boston, Italian, Sweets, Uncategorized

Mammamaria- Boston, MA

Pasta is most likely one of the most popular dishes to make, for all ages. From macaroni and cheese to lasagna, kindergarten well into ones adulthood pasta is just universal across the board. I think we can all agree, however, that everyone cooks pasta differently. Some people prefer it to be al dente meaning a firmer bite, others like it to be soft to the point that it practically disinigrates in your mouth. No matter how you cook it though, there is a correct way to cook pasta where its firm yet is still melt in your mouth. It can be hard to tell what that should taste or feel like, but if you go to Mammamaria they’ll demonstrate how to do it perfectly. 

The North End is obviously flooded with delicious Italian restaurants, but you can feel the difference when you go into higher end restaurant like Mammamaria. The ambiance inside makes you feel like you’ve just walked into a movie scene, beautifully placed utensils and exquisite, Italian inspired design plates. Tables placed fairly close together makes it feel like a cozy trattoria. The staff are both inviting and professional, the waiters filling water glasses and clearing plates as often as they can. The beautiful decor makes for a lovely ambiance inside and hearing the room filled with laughter makes for a wonderful evening. 

The select evening menu was filled with all the delicious classic Italian dishes made with local New England products. For our antipasti, or appetizer, we selected the cheese sampler, three different cheeses with fresh colorful tomatoes and drizzle of olive oil. Local ricotta and mozzarella from Massachusetts and bufala mozzarella from Naples are all melt in your mouth on top of the fresh bread. The bufala was the best by far, so creamy and milky, bursting with flavor.

For the main course the menu was full of innovative and different combinations, but I wanted to judge Mamma’s by the classic Italian, bolognese. And Mamma Maria was this bolognese good. The meat was seasoned and cooked perfectly, the sauce delicious with a tangy taste almost and flavorful with every bite. The pasta, as discussed in the opening, was cooked as it is meant to be cooked. Not too soft, not too stiff. A good bite too it and cooked throughout, not a single strand of pasta out of line. Garnished with fresh Parmesan grated right from the block and you are beginning to feel Italian. 

Another notable menu item was the summertime squash ravioli. Filled with green and yellow squash and corn, the filling was very refreshing as well as flavorful. The ravioli pasta was done just right and you can tell delicate hands in the kitchen sculpted the tiny pillows of cheese heaven. 

Finally, a meal like this isn’t complete without a homemade, warm Italian dessert. From a list that made the decision extremely hard, this menu item was a standout. A warm puff pastry that held a mixture of delicious crisp apples and cinnamon spices topped with freshly whipped cream and chocolate and caramel drizzles. Each bite was like a new sensation of the flavors coming together in harmony, the sweet cream, tartness of the apples, and crunch of flaky pastry. 

It is the place to enjoy a spectacular Italian meal, a meal that may be as close as it gets to being in Italy. Meals like this perpetuate meaningful conversation, as you’re huddled together discussing the food as well as family conversation. One thing to point out is that a meal like this doesn’t come cheap, but its a meal few and far between. Savor, enjoy, and love meals like this. Go for it, you can figure out finances down the road, but a meal like this is worth every penny. Not just for the food, but for the memories. 


Caffè Paradiso- Boston, MA

Boston is known for its rich history, full of historical landmarks and sites wherever you walk, someone as famous as Paul Revere or John Adams may have walked there too. Along with that history, however, is the heart of where Paul Revere lived, The North End. Think colonial Little Italy full of brick buildings, cobblestone streets, and family owned local eateries. Located just across the Charles River from Charlestown, The North End is full of local Bostonians and Italians. The tourists, however, flock to the northern tip of Boston to enjoy the history including The Old North Church and the food. Italian bakers thrive on perfecting one single baked good- the cannoli.

A cannoli, from the singular cannolo meaning “little tube”, is an Italian pastry in the form of hard tubular shells filled with sweetened ricotta cheese and can contain or be topped with nuts or chocolate chips. There are three well known pastry shops all along the main drag of Hanover Street. Modern Pastry, Caffè Paradiso and Mike’s Pastry.

I have been fortunate to taste all three cannoli’s and all three are very different. Modern Pastry was rather sneaky, slipping into the back perhaps perfectly timing how long it takes to freshly pipe a cannoli. The shell was rather thick and almost cake like, not what you would prefer for a cannoli.
Mike’s is probably the most famous of all three. In the summer a swarm of sweaty, rude tourists flock in the front of the store. You see each pre piped cannoli sitting in a case as you approach the counter. The people are always efficient, trying to serve people as quickly as possible. Although the shell is better than Modern, a pre piped cannoli that has been sitting in a case doesn’t taste as fresh as you wish it could be. But do not worry, I too was fooled by this and admire Mike’s and still enjoy an excellent cannoli from them! There are other treats available, but the array of cannoli’s is simply extravagant. The cannoli’s pictured below:



On my most recent trip home, my parents introduced me to Caffè Paradiso. As soon as you walk in you are transported to Italy, walking into a small cafe where you meet with local friends. They too have a small array of different treats including the favorite tiramisu. But directly in the front and the middle are un piped, perfectly golden cannoli shells. As you sit and wait for your cannoli you see freshly piped ricotta slipping into each end of the shell. Your first bite is exquisite, the fresh sweet ricotta hitting your tongue bursting with memories of home. The shell breaking so delicately the crisp crunch is a sound you will never forget. This cannoli changed my mind, this cannoli became my favorite. The size of the cannoli is important too, Mike’s are so huge you have to eat half and save the rest tomorrow when it’s not as good. Caffè Paradiso’s is just the right size and amount for a perfect little sweet treat. If you end up in Boston be sure to grab the T to the North End and walk up Hanover and test out cannoli’s yourself. This is only my opinion, right?



Caffè Paradiso cannoli