5 Replies
    1. re: pane
      rworange RE: pane Mar 19, 2007 01:35 PM

      Yeah, they are amazing. They have ricotta and plain zeppole too ... but they are not even in the same class as the custard.

      1. re: pane
        megek RE: pane Mar 19, 2007 01:52 PM

        Oh, wow. Do you think these hold up for an afternoon/bart ride home to Berkeley? Or do they need to be consumed on the spot.

        1. re: megek
          rworange RE: megek Mar 19, 2007 02:02 PM

          They hold up. I think they make them in the morning.

          1. re: rworange
            Laura2 RE: rworange Mar 19, 2007 05:39 PM

            Anyone have frittelle di riso for St. Joseph's Day? That's what my mom would make on March 19. She was from the Lucca area. They are deep fried rice fritters, really delicious when hot.

            1. re: Laura2
              little big al RE: Laura2 Mar 25, 2007 12:26 PM

              Laura2 frittelle di riso are exactly the things coked up most Sundays at Danilo Bakery and cited elsewhere in this thread by my own self. Just had two. Yum.

      2. Melanie Wong RE: rworange Mar 19, 2007 07:17 PM

        I stopped in Greenbrae to check out the San Giuseppe action at Victoria Pastry and asked for zeppole. The counter lady said they didn't make zeppole but could offer me sfingi. I got the last custard-filled one. There were a bunch of ricotta ones left. This puppy cost me more than $4 with tax included.

        It cracked me up that the shell is identical to a Chinese tong sah yuen (sugar-coated puff aka ja daan or egg bomb), made with eggy pate choux (cream puff pastry), deep-fried, and dusted with granulated sugar. The custard filling was not as rich as I expected, tasting a bit starchy here.

        Image of custard-filled sfingi:

        3 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong
          Nina RE: Melanie Wong Mar 19, 2007 07:59 PM

          I saw Italian doughnuts at Hopkins Bakery in North Berkeley on Saturday -- didn't realize there was a seasonal aspect to them, and didn't try one. Not sure but I think they were custard-filled.

          1. re: Nina
            rworange RE: Nina Mar 19, 2007 08:29 PM

            Nooooo ... I was just to busy to get away for the donuts. I was dying to go to Bovolo, but just couldn't do it ... however, I could have made it to Hopkins ... who would guess. Thanks for the heads up . Next year if I'm in the area.

          2. re: Melanie Wong
            little big al RE: Melanie Wong Mar 25, 2007 09:17 AM

            I got some Zeppole from Victoria N.B. because Danilo was closed (onna counta Monday). Pretty good,big,and I agree about the custard. Like the difference between Jello chocolate pudding and Sweet Princess Darcella's chocolate puddin' with eggs and stuff. I've always felt that Victoria's is not above cutting corners in ingredient-ville(particularly in the shortening neighborhood) For $.50 more i got more real food enjoyment out of the Ricotta version. Next year I'll go back to Danilo if they have them, otherwise Victoria's is a perfectly good back-up. Incidentally,what C.M. sold you as a sfingo looked just like what N.B. was calling a zeppola. Finally, on Sundays only Danilo (Green off Grant) makes lovely frittele. In this case little gems of citrussy rice puddin fried and rolled in sugar. I'm off for some right now.

          3. Gary Soup RE: rworange Mar 19, 2007 08:54 PM

            rw, do us a favor and alert us a day or two BEFORE St. Joseph's Day next time! I walked by Victoria twice today, completely unawares.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Gary Soup
              psb RE: Gary Soup Mar 25, 2007 10:38 AM

              >rw, do us a favor and alert us a day or two BEFORE St. Joseph's Day
              so any Food DISTANT EARLY WARNINGS for Easter in teh Yeah Area?
              another thread probably ...

              1. re: psb
                rworange RE: psb Mar 18, 2008 10:24 AM

                Here's your one day before alert, Gary

            2. Melanie Wong RE: rworange Mar 24, 2007 12:22 PM

              Here's an emailed note from a shy 'hound:
              "Dan stopped by Galli's Sanitary Bakery in SSF on his way to work today to pick up Zeppole, but alas they no longer make them ("Not enough Italians live here anymore")."

              1. n
                Nina RE: rworange Apr 14, 2007 01:29 PM

                St. Joseph's Day may be long gone but Hopkins Bakery in North Berkeley still has the Italian doughnuts. I had one today, and thought it was okay but nothing special - but your mileage may vary.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Nina
                  rworange RE: Nina Apr 14, 2007 02:24 PM

                  Thank you, thank you, thank you. May not be great, but still would like to add to my list to try. I'm so bummed this year that I've had to miss so much. I'll stop by there.

                2. c
                  chemchef RE: rworange Mar 18, 2008 10:27 AM

                  Anyone know where else to get them in the East Bay, besides Hopkins Bakery? Berkeley and surrounding areas preferred.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chemchef
                    rworange RE: chemchef Mar 18, 2008 11:01 AM

                    Here's a report about Dopo from Morton the Mousse ... dinner only

                    Every now and then I see a report about Oliveto's selling zeppole, so you could give them a call.

                  2. chocolateninja RE: rworange Mar 18, 2008 12:37 PM

                    I just called Sfoglia Bakery in Sebastopol, and the woman who answered the phone knew nothing about St. Joseph's Day pastries, sfingi, zeppole or "italian doughnuts". )-; I'm very sad, as I lurve a great doughnut/pastry, and was looking forward to finding these kinds of things locally. She suggested that I call Village Bakery, but I don't think they are particularly Italian-minded so I have extreme doubts that they would have anything. Maybe I'll ask the folks at Traverso's if they have any local leads. *le sigh*

                    Sfoglia Bakery - CLOSED, now T-Rose Cafe
                    2661 Old Gravenstein Hwy, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chocolateninja
                      rworange RE: chocolateninja Mar 18, 2008 01:03 PM

                      Thanks for checking that out. If you ever drop by there and see the owner, maybe drop a hint for next year ... then again ... ya know, Sebastopol ... not so Italian and most people might not get it.

                    2. little big al RE: rworange Mar 18, 2008 05:44 PM

                      While I'm not generally a fan, Victoria Bakery on Stockton St. makes a creditable Zeppolle and open at 7;00 A.M. See you there.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: little big al
                        chocolateninja RE: little big al Mar 18, 2008 06:47 PM


                        Emporio Rulli Union Square
                        333 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94108

                        Victoria Pastry Co
                        1362 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                        106 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                        Hopkins Street Bakery
                        1584 Hopkins St, Berkeley, CA

                        Caffe BaoNecci
                        516 Green St, San Francisco, CA

                        1. re: little big al
                          lmarie RE: little big al Mar 18, 2008 07:26 PM

                          Not me. I got a zeppolle at Victoria last year on St, Joseph's day and it was a grease bomb. I've been disappointed with everything I've tried there - the hot cross buns are no better than those from cheap supermarket bakeries.

                          1. re: little big al
                            Xiao Yang RE: little big al Mar 19, 2008 08:33 PM

                            Victoria Pastry did not make Zeppole this year, only Sfingi. There was a choice of custard or Ricotta ($4.75 each). I picked up a couple of Ricotta Sfingi for my official sweets-tasters, and couldn't resisted eating a quarter of one even though I normally don' teat sweets. Everybody thought it was great, even me. Not greasy or overly sweet at all, and really stuffed with dense Ricotta with bits of chocolate in it.

                            1. re: Xiao Yang
                              rworange RE: Xiao Yang Mar 19, 2008 08:57 PM

                              Thanks for the report back. I was chained to my computer today with a project so couldn't get out.

                              1. re: Xiao Yang
                                Xiao Yang RE: Xiao Yang Mar 19, 2008 09:01 PM

                                Adding a pic... the one in the foreground has been cut in quarters already.

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