You heard it here first Cannoli in Manchester is the next big thing.
If Manchester’s wholesale adoption of Neapolitan-style regional pizza over the past few years represents the Secondo course to the previous generation’s “if the sauce is red then it’s probably Italian” approach, then what comes next? Dolce!
Though Italy boasts a host of wonderful sweets at both national and regional levels, none come more sought after in 2018 than the Sicilian cannoli, which seems to have rolled (pun intended) into every self-respecting deli, café, market stall and restaurant across the country. It’s a simple concept, a sweetened, creamy ricotta cheese filling piped into a deep-fried pastry shell which is curled up into a cigar-shaped tube (or something slightly naughtier if you believe the dessert’s purported origins as a fertility symbol). There are occasionally chocolate chips or nuts but the base recipe is pretty basic. You can’t hide with this kind of simplicity so good ingredients and freshness are all important.
Thankfully you don’t need to book a flight to Messina because Manchester’s got you covered. To sample these deep-fried delights take your pick of these local spots.
Here are our picks
T’Arricrii, Hatch, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 7ED - Visit now
The Authentic One. If you like your cannoli big, fresh and enjoyed in the open air then T’Arricrii at Hatch on Oxford Road are a must visit. Go there with anything even approaching an open mind and the garrulous Ricardo will win you over further with a profusion of smiles, handshakes and an unshakeable commitment to his product. Arguably the simplest of the cannoli on this list (the flavour choices being an uncoloured ricotta with either pistachios or chocolate chips), T’Arricrii’s version is also probably the freshest (he piped it while I was watching) and the most balanced between case and filling. The dough is light and has a slight tint of cinnamon. The blend of case to milky filling approaches a perfect ice cream cone on a summer day. At £4.70 it’s the most expensive here but you’re saving money on a flight so what do you care?
Cafe Cannoli, Various, Manchester, M1 - Visit now
The Experimental One. You might need to slip your trainers on to get after Café Cannoli because they and their cannoli cart “Carlotta” operate at markets and food festivals all over. They recently had a spot on Albert Square as part of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival and their brand of dense, flavour-heavy cannoli deserved the exposure. With combinations running deep across everything from cherry and chocolate to candied orange or authentic Sicilian pistachios and hazelnuts, their cannoli are generous and delicious to a fault.
Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar, 22b, The Corn Exchange, Corporation St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 3TR - Visit now
The One To Watch The World Go By. There aren’t many opportunities in modern Manchester to pause and imagine yourself as cool as Marcello Mastroianni, but Salvi’s Deli in the Corn Exchange may be your best bet. Inside its small, ingredient-stuffed confines you can order your espresso and mime smoking yet another Camel while your eyes follow an Anika Ekberg lookalike across the Piazza San Pietro.
Vero Moderno, Unit 4 Vimto Gardens, Salford, Greater Manchester, M3 5JF - Visit now
The Triple Header One. Ok, so it’s not strictly Manchester but it’s only just only over the border in Salford and it’s still easier than jetting off abroad. Vero Moderno is more a restaurant than the others mentioned here and so its cannoli are part of its dessert menu rather than a standalone item. With that in mind it’s on the more expensive side at £4.50, but you do get three colours (though not red, white and green) in the form of chocolate, lemon and a pistachio dusted sweet ricotta.