Keeping It Sweet At Fortunato Brothers Bakery
Located in the heart of trendy Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY, the Fortunato Brothers Bakery has been supplying sweetness since 1979. Owned by brothers Biagio and Michele Fortunato, this bakery offers an amazing variety of traditional Italian pastries as well as some of the best espresso and cappuccino in the NYC area. We were invited to come and get a tour of the bakery and gained a few pounds in the process! Check out the sweet details after the jump!
What does Fortunato Brothers Offer?
Since its opening, Fortunato Brothers Bakery has been a destination for those who love a very specific Italian specialty: Marzapane. Also called Marzipan, this treat is one of the very unique products of the southern Italian sweets tradition. It is considered one of the most “Mediterranean” sweets, similar in ingredients and flavors to other traditional sweets from nearby Greece, North Africa and parts of the Middle East. Originating from Sicily, Marzapane is a dense paste of almonds and sugar that’s usually shaped in the form of fruits, vegetables, sea food and/or festive foods during certain times of the year. Rightfully, Michele Fortunato prides himself for hand shaping every single piece of marzipan that’s on sale at the store. The process is laborious and it can take up to a few days to get to the final product; once the pieces are individually shaped and they have set at room temeperature, the marzipan is painted with food coloring to resemble the original fruit or vegetable it is shaped after and eventually finished with a coat of edible shine. Some of the pieces we saw at Fortunato Brothers could easily be mistaken for the real thing!
The variety of pastries at Fortunato Brothers is impressive. Italian classics like Cannoli (fried pastry shells filled with a ricotta based cream), Sfogliatelle (a typical Napolitan crunchy, layered pastry filled with thick custard), Baba (small, round sponge cakes soaked in liquor) and a never ending list of almond and pistachio cookies fill the bakery. I can’t fail to mention the Napoleons and beignets (light and hallow shells filled with a variety of creams and/or custards)! The folks at Fortunato Bakery have also come up with a couple of signature pieces:
the Lulu – a large, mashroom shaped beignet filled with wipped cream and custard mixture and topped with nothing else but sprinkled powder sugar. Delicious!
the Sfogliatella Frolla – a soft version of the original Napolitan sfogliatella that was originally thought of to favor the elderly whose teeth are no longer the way they used to be!
Fortunato Bakery is also popular for the scrumptious custom made cakes (we walked into the lab and one of the bakers was working on a cognac bottle shaped cake!). Cakes for any type of occasion are possible here; the cake varieties are expansive, with Napoleon and Red Velvet among the most popular choices. The day of our visit, the large display was showcasing wonderful Tiramisus layered with house made round Savoiardi! It’s to die for!
GELATO and SORBET
What’s an Italian sweets parlor without gelato? Although the Fortunato Brothers are running a bakery, they could not turn their backs on the most Italian of the Summer delicacies. Gelato is available here in a rainbow of flavors (Chocolate, Tiramisu, Lemon Cream, Cannoli, Chocolate-Hazelnut or Bacio to name a few) and it’s served in cones, cups. They even offer to serve in a brioche! Round large brioches are filled with your favorite ice cream or sorbet. By the way, the house sorbets are made with fresh fruits including blood oranges, kiwis, mangos, coconuts and many more!
Fortunato Brothers Bakery is located at 289 Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn NY. Stop by and treat yourself, tell them Roberta from @YouGottaEatThis sent you!