Spring approaching means one thing, one thing that Italians (and everyone else, let’s get serious) look forward to every year: the Festa di San Giuseppe on March 19th. Huh? Saint Joseph was cool and all… but why would EVERYONE be looking forward to celebrating his feast day? One word: zeppole. If you’ve never tried one, you’re missing out (or living under a rock). A deep-fried dough ball filled with either ricotta, custard, pastry cream, you name it, and topped with icing sugar. Every baker has their own special twist on the popular dessert. As per tradition, they are only available around this holiday, so instead of looking forward to Cadbury Easter Eggs, why not elevate your palate and anxiously await these heavenly balls of dough. We’re spoiled in Montreal, so we have a bunch of restaurants and bakeries that keep the tradition alive.
Dolci Piu is on the ball and they’re already selling zeppole to happy eaters in Montreal. They have two types available: one with ricotta and chocolate chips, and one for those who want something lighter with a mix of whipped cream and custard. Available until Easter, you have plenty of time to visit again and again.
849 Boulevard Décarie, Saint-Laurent, QC H4L 3L7
La Cornetteria has their zeppole available already and they’ll be selling them to the hungry masses until Easter. They’ve offered us three delicious flavours and we don’t know which one we want more. We should probably try them all. They have the classic ricotta, custard, and delicious pistachio flavours, topped simply with icing sugar and a dollop of their filling.
6528 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2S
Winners of the zeppole competition during Montreal Italian Week 2014, you know Pasticceria Italia is going to bring it this San Giuseppe season. Because they’re such good people, they make 5 different kinds of zeppole: traditional ricotta, custard, chantilly, Nutella *gasp*, and tiramisu (made with tiramisu cream and coffee-flavoured mascarpone). They’re all topped with a maraschino cherry and icing sugar. Can’t choose? We suggest trying them all. The zeppole are available until Easter, with a sneaky batch made at Christmas-time.
5540 Rue Jean-Talon E, Saint-Leonard, QC H1S 1L9
Pasticceria Alati-Caserta has been around since 1968, so we think they know what they’re doing. This year, they’re serving up zeppole traditionally, with both ricotta and custard flavour options. Alarti-Caserta stands out because their zeppole are different from the norm: they’re literally a ball of dough, instead of the usual doughnut-like shapes of other bakeries. They’ll be available until Easter, so you have plenty of time to try them out.
277 Rue Dante, Montréal, QC
The man behind Impasto and Pizzeria Gema, Michele Forgione, whipped up these delicious zeppole just for us. He made them traditionally, with ricotta and an amarena cherry on top, fresh and fried to order. They’ll only be available on March 19th, so quantities are limited. Line up at sunrise (don’t pretend you’re better than that) at the Gema take-out window and enjoy these fluffy sweets.
6827 Rue Saint Dominique, Montréal, QC
Pasta Casareccia is a little slice of Italian heaven in NDG. You don’t need to always go to the East End or Little Italy for delicious Italian fare! This year, they’re serving up the classic zeppole with ricotta. Get them while they’re hot until March 19th.
5849 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal, QC H4A 1X4
Del Sole makes your zeppole fresh to order, so you have to call in advance if you want to nab a few for snack-time. They have the most flavours available on Saturdays, like custard or tiramisu, but on weekdays, expect the good ol’ classic ricotta. They’ll be available until the end of March, so place your orders and get there ASAP.
7750 Boul Henri-Bourassa E, Montréal, QC H1E 1P2
Pasticceria Alati is serving zeppole for a limited time, so make sure you’re around for the tiny window between March 13th and March 19th. They’ll be going quick! This year’s flavours haven’t been announced yet, but we’re sure they’ll be as delicious as last year’s. Alati sure knows how to bring on the hype.
5265 Rue Jean-Talon E, Saint-Leonard, QC
Now you all have a whole month to try out ALL of these different zeppole. We won’t judge you if you do. Are there any other delicious spots where you get your zeppole? Leave them in the comments!