If you’ve spent anytime in Little Italy in New York, you’ll know that it is slowly disappearing, being consumed by the surrounding Chinatown. But there are still a few hold-out businesses anchoring the heart of Little Italy around Mulberry and Mott streets. One of these businesses is Ferrara
, a bakery and cafe. I’m attracted to this place for many reasons, not the least being that my Grandmother’s maiden name was Ferrara. I have no idea if she was related to these Ferraras but I’m sure there is a very good chance. When her family first emigrated to America they made their home in New York, and most still live in the area. Only my grandparents eventually moved to the west coast. And Ferrara was established about the same time my Grandmother’s family landed in New York. So I like to believe there is a connection.
In addition to the idea that I’m possibly related to the proprietors are the attractions of the gelato and pastry cases. There are two gelato cases – one inside and one out – filled with brightly colored creations. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a scoop of these confections that capture the imagination of my tastebuds but I love looking at them. I have, however, enjoyed the pastries numerous times. Ferrara is always one of my first stops when I get to New York. I purchase a selection of their little cookies, take the treasures back to my hotel room and then happily munch on them over the days of my visit.
There are several varieties of the cookies: some shaped like crescent moons; some flavored with hazelnut; some filled with raspberry or apricot; others dipped in chocolate; basically something for everyone. In addition to the cookies, one or two of the mini cannoli seem to make it into my shopping bag, too. Filled with creamy ricotta these rich little bites are the perfect size.
Although Ferrara draws its share of tourists, I love that the locals still patronize it, too. In the past I’ve been in line behind tiny Italian grandmas and fireman buying boxes of treats to take back to the station house.
I can’t speak to any of the other food here but, for me, no trip to New York is complete without a box of Ferrara cookies.
195 Grand St