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Where are your top pastries locations and pastries in Italy? Maybe Milan ?

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Hey guys,
I've just arrived to Milan late last night. I'm looking for some great, unique pastries, that one can't find in the United States. If you have any suggestions or mind-blowing awesome food, please kindly share :)

I am a baker and enthusiast of great adventures, combining the two = Trip to Europe for awesome pastry adventure (with a backpack and a tote bag to survive on for the next 4 months)!
Initially I was supposed to stay in Denmark for a week or so longer but some unexpected scheduling complications came up so I had to come down to Milan a month early. Anyhow, I won't bore you guys with the details.

Any and all ideas are welcome!! Thank you for reading.

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  1. 3 places worth visiting in Milan:

    Pasticceria Martesana - Quintessentially Milanese in atmosphere (= hyper-stylish, sophisticated), lovely pastries. The only problem is that they're quite some distance away from the city centre, in a non-descript shopping centre in an unprepossessing suburb.

    Ernst Knam - Has a reputation particularly in chocolate. Definitely some interesting stuff, and more creative than Martesana. However I do have to say in my own personal opinion the quality was maybe marginally lower - which is not to imply bad in any sense, just not quite at the same level.

    Marchesi - Easily the most central, and atmospheric in an old, fusty traditional way. This is the place to go for Italian classics. You won't find much in the way of originality, but the quality in the classics is excellent. Avoid at breakfast-time, though, unless you really enjoy fighting 20-deep queues.

    If you have the chance to hop on the train, one place in Italy that must not be missed, IMHO perhaps the epicentre of pastry in Italy (although this is very subjective and very regional too) is Prato in Tuscany. Here you will find 3 shops that manage to put even the above listed in Milan into a second class:

    Nuovo Mondo - Dead centre, tiny hole-in-the-wall shop. Fantastic interpretations of Tuscan classics. Equally good original pastries. Particularly superior cornetti if you're there for breakfast.

    Luca Mannori - Just outside the walls enclosing the centre, an easy walk from the station. On creativity and modern pastry-making Mannori really eclipses the competition. It's possible to spend an afternoon just sampling various things (I did). Be aware that the "Sette Veli", although lovely, isn't the same one that won the competition, though. I would get it anyway because it's really one of the best things in the shop.

    Biscottificio Antonio Mattei - If you take a path from Nuovo Mondo to Mannori, you'll pass by this biscuit shop just south of the central piazza. I can't claim to have tasted all biscotti in Italy, but these are in my view the best I've ever had and probably the best in Italy; it's hard to imagine doing any better. The Tuscan style (cantuccini) are small, not big, which in this case only makes them that more ridiculously addictive. I've eaten an entire bag, in the same way you might do with a packet of crisps.

    And if your travels take you down to Rome, the one must-not-miss is Cristalli di Zucchero. The shop on Via di Valtellina has the better selection but is far out in the suburbs; the shop on Via di San Teodoro is central although as you might expect tends to get busy. The cornetti here define the ideal for Italy; these are almost certainly the best you'll ever have. It's a must-stop for breakfast. The cornetto con crema is sublime. However you'll have a difficult time resisting the lovely cakes too, and I advise that you don't. Return as many times as necessary to complete the sampling process.

    I should also note that the Gambero Rosso has a guide devoted to pasticcerie - which seems to be very reliable: everywhere I've listed here is both in the guide AND gets very high marks indeed. They clearly know what they're talking about - I found these places *before* seeing the guide so they just provided independent corroboration.

    1 Reply
    1. re: AlexRast

      Thank you so much for these detailed information.
      But I got your message too late, I've been at a remote location for a while with no internet access and have already left Milan and Rome :(
      I am going to go back around September but to Sicily.

      But I will keep the places in Milan you mentioned in mind since it will be on the way to Sicily!

      If you'd like to follow, I've started a blog in a travel forum first since I am currently having issues with posting pictures on chowhound.. they are trying to recreate the problem and fix it so in the meanwhile, my reports on pastries in Europe will be delayed on chowhound.

      I am TheObessiveBaker on Fodors -
      http://www.fodors.com/community/europ...

      1. re: foodeye

        Thank you foodeye, I totally forgot David Lebovitz blog!
        I gotta do some research on his before heading to my next place.
        Currently in a farm on the outskirts of Florence and will be leaving here after tomorrow .. I got a day or so to do some reading!

        1. re: TheObessiveBaker

          David was recently in Sicily, too, for the 2nd time. I don't think you can go wrong there for baked goods!

          If you are going to Catania, I was a big fan of this place for cappuccino and cookies; http://it-it.facebook.com/pages/Pasti...

          And this was the best I tried in Taormina: http://www.paginebianche.it/pasticcer...

          I will check out your new blog.

          Buon viaggio!

          1. re: foodeye

            Milli Grazie foodeye!
            I am going to Sicily in September and will keep the places you've mentioned.

            I have heard good things about the Pasticcceria in Sicily as well so I'm excited. I was about to give up hope for Italy before I heard about Sicily.. haven't had much luck at all so far!