Pleasantly full from an earlier dinner of pasta and surrounded by a quiet murmur of Italian, I scoured the streets of Little Italy for my destination: Ferrara Bakery and Cafe. Night was setting in on this Tuesday evening, but then, all of a sudden, Ferrara emerged out of the darkness with a large, dazzling sign and a bold red awning. Everything about the exterior distinguished it from its surroundings, from the antique car replica balanced atop the awning to the light and laughter that emanated from within. It was even bigger than I expected, and I quickened my pace to get inside faster.
I had actually stumbled upon Ferrara online while researching another article that I was writing for the Barnard Bulletin. Ferrara first opened in 1892 as a small neighborhood cafe that quickly earned praise for the freshness and quality of its products. The bakery is now in its fifth generation of family ownership and still going strong after over 120 years of business.
Once entering, you have the option to either choose bakery items to go or sit down at one of the many tables. Deciding to make a night out of it, we sat down and were greeted by a very large, varied menu offering everything from specialty pastries to gelato flavors.
Faced with so many options, I decided to go with the trio of miniatures in order to try more of a variety. I chose the chocolate cannoli, Dacquoise, and raspberry tart in order to balance out my love for both chocolate and berries.
The raspberry tart was a classic combination of a creamy base topped with fresh raspberries and powdered sugar, all contained within a tart. The chocolate cannoli satisfied my desire for a “quintessential Italian dessert” with a thick layer of dark chocolate encasing the shell. The most unique dessert that I chose was the specialty pastry Dacquoise, a bittersweet chocolate purse filled with praline and gianduia cream. The beautifully crafted chocolate exterior gave way to a mousse-like interior with a rich flavor. If I didn’t have to get back to campus to finish work, I would have stayed much longer in the friendly atmosphere of Ferrara and ordered a coffee too. As if I needed more motivation to return, Ferrara also offers brunch, so I will be venturing downtown much more often.