If you want pretty, Instagrammable desserts, look elsewhere. The biscuits at Pasticceria Boccione (known to most just as “the pasticceria in the Jewish Ghetto”) are not particularly beautiful, often looking a bit lumpy or burned. But they’re absolutely delicious. Soft, squidgy almond biscuits, ricotta and sour cherry tart, and some unidentifiable wedge of cake filled with candied fruit and almonds… it’s all so good. The toasted, salted pumpkin seeds are an acquired taste but also worth a try. Oh, and that burned cake? It’s meant to look that way. There used to be a papal decree forbidding Jews from selling dairy products, so Jewish bakers hid the ricotta under an extra thick layer of pastry.
Boccione is very much a no-frills sort of place, and the service can be brusque, but it’s a historic bakery in one of the most ancient neighbourhoods in Rome, and I think its popularity with locals is justified. Just like its building – a crumbling orange ruin that also looks like it’s spent too much time in the oven – Boccione is part of the Eternal City’s history.