Neapolitans are passionate about their sfogliatelle. These citrusy ricotta stuffed pastries can be found in the most cafes and pasticcerias throughout the city. While sfogliatelle are among my favorite Italian pasteries until I visited Naples I had no ideas that sfogliatelle came in two varieties and that you can get them hot. Clearly further investigation was needed…
Growing up the crispy, flaky, lobster tail shaped sfogliatelle (pronounced s-foh-ya-dell in the dialect) were a familiar sight at gatherings involving multiple members of the Italian side of my family. But reading through our travel guide, I learned that in Naples crispy sfogliatelle (or the sfogliatelle riccia) aren’t the only game in town. The sfogliatelle frolla, or soft crust variety also has quite a following and you can get both types hot and fresh at R. M. Attanasio, a bakery on Vico Ferrovia just outside of Piazza Garibaldi and Napoli Centrale.
Lawman and I made a couple visits to Attanasio during our time in Naples and samples three of their sfogliatelle. Our first trip we went for the big crispy ones that was bedecked in vanilla pastry cream and and amarena (sour cherries). These got for 2.50€ and they are fairly massive and ricotta laden. The outer crust was thin and crispy and the ricotta filling was rich and sweet with little citrus bits.
Because of the pastry cream on the outside these are served at temperature so if it’s hot sfogliatelle that you’re after, ask for it calde. If you ask for a sfogliatelle calde, you’re going to get the crispy kind, so if you’d prefer to try the softer version, ask for a frolla calde both of these are smaller than the pastry cream/amarena sfogliatelle but if you’ve had a sfogliatelle stateside they are of a comparable size and will only set you back 1.10€ each.
The frolla pastry was light and soft and while hot the crust and filling seemed to melt together.
Very tasty, but I must admit that I’m rather partial to the crispy kind. Partially out of nostalgia, partially because the contrast between the crispy outer layers and the soft filling is just so darn good.
If you have time to spare before you depart Naples (or perhaps miss your train, ahem), check out Caffetteria Viva Napoli, a small café across from Attanasio.
A delicious Café Freddo goes for 1€ and cappuccinos are 1.50€.
Have your drinks at the counter or sit at one of their two outdoor tables. If you say hypothetically miss your train, it’s a nice escape from the madness of Garibaldi station.
R. M. Attanasio
Vico Ferrovia, 1-2-3-4
Tuesday through Sunday, 6:30am until 7:30pm