Fact: One of the best parts of the holidays is all the festive food that comes along with the season. Whether you’re taking off on a winter trip to the European Christmas markets or prepping for the holidays close to home, there’s always an abundance of sweet treats to be found (including these Go Ahead staffers’ family recipes).
Maybe more so than any other time of year, the winter holidays are a time for cultures to tap into generations-old traditions. Right near our office, we have Boston’s Italian neighborhood called the North End, where the alluring aromas of home-cooked pastas, fresh-baked breads, and sugary baked goods waft through the streets any time of year. So naturally we needed to taste-test the seasonal sweets that have been bringing holiday visitors to the area for decades. Settled by Italian immigrants in the late 1800s, the North End became a hub the forthcoming Italian descendants, including Sicilians, Milanese, and Neapolitans.
With all the bakery options the North End offers, where exactly should visitors go for the best holiday cookies around? While lines wrap around the block for the world-famous Mike’s Pastries, locals are likely to have their own go-to bakery. Our recommendation is Bova’s Bakery, open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day (yes—you read that right!). We stopped into Bova’s Bakery for their suggestions on which Italian holiday desserts to try.
For snowy festive sweets
During the holiday season, shoppers come to Bova’s Bakery for the classic snowflake-shaped Pizzelle cookies, sugar-dusted Italian wedding cookies, coconut macaroons, cannoli of every flavor imaginable, and red-and-white butter cookies.
For traditional Italian treats
Looking to truly impress an Italian host? Go old-school and bring almond cookies, sesame cookies, or rum cake. Or, do as the Bova family does and bring a traditional ricotta pie pictured above or sfogliatelle, flaky ricotta-filled pastries seasoned with cloves and holiday spices.
Do you have a favorite spot in your hometown for traditional holiday treats? Tell us in the comments below!