Pat it, prick it and mark it with a “P” for perfect Philadelphia pastries. There’s a certain grace in biting into an exquisite, mouth-watering pastry. Whether you yearn for French, Italian or Portuguese, Philly’s pioneering pastry chefs are the ultimate architects for what you crave. For the best of the best pastries in the City of Brotherly Love, check out these top places to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Aux Petits Delices
162 E. Lancaster Ave.
Wayne, PA 19087
If it’s true that good things come in small packages, then it’s no wonder that Aux Petits Delices has made a big hit in Philadelphia. Francophiles from the surrounding area drive for miles to sample Chef Patrick Gauthron’s elegant creations. He uses only the finest imported ingredients and cutting-edge equipment to produce delicate French pastries for discriminating taste buds. It’ll be hard to pick just one, but if you have to, be sure go home with several of the chef’s fabulous eclairs. A choux dough, baked till just the right crispness, is filled with creme patissiere and topped with fondant icing.
1009 Christian St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Another top contender for the best cannoli in Philly is located in the heart of the Italian Market. Founded in 1904, Isgro Pasticceria is so confident that it makes the best cannoli around that the bakery’s website goes by http://www.bestcannoli.com. It’s no surprise then that this pastry paradise is a multi-time winner. Gus Isgro has worked for his family’s business his whole life and really knows his stuff when it comes to cakes and Italian pastries. Sample one of five delicious cannoli fillings: ricotta, chocolate, vanilla, chocolate mousse or mascarpone.
Miel Patisserie & Cafe
204 S. 17th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Miel Patisserie & Cafe is arguably the best French pastry shop in Philly. Eying one of the cafe’s scrumptious pastries on a plate is like a flashback to art history 101 with food imitating art. The unsurpassed visual artistry and fresh, natural flavors make for a decadent dessert experience. Try the mille-feuille Napolean, a delicious layering of light puff pastry and smooth custard cream that’s to die for.
Nossa Aldeia Portuguese Bakery & Deli
30 Main St.
South River, NJ 08882
It’s worth the drive to New Jersey to taste some authentic Portuguese pastries at Nossa Aldeia in South River. Some call it the Tri State’s version of the Holy Grail of Portuguese pastries, but locals simply know the bakery as the go-to place for espresso and pasteis de Belem. For those who are clueless about Portuguese sweet treats, pasteis de Belem is a time-honored confection with a shell made from massa folhada, a puff pastry that spirals into a nest of scores of crisp layers. Inside this delicious shell is a mouth-watering custard. Try it — you’ll love it!
Related: Philadelphia’s Top Spots For Cookies
Varallo Brothers Bakery
1639 S. 10th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19148
The Varallo brothers have been baking up a storm in Philadelphia since 1981. They hail from Montella Avellino, Italy, where, apprenticed as ice cream makers and bakers, the duo learned to create awesomely authentic Italian pastries. The real test of an Italian bakery is its cannoli, and here is where Varallo shines above the rest. Varallo’s cannolis have a light, crispy shell filled with either vanilla or chocolate Italian cream, ricotta cheese, chocolate ricotta or ricotta spiked with liquor. Have these tasty tubes sprinkled with confectioners sugar and you’ll be in pastry heaven.
Related: Top Bakeries In Philadelphia
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.