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A Visit to Carlo’s Bakery, Hoboken, NJ
Posted By Nicole On June 19, 2014 @ 3:47 pm In Restaurants,Travel | 2 Comments
If you watch a lot of food-related TV, you have probably heard of the show Cake Boss. The show, which is aired on TLC, is focused on the day to day workings of Buddy Valestro’s bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, including everything from the family dynamics of those who run to place to the efficient production that goes into make beautiful cakes for weddings and birthdays. Many people expect the bakery to be called “Cake Boss” due to the popularity of the show, but the bakery is actually called Carlo’s Bakery. The bakery was opened in 1910, by Carlo Guastaffero, and was purchased by Buddy’s father in 1964. It’s been in the family ever since.
The bakery specializes in Italian pastries, including biscotti, tiramisu, cannoli and sfogliatelle, which are also known as Lobster Tails. Naturally, after spending a good bit of my morning waiting in line, I wanted to make sure that I got some of everything.
I started with the sfogliatelle, which is a pastry made with lots of incredibly thin layers of flaky pastry that resembles the tail of a lobster. It is filled with a rich cream filling that contrasts well with the crispy layers of the pastry. Although it resembles croissant dough at first glance, this pastry is much less buttery and it really holds its texture even with that lovely cream filling inside.
And they are generous with the cream filling. It’s one of the bakery’s signature items and it is a must-have, even if you don’t try anything else. I could have eaten three (and only didn’t go back for more because I didn’t want to wait in line again).
The cannoli are another signature item of the bakery. The shells are thick and sturdy, so they hold up well to the creamy, chocolate chip-studded ricotta filling without getting soggy or breaking in transit. Both the shells and the filling were very fresh and very delicious. They even impressed some of my cannoli-critic New Jersey relatives!
The biscotti are a great choice when you are traveling with cookies, since they hold up well to a little bit of packing and unpacking. These biscotti were big and filling, loaded with toasted hazelnuts and sliced almonds, depending on what flavor you choose. These were sturdy cookies that held up exceptionally well to a cup of coffee – and they sustained me through a snackless cross country flight a few days later when I returned home.
If you have enough people to justify getting a cake, Carlo’s is definitely known for their cakes. Their whimsical fondant cakes are what first wowed audiences on Cake Boss, but they’ve been making more traditional cakes for a lot longer than the show has been on. I wanted to give one of their cakes a try, but I needed something that would hold up for a bit of travel time. One of the bakery staff recommended this Chocolate Truffle Cake. Ultra-rich and great for any chocolate lovers, this cake was delicious. It looked small at first glance, but it was very heavy because it was so dense – and the weight all came from chocolate cake and chocolate ganache. It was a great dessert to share and it served more than 10, since the richness meant that even a small slice was decadent and very satisfying.
A couple of tips for visiting:
The original Carlo’s is just a short ride from NYC and definitely worth visiting if you’re in the area. They have other locations in and around New Jersey, and recently opened a bakery at the Venetian in Las Vegas. It’s not just a show with a charismatic guy that happened to make it big on TV, this bakery is the real thing with great products and lots of happy customers.
95 Washington Street
Hoboken, New Jersey 07030
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