On a trip to Alati Caserta over the Easter weekend, it was the little marzipan lambs with Italian flags on toothpicks that told me: this place is the real deal: the food would be as genuine as the vibe. Alati Caserta focuses on different treats as the seasons advance. Now, as summer arrives, they are celebrating lemon gelato with bright yellow display cases.
But first things first: you go there for the cannoli. A crisp shell that shatters a bit as you bite into it, first-class ricotta cheese. Not too sweet. Somehow light and filling at the same time. The bakery does brisk trade, so you can be pretty much assured the cannoli will be fresh. They have other amazing treats, in keeping with their southern Italian roots: the Cassata Verde, a classic Sicilian dessert from Palermo made of fruit-moistened sponge cake, covered in marzipan.
Alati Caserta is right in the heart of Little Italy, directly across the street from the (in)famous Church of the Madonna della Difesa (in which Montreal’s mafia funerals sometimes take place and legend has it there is a fresco featuring Mussolini). Besides that, great benches to sit at in the tiny Parc Dante.