Cannoli Death Match

The time had come to see if any cannoli in the Capital Region could compare to the penultimate cannoli from the Alpine Bakery in Smithtown, Long Island.

Based on the kind suggestions of the readers of this blog, we purchased cannoli from the following:

1.  Bella Napoli

2.  Civitello’s

3.  Hannaford (in Clifton Park)

4.  Mrs. London’s

We had additional participants in this cannoli death match in the form of two close friends who were more than happy to act as objective taste testers.  I do have to say before anything else that this would not have been possible had J not been so dedicated as to drive around to each of these different places to get the cannoli.  He is really dedicated to finding good food.

J was the only one who knew which cannoli came from where.  We sliced the cannoli into four for the blind taste test.  We then thoughtfully sampled each of the four pieces and arrived at the following ranking (number 1 being the most preferred cannoli):

1.  Bella Napoli

– This was a unanimous decision, it was the most balanced cannoli.  The filling had a strong almond and anise flavor which was tasty but not exactly what I was looking for.  I would have preferred a little brightness to it but it was still delicious.  The crust itself was chewy and had  nice texture.

2.  Hannaford

–  The filling for this cannoli was probably more in line with what I had in Long Island, however it was a little too sweet, but there was a nice gingerbread quality to it.  The crust didn’t stand out with this cannoli.

3.  Mrs. London’s

– First off, this cannoli did not look like a traditional cannoli in the sense that it had pistachio pieces in it as well as lemon zest.  So while this was the most untraditional cannoli, it was still very good.  The crust was flaky and the best crust out of the four.  This was also the most expensive cannoli, ringing up at around $5 for one cannoli.

4.  Civitello’s

– This also was unanimous in that no one really liked this cannoli.  The filling was too one note, way too much cheese, not enough flavor.  The crust was okay.

While the winner of the Capital Region cannoli is from Bella Napoli, the cannoli from the Alpine Bakery in Long Island surpasses any of these competitors.

We all had such a great time performing this taste test that we have decided to perform additional death matches for the following types of food:

  • Italian Sub Sandwiches
  • Pizza
  • Mustard
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Hot Dogs

The focus for all of these death matches will be local products.  I welcome any suggestions for any of the categories on what we should be trying.

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16 thoughts on “Cannoli Death Match

  1. CARMELLA says:

    Thanks for doing all of the hard work necessary to find the winner! When you get to hot dogs, don’t forget to include Gus’ Hot Dogs in Watervliet – it is nationally recognized and is often overlooked!

  2. llcwine says:

    Glad you liked Bella Napoli’s as that’s my local fav too. Gus’s Hot Dogs is a stand in Watervliet, and you can only purchase the culinary delights they offer at the stand.

  3. Jorabi says:

    Jaycin, which cannoli had chocolate pieces, fruit pieces, other?

    • jaycin333 says:

      The cannoli that had the fruit pieces and some pistachios were the cannoli from Mrs. London’s. The only other cannoli with chocolate pieces were the ones from Hannaford.

      • Jorabi says:

        But I know that Bella Napoli has fruit in their filling, so I was wondering which other ones did (so I don’t bother trying them)!

      • jaycin333 says:

        Hi – Bella Napoli doesn’t have fruit in the filling, only Mrs. London’s did. The cannoli from Hannaford had chocolate pieces in it. The cannoli from Bella Napoli and Civitello’s did not have any chocolate or fruit in the filling.

      • Jorabi says:

        I think you are mistaken — I have pleaded with Bella Napoli for decades to not put fruit in their filling (because I otherwise think it’s great) and they flatly refuse. So when I buy a platter of pastries for Easter, I always have to order it without cannoli and then get them elsewhere and add them in myself. None of my family likes the fruit either.

        But if you are saying they finally came to their senses and deleted the fruit, I’m there! Will try one and report back.

      • Jorabi says:

        Sadly I must report that I was correct. I had a Bella Napoli regular cannoli today and it was loaded with fruit pieces. It also had chocolate bits. And the shell was too thick.

        Are there two Bella Napoli’s? Why were yours so different? I went to the one at 9 and 155, but their headquarters in Troy must be the same, no?

      • jaycin333 says:

        So I talked to my husband about this and when he went to Bella Napoli – they had a regular cannoli and the cannoli with chocolate pieces. He went with the regular which definitely had nothing but filling in it. Hmm? He went to the one in Latham too. Another commenter suggested Honest Weight Food Co – Op on Central Ave. in Albany.

      • Jorabi says:

        Like I said, he is mistaken. Bella’s cannoli have always had fruit, still do, and forever will! I will try HWFC’s though. As of now Hannaford’s are still my fave.

  4. slilly says:

    I see a gaping hole in your tasting pool – go to the Honest Weight co-op and get one of their cannoli and you may find that you have a new winner. The shell is crunchy, the filling is creamy and not overly sweet, the best I’ve ever had.

  5. Cannoli Lady says:

    Andy & Sons Importing Co. has cannolis comparable to those in the North End of Boston. Filled to order. Ah-mazing.

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