Montreal’s famed Little Italy neighbourhood can boast foodie addresses that are literally decades old, but one of its best pastry shops was founded as recently as 2006. Located on central Saint-Laurent Boulevard, La Cornetteria takes its name from the cornetto, a traditional Italian croissant with custard or jam that’s baked daily on the premises.
The shop made a splash a couple of years ago, when it was the first in Montreal to feature the infamous cronut. Here they call it the cronetto and describe it as a cross between the cornetto and bombolone, an Italian filled doughnut. In the early cronut craze, if I believe my twitter feed back then, Montrealers would drive by early in the morning for the limited edition cronettos pouring out of the ovens. I read quite a few Woot! Woot! whenever they scored the red-hot pastries.
On a recent trip to La Cornetteria, way after the foodie bandwagon moved on as is my wont, I finally experienced the cronetto and was surprised to find it delicious enough to indeed start a trend. I’ll admit: I’m suspicious of here-and-gone trends like Dominique Ansel’s cronut or his follow-up chocolate cookie milk tumbler. Anything that sounds that buzz-desperate rubs me the wrong way… But I ate both cronetti in the car on my way back, so there. Giving props.
Walking into La Cornetteria with its graffiti façade is like stepping into a bit of a time warp. We’re worlds away from the fancy digs of Old-Montreal’s Maison Christian Faure. Here, the décor is low-key and the premises even a little cramped. But the greeting aromas of chocolate, coffee, toasted nuts and hot sugar foretell the authenticity of the handful of lovingly-prepared pastries in their chilled showcase.
Starting today (February 18) and running until Easter, the store will also be serving zeppole, a dough fritter filled with custard or pastry cream that’s meant to mark Festa di San Giuseppe or Saint Joseph’s Day (the Italian Father’s Day) celebrated on March 19. How timely is that for an announcement! No, I’m not privy to family secrets: if ever there was a pastry store worth following on Facebook, it’s La Cornetteria. The shop faithfully advertises the arrival of new pastries, weekly menus — stop by for soup and focaccia sandwiches for lunch, why don’t you —, Christmas baskets, etc. Of course, that’s not so surprising given their cronut-savvy. Buon appetito.
6528 St. Laurent Blvd., Montreal, Quebec