As Francophone as Montreal is, they do have their own suburbs for different countries… like Chinatown, and the focus of this post: Little Italy!
Montreal’s Little Italy is rather non-descript, you might just walk through it without even realizing that you’re in Little Italy. Unlike Chinatown, you won’t be greeted with streets lined with gaudy lanterns or cheesy music. Perhaps the greatest difference would be that you’ll notice more red, white and green, in the form of italian flags, flying high and proud outside restaurants and shops in Little Italy. You might be lucky, and hear a shopkeeper ranting in italian to one of his regulars across the street, or you might see adorable italian kids running around exclaiming excitedly in Italian.
I saw several reviews about the cannolis at Alati Caserta at Little Italy, which is near the Jean Talon Market in Montreal. They’ve been making cannolis for over 40 years and are one of the best in the business.
Alati Caserta is really rustic. Upon walking into the shop, I was greeting with a huge mounds of Italian pastries, many of which I’d never seen before. The chillers were lined with cakes, generously decorated with piped cream, and if that wasn’t enough… the countertops were lined with even more freshy baked goodies. A sugar heaven, if I may say so.
I’ve never had a cannoli before, so I don’t exactly have anything I can benchmark it again. Personally, I don’t really like it. Perhaps it’s the flavor of the ricotta cheese, or just the overall package of way too much creamy filling to the crust. Regardless, I’m still glad I tried it, and I would try it again. I love trying new cuisines, cause what better way to learn about a new culture than through their food? There were also bits of chocolate chips randomly embedded in the ricotta filling. Some places put chunks of nuts instead, but I was happy with chocolate chips.
Cannolis are really rich though. I think they would be best paired with a hot cup of coffee or tea to wash away the sweetness which can become cloying.
Apparently, the recommended way to eat a cannoli is to bite each end of the cannoli, alternating between the two ends, until you reach the centre. This method prevents you from getting all the cream on your hands and helps you to balance out the cream with the crispy pastry.
So if you’re in the area, do drop by Alati Caserta for an authentic Italian experience in the heart of Montreal!
277 Rue Dante, Montréal, QC H2S 1K3