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Appetito Review: The Cannoli Candy Bar

A Long Island baker figured out how to create a portable and shelf-stable version of the beloved Italian pastry

9:04 AM EDT on August 16, 2023

Cannoli bar

The Cannoli Bar offers the great taste of the beloved Italian dessert in candy bar form.

In my opinion, cannoli are perfect. They’re fun to pick up, easy to eat, and that crispy, ricotta cream-filled shell is oh-so-delicious. The only imperfection? Unless you live close to an Italian bakery, you can’t always have one around. They require refrigeration, but even in the fridge they get stale pretty quickly, as the filling gets funky, and the pastry gets mushy. And because of the ricotta-draining, dough-frying, and the need for special cylindrical molds, they’re not easy to whip up at home on the spur of the moment.

But in 2021 Peter Ariola, third-generation owner and baker of Ariola Foods, a family-run Italian bakery and wholesale business on Long Island, had a brilliant idea: Turn the favorite pastry into a candy bar and the Cannoli Bar was born. He uses the family’s own shell recipe, which dates back to 1923 and his grandfather’s original Brooklyn bakery, and covered it in cannoli cream-flavored white chocolate to make a portable cannolo (that’s the proper word for a single one!) that’s always fresh and needs no refrigeration.

Can a candy bar really compete with the real thing?! I got my hands on some so I could do the important research. The Cannoli Bar is kind of like a reverse cannoli in the shape of a candy bar; the white chocolate ‘filling’ encases flecks of what’s usually the outer shell. I took a bite and slowly chewed. My brain was confused in expecting “cannoli” but instead of the crunch of deep-fried dough and a ricotta cloud, I felt the smooth creaminess of white chocolate, barely picking up on the pieces of shell within. “Meh,” I thought. But after another bite, the flavor took shape, and I realized I was into something good. The flecks of shell became more pronounced, harmonizing with the flavored chocolate; a hint of cinnamon brought depth. Though in a blind taste test you’d never mistake it for the actual famed Italian pastry, the cannoli-flavored white chocolate encasing the authentic shell captures the essence of the dessert. By the time I finished, I was really pleased and a little in awe – the ever-ready cannoli had arrived!

Currently, the Cannoli Bar is hyper-local, only available in stores on Long Island and Brooklyn, but you can order online from NYC’s Economy Candy or the online shop Cooking with Nonna.

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