Dinner, on Mulberry Street in New York’s Little Italy was very good, very good indeed, in fact, but it was totally eclipsed by dessert at La Bella Ferrara, just a short stroll down the block.
This narrow little cake shop is one of the few survivors from the days when Mulberry Street was the centre of a large and thriving Italian community mostly from Naples. Over the years La Bella Ferrara has gone steadily about the business of producing cakes and pastries for the famous (one wall is a gallery of big show-biz faces) the infamous (from the late 1900s to the late 20th century, a string of Mafia held sway in the area) thousands, maybe millions, of ordinary New Yorkers and who knows how many tourists.
The problem at La Bella Ferrara is choice. Its menu boasts more than thirty different kinds of pastries, more than a dozen varieties of biscuits, thirteen types of “cakes for every occasion”, in sizes ranging from the 8 person to the 100 person number as well as holiday and seasonal specials, including Sfingi and Zeppole De San Giuseppe.
Fortunately, La Bella Ferrrara reproduces almost everything in miniature, so you can try sample a few.
Order a cappuccino, or an espresso and a plate of goodies, sit on the terrace and look out across the street to the shrine of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, in the front garden of the Most Precious Blood Church.