Sweet Treats: Kid in a Candy Store

Someone, somewhere, is trying to tell me something.

Last summer upon returning from our yearly pilgrimage south, our bathroom ceiling caved in. At the time, I thought it was a pretty special welcome home. This summer, of course, beats it hands down with two natural disasters and a mini home disaster — the dishwasher leaked all over the floor between the earthquake and the hurricane. I am relieved to say that we were lucky and escaped the past week with nothing but a broken dishwasher hose. But it was definitely a trying week, the kind that calls for a lot of junk food, and I mean A LOT. We stocked up.

We came across the illustrious, Triple-Double Oreo and had to have them along with our bags of canned soup and SpaghettiOs. In our house Oreos rule and we always fall for the special seasonal flavors. This summer we were even lulled into purchasing a bag of “Blizzard” cream–flavored Oreos. Sadly, however, few hold up to the original. But, the Triple-Double is the turkey club of Oreos, the perfect combination of cookie layers with cream. It’s three cookies with two, single layers of cream between, one regular and one chocolate. Finally, a perfect Oreo mutation, the balance of cookie crunch to cream just right. The downside is there are only 18 in a package and with two kids… well, you get the drift.

But there were other treats to feast on! I mentioned to you last time about a new, all tiramisu shop that just opened. We went to Dolce Vizio where the concept is all tiramisu, all the time. You can buy a slice of their prepared tiramisu in one of several flavors. We had the traditional slice; however they had a lovely looking Nutella one as well as Limoncello, Raspberry, Mango and Orange Espresso. They also have the option to make your own, choosing to soak your ladyfingers in chocolate, citrus or mint sauce (why no espresso?) and then adding mascarpone cream and your choice of two toppings of which granola, amaretti cookies and lots of different fruits were available to choose from. The traditional was good and perfectly executed, but at $7 a slice and a train ride, I’m okay with Whole Foods tiramisu.

I was however delighted to realize that two places on my must do list were on Christopher Street right down the block from Dolce Vizio — Sockerbit, a Scandinavian candy bar of sorts and Il Cantuccio, a biscotteria. Sockerbit was awesome, a true kid-in-a-candy-store type of place. Spare and subdued in comparison to Dylan’s, it was all about the candy. In typical by-the-pound fashion, you walk out wondering how you could have possibly spent $17 on gummy things but this is much more fun.

First, none of their candy has corn syrup in it (however it definitely has loads of sugar). Second and most importantly, it’s just plain different from what we’re used to in the US. My kids went absolutely nuts over the gummy sheriff’s badges and the giant sour skull faces. I loved the chocolate covered marshmallow bears and the sour strawberry marshmallow fish. Everything is somehow cooler and more exciting than a bag of Haribo.

Next door is Il Cantuccio, a branch of the original biscotteria from Tuscany. When you walk in you are greeted by a beautiful display of artisanal biscotti di Prato, or cantucci. We tried an assortment of almond, hazelnut, chocolate, apricot and fig-filled babies. The chocolate and fruit flavors were filled with extra-large chunks of their respective fillings. They were not just delicious but really quite beautiful to look at. There was also a cookie called brutibonni, which translates to ugly but good. These are almond paste babies that are cooked at a low temperature so they are soft and moist. These are no Nonni’s biscotti. They also have a lovely bread bakery with focaccia and filone, traditional Tuscan breads.

These are available by themselves, made into sandwiches or slathered with chocolate, nutella or jam. We had the Ciccioli focaccia. Ciccioli is kind of like a chunk of prosciutto that’s made by compressing, drying and aging fatty left over pieces of pork. It is delicious and the kids fought over every last bite, I think I got one or two bites by brute force. I would definitely make the trip to the West Village again and have some lunch at Il Cantuccio and then grab some biscotti and sour gummy mallows for later. I just wouldn’t eat them together. I wouldn’t want to incite an international incident.

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