The mythical sfogliatella pastry is famous well beyond the borders of Naples and the region of Campania. Outside of Italy, this Neapolitan jewel is often crammed next to trays of cannoli and amaretti cookies in Italian bakery displays. Before visiting Naples I had eaten my fair share of the ridged clam-shaped pastry at the North End of Boston’s best bakeries but no sfogliatella tastes quite as good as one from the terroir where it was born. I know it’s not wine but it’s a combination of factors that make this pastry just right including ingredients, skill, and practice.
Although the basic sfogliatelle filling of cooked semolina, sweetened ricotta, cinnamon, and candied citrus is almost the same for the riccia and frolla pastries is the same, the former is made with flaky dough in the classic shell shape while the latter has a smooth buttery crust and is round and dome-shaped. The riccia and frolla have two cousins: the Santa Rosa and the Coda d’Aragosta, which means lobster tail. The Santa Rosa is a riccia garnished with custard cream and syrupy cherries (pictured below). The Coda d’Aragosta is shaped like a lobster tail hence the name and is filled with custard, Chantilly cream or fluffy whipped cream.
No sooner do I step off the train at Napoli Centrale railway station and it’s time to eat a sfogliatella and knock back a caffè. Sfogliatella riccia may be the king but give me a sfogliatella frolla any day. The buttery smooth crust of a warm frolla melts in my mouth as powdered sugar dusts my coat and face, and the candied fruit essence fills my nose. It’s a personal ritual, a heavenly breakfast match made in Naples. Not much compares to these delicious flavors first thing in the morning.
Without further ado here are our tips for where to eat sfogliatella in Naples.
With a cult following Neapolitans and diehard food lovers are at Attanasio Sfogliatelle just 10 steps away from the Naples train station. Be it a flaky riccia or smooth frolla they are served warm out of the bakery’s well-worn oven. Wash it down with a Passalacqua coffee at the nearby Bar Mexico.
Located within a stone’s throw of each other on Via Toledo, Pintauro and Mary’s duke it out for a place on sfogliatella lovers’ lists. Although Pintauro plays an important role in sfogliatella history, I prefer Mary’s. The pastry crust is buttery yet not oily, the riccia is crunchy and the filling is luscious plus the service is friendly. I know La Sfogliatella Mary as Mary’s sotto la galleria (Mary’s under the gallery). Located under Galleria Umberto, Mary’s has a display case that is tough to miss and a queue that is well worth waiting in. After you conquer the queue, order an espresso at Il Vero Bar del Professore and stroll around beautiful Piazza del Plebiscito.
Located in Piazza San Domenico Maggiore in Naples’ historic center, Scaturchio has been baking sflogliatelle for over 100 years. Unlike the other pastry shops I’ve mentioned so far, Scaturchio has outdoor seating and serves coffee. When I’m in the mood to linger, bask in the sun and people-watch this is my go-to place. Is there a better way to spend the morning in Italy?
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Gina Tringali – food lover, certified sommelier, coffee connoisseur, and passionate home cook – is a successful freelance food and travel writer and blogger based between Rome and Southern Italy. She is committed to discovering and sharing with fellow food enthusiasts Italy’s best culinary and wine experiences.