Boston North End Dessert Crawl

AAA/Suzanne Lemon
By AAA Travel Editor Suzanne Lemon
May 15, 2018
With its abundance of Italian food, Boston’s oldest residential neighborhood lured us with the promise of culinary bliss. Indeed, the aromas wafting from bread and pizza ovens captivated our team as we strolled along the historic enclave’s winding brick lanes. Lo and behold, the author’s sweet tooth prevailed, and “Little Italy’s” pastry shops became sugary fodder for this article. Here are a few fun things to do when you travel here:
Baked goods at Bova's Bakery in Boston, Massachusetts
AAA/Suzanne Lemon
Bova’s Bakery
134 Salem St.
(617) 523-5601
Though Bova’s packs a plethora of Italian cookies, cakes and other enticing treats into its little corner space, it’s the bread that beckons Bostonians. The cornucopia of yeasty delights includes crusty Tuscan-style loafs as well as seasonal specialties. Dessert crawlers in search of lunch take note: This is the perfect place to grab some pizza or a sub on the go. We liked the calzones, stuffed to the brim with tasty meats and cheeses.
Treats and gelato at Caffe Paradiso in Boston, Massachusetts
AAA/Suzanne Lemon
Caffé Paradiso
255 Hanover St.
(617) 742-1768
Plenty of tables invite weary travelers to take a load off and indulge in a quick pick-me-up. Order an espresso or cappuccino, and pair it with an assortment of tempting biscotti—for fun, try the rainbow-colored variety. Or, cool down on a warm day with house-made artisanal gelato. Mix and match a plate of profiteroles, luscious tarts and other delectables and share with friends (or not).
Exterior sign at Lulu's Sweet Shoppe in Boston, Massachusetts
AAA/Suzanne Lemon
Lulu’s Sweet Shoppe
28 Parmenter St.
(617) 742-0070
Off the main drag on a narrow lane, everything about Lulu’s screams “sweet,” from its eye-catching striped awning and candy-pink signage to the decadent treats within. The too-pretty-to-eat (but please do) cupcakes are created by Lulu herself, who even prepares a cream-filled namesake version resembling the Hostess variety. Don’t ignore the homemade ice cream.
Box of cannolis at Maria's Pastry Shop in Boston, Massachusetts
AAA/Suzanne Lemon
Maria’s Pastry Shop
46 Cross St.
(617) 523-1196
While Mike’s and Modern (see subsequent entries) have sparred in a good-natured pastry war for North End bragging rights, Maria’s receives local kudos as a strong cannoli contender. We can see why, after sampling a medley filled on the spot with creamy ricotta and adorned with pistachio, chocolate chips and powdered sugar. The little shop in an unassuming strip center boasts a big dessert selection, with everything from old-fashioned angel wings to artful marzipan.
Chocolate treats at Mike's Pastry in Boston, Massachusetts
AAA/Suzanne Lemon
Mike's Pastry
300 Hanover St.
(617) 742-3050
Who is tops in the North End, Mike’s or Modern? Everyone has a different opinion, but for sheer volume, Mike’s has it going on. Glass cases shelter a seemingly endless assortment of Italian pastries, while you can also order classic American indulgences like a chocolate walnut brownie. The author sampled a piece of the city’s iconic Boston cream pie and found the combination of creamy custard, moist cake and chocolaty goodness to be a heavenly taste sensation.
Read More
Exterior sign at Modern Pastry Shop in Boston, Massachusetts
AAA/Suzanne Lemon
Modern Pastry
257 Hanover St.
(617) 523-3783
Modern, another contender in Boston polls for North End bragging rights, is recognizable by its funkily retro red-and-green neon sign. Confections such as photo-worthy fruit tarts and panforte packed with almonds adorn its display cases, and seating is available to savor an Italian pastry with coffee. Treat yourself to a slice of creamy ricotta cheesecake you won’t soon forget, and if you’re a fan of pistachio macaroons, this is the place!
Read More