Mike’s Pastry is famous within and outside of Boston for its delicious and enormous cannoli. The shop, which is always bustling with customers, is located in the North End, Boston’s Italian neighborhood. The streets are filled with amazing Italian restaurants, pizza shops, cafes and pastry shops, the busiest of which is Mike’s.
I had my first cannoli from Mike’s early last year. It remained a sweet, fond memory, so I refused to leave Boston this time without bringing a box home!
Mike’s offers about a dozen cannoli flavors including plain ricotta cheese, chocolate chip, pistachio and hazelnut. Each cannoli (or cannolo if we want to be grammatically correct in Italian) sells for $3.50 and is about the size of my outstretched hand. Most of the cannoli come with a default ricotta filling and the “flavors” usually describe what the ends of the cannoli are dipped in.
The typical Mike’s Pastry experience begins with entering the shop, which is full of customers who have come from near and far for a treat. You become intimated by the amount of people, but realize that the crowds move quickly. While waiting, you look around and realize that Mike’s serves sweets other than cannoli. You ogle at the gelato, cookies, cakes and biscotti and decide, after all, to get what you originally came for.
Soon, you make it up to the front of the mass of people and are helped by a server at one of the counters. You pick out your cannoli and pay with cash, because that’s the only option. If you get several cannoli to go, your treats are placed in Mike’s signature blue-and-white box, then wrapped with string magically hanging from the ceiling. You walk out of the shop beaming because now have the cannoli in your hands! You carry the box proudly and loudly, like a designer shopping bag. You have completed the pilgrimage to divine cannoli!
I couldn’t wait until I got back to D.C. to dig into my box of cannoli, so I had one right out of the store. When I had my first cannoli from Mike’s last year, I didn’t believe that it would actually taste this good because of its comically humongous size. However, I soon learned that bigger is better when it comes to Mike’s because I did not want my cannoli to disappear! The shell is crunchy, while the ricotta filling has a smooth, buttery texture. The filling is very rich, but fairly lightly sweetened. For added sweetness, the servers can dust powdered sugar over your cannoli. Yum!
The cannoli at Mike’s Pastry are definitely worth the hype. It’s love at first bite! If you do buy a larger amount of cannoli at once, I recommend eating them quickly because the shell softens over time. The cannoli are definitely enjoyed best fresh.
The shop’s website is pretty cool to explore because you can read the history of Mike’s, see the amazing variety of Italian and American pastries they offer and even order a cannoli kit to make your own Mike’s cannoli wherever you live!