Mike's Pastry captures Best Bakery title

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July 22, 2010, 9:20 am
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(NECN: Greg Wayland, Boston, Mass.) -  Pasta and pastry. They go together in Boston's North End like Pietro and Puolo.
And pound for pound, our viewers say Mike's Pastry is the go-to bakery in that old Italian neighborhood.
Sophia brought my order of a cannoli and cappuchino. I was keeping it light.
North End native Angelo Papa is stepson to owner, 88-year-old Mike Mercogliano who is relaxing at home these days -- while  people like me are downing our cannolis in the place he opened on Hanover Street back in the fifties -- and opened in its current  location in 1962 with recipes from the old country.
Those lobster tails stuffed with raccotta are big sellers. next to cannolis.
"We added a whole bunch of new flavors," Angelo Papa said
I was having a plain old cannoli and a chat with Giovanna from Toronto. You meet nice people in Mike's.
Angelo says what really sets Mike's cannoli's apart is that they make their own shells.

"So everything's made from scratch. Just like Mike did in the 1950s, we're doing it today," Papa said.

Out back, they cut the dough and wrap them around little sticks of wood to give them their shape.

"We have to produce four to five barrels a day," Papa said.
And they load them with yellow cream custard and other fillings they whip up fresh each day.
I was whipping up a pretty good friendship  with Giovanna and her American cousins Angelo and Barbara.
Speaking of Barabara, Giovanna ordered something called a Baba.

 Out in the back, a fine gentleman named Vittorio rolls out the dough for all  the cannolis. He's been doing it for 35 years.
Mike's is a family business. Angelo's Uncle Joe runs things out back.

"He controls the whole back. Everything that I touch or we touch up front, he oversees the making of back here," Papa said.

Fifteen to sixteen bakers are at work in Mike's all day.

"This is my cousin, Nick. Soccer player," Angelo says, putting his arm around a young fellow rolling up cannolis.
A young man named Mohammed makes the special order cakes.
Giovanna offered me a little bit of her baba -- with its special ingredient -- rum!

You can be tempted by all kinds of italian pastries at Mike's, including a baba. Cakes, cookies, cupcakes  -- it's all under the glass.
How long you going to keep baking them, Angelo?

"Hopefully forever, that was the promise I made to Mike," Papa said.
Giovanna promised somebody in Toronto she'd bring back a baba or two. I hope they let her on the plane -- you know, with all that rum. 

Mike_s Pastry small logo

It was nip-and-tuck all week, but when the balloting closed, it was Mike's Pastry of the North End, a Boston fixture, holding off White's Bakery for the title of Best Bakery. Both shops got their fans turning out in droves - easily outdistancing their three worthy competitors for a 1-2 finish.

 Mike's Pastry (Boston, Mass.)
 White's Bakery (Brockton/Hingham, Mass.)
 Standard Baking (Portland, Maine)
 Flour Bakery (Boston/Cambridge, Mass.)
 When Pigs Fly Baking (6 locations)

Tags: Baby You're the Best, Mike's Pastry, Best Bakery
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