Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Italian Pastries in Brooklyn, NY

I had to order a birthday cake for a very special person during the past weekend, so I went to a very special place in Brooklyn to get what I consider the very best, at Villabate - Alba Pasticceria, located on 7001 18th Ave, in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.

You know the cakes and pastries inside are absolutely delicious when you see sign like this on the front door of the bakery. The town of Palermo, on the island of Sicily, in Italy is renown for their pastries, and the nearby town of Villabate is where the owner of the bakery originates from. Walking into Villabate's is like taking a mini trip to Italy as the shop's sights, sounds, and even the majority of customers, are all authentic Italian.

The artistry of the design and the selection of flavors in their cakes, pastries, cookies and marzipan can't be beat. You can find: Sant'Honore - Zuppa Inglese - Nocciola and Amaretto Cassata - Caffe Zabaglione - Gianduia - Torta Spumoni - Sanguinaccio - and Sfingi ( click on each link to read a description), and they will even do special requests.

A vast selection of pastries can be found here with delectable fillings such as zabaglione, vanilla rum, ricotta cannoli cream, custard and pudding, everything you can imagine, and more!

I always have a hard time choosing from all the pastries that are for sale.

The pre-selected pastry tray looked like it contained many of our favorites, yet there were ....

.......so many, many more that I would also like to try! Such a hard decision.

If you click on and enlarge the photo above, you can see some of their exquisite examples of the traditional Sicilian craft of "frutta martorana," which are bite-sized fruits made from marzipan.

According to legend, frutta martorana originated when nuns at a monastery near Palermo, Italy worried that the barren trees in their orchard wouldn't impress a visiting dignitary, and decided to model fruit in marzipan, paint it, and hang it in the trees to give the illusion of an abundant crop. You can also see some of their cookie selections below the marzipan treats.
There are 2 and three pound cookie trays for sale, already wrapped and ready to grace your table at your next special event.

Villabate also sells an assortment of fresh Italian style bread, as bread is baked hourly, and an assortment of other savory bakery treats such as focaccias (flat breads), and arancini (rice balls), mini pizza, brioche and croissants.

They also sell freshly made gelato and ices! Look at the flavor assortment!

How could I resist trying at least one flavor of gelato?

It was a hard decision but I went with a scoop of the caffe flavor and the zuppa inglese flavor gelato. Both were creamy and so delicious and I think it is imperative that I return very soon to sample some more flavors.

You can even enjoy a cup of hot espresso or cappuccino at the cafe bar in Villabate. The aroma of brewing coffee was very enticing and I would have had a cup if it was earlier in the day.

A decorative Carrettino Siciliano on display in the bakery.


Villabate is open 7 days a week, from 7am - 9pm. On weekends and holidays the line for service can be very long, so plan accordingly if you are going to visit.

If you desire a taste of Italy it can surely be found in Brooklyn, New York, and I'll be showing a few more favorite places where I shop for Italian specialties in the next few blog posts.


Also, if you enjoy writing actual letters and receiving them, Shelagh, from the delightful blog Alice In Paris Loves Art and Tea is hosting a special event called Artful Penpals . Please click on the link if you'd like more information. Hurry, as participation in the event closes on June 14, 2009!

42 comments:

Elisa Day said...

I love this post. I am going to Italy on saturday! I cant wait!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

WOW! Can you hear me all the way from Florida??? What breathtaking treats, Pat! And you're not going to believe this, but I had gelato at lunch today (chocolate). Isn't it divine?! Thanks for this post. This is some major eye candy... no pun intended. ;-) Got to go back and stare through the window at all of those amazing treats!

XO,

Sheila :-)

Missy said...

Ohhh, thank you so much for sharing! Italian pastries and desserts are one of many many things I miss about NY. One of my Italian great aunts used to make her own Zuppe Inglese and I loved it.
Eat a pastry for me, ok? :)

Elizabeth said...

Wow! I would adore this Italian bakery.
We lived in Italy 30 years ago and, I must say, to me at least Italian food is the best in the world.
Maybe I should pop over to Brooklyn!

Lucy said...

I'm going into sugar convultions just looking at those pictures. Boy I'd like to experience New York.

Trotter said...

Great post! I prefer Gelatti: just had Tiramisu... ;))

Look forward tpo reading you at Blogtrotter!!

Nola @ the Alamo said...

My stars, if I lived anywhere near there, I'd weigh 300 pounds! I could not resist those delicacies! I'm going to get a snack right now...

aliceinparis said...

Wow o wow! What a place. Is it close to you? I would have an absolutely terrible time trying to decide what to get. The choices are amazing and EVERYTHING looks delicious:)The kind of place worth visiting once a week:)
Thanks for posting the letter link:)

ARLENE said...

My SO just asked me why I was making funny noises. I'm normally more interested in the antipasti and pasta, but I would give anything to have some of those pastries and cookies. And that gelati! You sure don't see this in the red WW boxes, lol.

Barb said...

Oh you lucky girl,what a feast for the eyes and tastebuds....Barb

steviewren said...

Oh Pat! Can you hear my lips smacking from here?

Sue said...

Pat, you are now responsible for the 10 pounds I just put on while salivating over all these Italian goodies!! Sue

loretta said...

Why did you write this?? Now I HAVE to drive all the way to Brooklyn! Seriously, divinely decadent!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I don't know what I would choose first. The pastries or the gelato. I have to have to have to get to Brooklyn and that bakery sometime soon.

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

There must be one one of these places in heaven. Wow! It all looks absolutely fabulous! I think I would cry just standing amongst all that yummy.

~Cheryl said...

These are truly works of art-- just beautiful! Your music is the perfect accompaniment!

Jojo said...

You are so lucky to have such a fine bakery! We have lost so many neighborhood bakeries because of grocery store bakeries - uck!

I can go and just enjoy the beauty of the pastry and be happy!

Claudia said...

You're killing me with this post. It's maybe what I miss the most - because I cannot get an Italian pastry here. I adore those shops! And of course you had to have gelato. That's a given. I left you an award on my blog - to thank you for these wonderful posts.

M.Kate said...

Oh Pat, you are killing me with this post...gone is my diet for a long time. I think it is dangerous for me to be there..you wont be able to get me out of that shop! Love the idea of Artful Penpals..I'll have a look.hugs/M

dana said...

My keyboard is wet with drool after seeing all of those amazing desserts and reading your text about this delightful place!!! I have NEVER seen anything like that--ever!! I'm certain we don't have a spot that even comes sorta close to it here in KC.

I wouldn't know where to begin to buy something-I'd have to have an assortment like the one you pictured for starters!!

The wonderful places in NYC are endless---thanks for taking us along again on such a great outing!!

Dana

PS Our Gr.boy is due the middle of next month (thanks for asking) ---due date is actually on my dad's bd, but I doubt that she makes it that long!!! We're getting ready for a Wizard of Oz party on Sun. for the Gr. Girl's 3rd birthday. I have been making 'ruby slippers' and a 'pin the heart on the tin man game'!

Tracy said...

Sweets heaven...oh my goodness! My mouth is watering...excuse me while I grab a napkin. I would love to experience that bakery. Sooo many goodies...dangerously good! Thank goodness photos don't contain calories though--LOL! Great to catch up with you here now we're back from our trip. Thanks so much for your lovely comments--very much appreciated. It's been a good time, but a hard time to with our loss. ((HUGS))

Gracie said...

God, I just put on at least 5 kilos just watching at the pics!

Jenny said...

Just back from Italy, you've made me realise I didn't eat enough cake or gelato, but maybe just as well. Beautiful post.

Melanie said...

Ooo Pat what a wonderful place, my husband would never leave! My daughter would love the strawberry triangular cake. As far as Italian deserts go up here in the NW, TK Max sell Panettone. Delish and so fragrant.

There was a radio programme on yesterday about UK cuisine and holidays, where a lot of people were talking about the inconsistancy of food for the money you pay.

Lisa's RetroStyle said...

I think I got a sugar buzz just from reading that one! lol. What an amazing place. Thanks for sharing it with us. Delicious!!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Pat, When I read this post yesterday, I actually became a little emotional. As I started to comment, I was (as usual) interrupted by a teenager who just had to have my attention. Coming back to it this morning, I was prepared. Bakeries, especially old world style bakeries are where I grew up. My grandfather owned a bakery with his partner Angelo in Great Neck and my father owned one in Richmond Hill. Although at the time I did not love working in the stores, my memories are pure love. The cookies, pastries and breads were not exciting to me in those days, but now they are. Your pictures are beautiful and how you feel about places like this really shines through. This was a wonderful post.
♥, Susan

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I learn so much coming over here...and get so hungry! Gelato would be perfect over here...coll things down a wee bit. Thanks for sharing.

Camille said...

Pat,

You are killing me! Holy cow I miss the Italian bakeries in NJ. There are two just like this one where my family goes.

Many of the items in the bakery were staples in my home at holidays and weekends.

My grandparents came to the US via Ellis Island. They were from Palermo and Ragusa.

The plates of cookies were found at my wedding when an army of older woman, clad in black, with their little weapon-like black purses swinging from their wrists, came marching in, placing a plateful on each table. They didn't buy them, though. They made every variety.

Thanks for sharing! It was fun...even if I am sitting here drooling:)

Cheers,
Camille

Dusty Lens said...

Difficult decision, gelati or canoli?

Tara said...

There is nothing like Brooklyn for Italian food!

Strider said...

Now I'm hungry! Just stopped by to say hello. Take care my friend.

Junie Moon said...

Oh my, oh my! I just gained 15 pounds reading your post and love every single ounce of it.

Thanks for sharing the legend of the frutta martorana as I didn't know about that. And I will pop over and read about the swap project you wrote about at the end of your post.

Anna said...

I'm Italian and live in the south of Italy so I know all these pastries.Your photos are really cool.Ciao from Italy

Susan @ SGCC said...

I am swooning! The Italian pastries, cakes and cookies are the things that I miss most about New York. I can't even dream of finding stuff like that here! Sigh......

Bellamere Cottage said...

What a wonderful little dessert tour! YUMMMMMMMY! It's a good thing they're far, far away!

Blessings,
Spencer

Proud Italian Cook said...

Thank goodness Chicago has pastry shops like these, but they are getting few and far between. As the owners get up in age many of their kids don't want to put in all that hard work. Hopefully no more will close, or otherwise I'll be traveling to Brooklyn!!!

Anna said...

Ciao Pat,thanks for coming to my blog.I live in Calabria where your husband was born! Where is he exactly from?

Lily Hydrangea said...

a great story about the nuns and the Marzipan. I think I need to be visiting Brooklyn very soon.

Donna at Mourning Dove Cottage said...

Oh my! What can I say!

Hugs,
Donna

CatHerder said...

OMG I JUST GAINED 10 LBS. READING YOUR POST!

Linda Lou said...

Oh Pat!!! I used to live on 71st street in Bensonhurst!!! My first apt in the city...I don't remember this bakery, but I want one here in San DIego..or just beam me up Scotty right now!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

This is friends of ours favorite!! They've been known to drive from their home in Teaneck, NJ, for special occasion cakes from there. (Their wedding cake also came from there.) There's nothing better than an old school, Italian bakery in NY/NJ.