From traditional pastries and breads to contemporary cookies and cakes, bakers across Long Island are celebrating the glory of Easter and the arrival of spring. It's a sweet season.
And a very, very busy one in Nassau and Suffolk, where desserts often are a centerpiece at family tables, parties and in restaurants. Here are 10 bakeries, Italian to Scandinavian to Colombian, where you'll enjoy a taste of the holiday and the moment.
14 Cold Spring Rd., Syosset, 516-496-2489, cardinali.net
The dove-shaped colomba ($18, 1.5 pounds), light and spongy, is the high flyer at Cardinali, where you'll find a broad range of pastries, cookies, gelati and bread. Vinny Lobascio, Cardinali's president, said Easter chocolates will be made in the traditional holiday shapes; Easter breads with colored eggs ($7 to $12); the St. Joseph's Day sfingi and zeppole pastries ($5); and pastiera are in the seasonal mix.
Marzullo Bakery & Cafe
1586 Hillside Ave., New Hyde Park, 516-352-2859
Authentic Sicilian pastries, starting with cannoli ($2.75) finished with candied orange peel and candied cherry, attract crowds to Tony Marzullo's compact bakery. His Easter specialties include artfully sculpted marzipan lambs ($10 to $15); brioche bread with hard-boiled egg ($3.50); a flavor-packed pastiera ($20); outstanding sfingi and zeppole ($3.50), and the St. Joseph's Day pastries that continue to highlight the seasonal repertoire. Start nibbling at a cafe table.
Old Fashioned Bakery
10 Cedar Swamp Rd., Glen Cove, 516-759-1141
This aptly named bakery makes exceptional breads as well as desserts. Manager Angela Mangano said Easter breads ($2.95 to $15.95) and a two-pound colomba "similar to panettone, with citron" are among the holiday treats. Of course, Old Fashioned Bakery makes pastiera, and the sfingi and zeppole associated with St. Joseph's Day. The cannoli here are excellent. There are a couple of small tables, where you may energize yourself with a well-made cappuccino, too.
Alpine Pastry Shoppe
59 Rte. 111, Smithtown, 631-265-5610, alpinepastryshoppe.com
Lamb-shaped pound cakes with fondant icing and coconut ($24.95); Easter bread in basket, wreath and cross shapes with colored hard-boiled eggs ($4 to $15); pastiera, the Neapolitan ricotta-and-wheat berry cake in pie ($13.50) and deep-dish ($30) styles; cuccidati, Sicilian fig cookies ($14.95 per pound); egg-shaped cakes; and chocolate baskets with cookies are part of the parade at Alpine. Co-owner Angelo Cuccia said, "It's always a great time ... a lot of fun."
57 Wall St., Huntington, 631-424-0803, fiorellodolce.com
Baker of a great Christmas croquembouche; creator most recently of the "Frenagel," the French doughnut-and-bagel hybrid; and producer of the popular croissant-doughnut pastry, offers pastiera in 6-inch ($17) and 8-inch ($25) pie sizes for Easter. Gerard Fioravanti's spring specials also include marble pound cake ($7.50), carrot cake (6-inch, $24; 8-inch, $32), and chocolate bunny almond-filled tarts with rum and ganache ($5.25).
St. Rocco's Bakery
4 St. Rocco Pl., Glen Cove, 516-427-5333
Situated directly across from the Church of St. Rocco, the namesake bakery has been a neighborhood fixture since 1940. Current owners John and Lisa Sacchetta added desserts to the many breads for which the place has been celebrated. Their rich Easter bread, in shapes including baskets and crosses, has one to four eggs ($3.75 to $8). The house's pastiera ($20) could feed 10. For spring, the Sacchettas make a sunflower-design cake ($24). There's a cafe to enjoy on the spot.
Leonetti Pastry Shop
82 Glen Cove Rd., #16, Greenvale, 516-218-3017, leonettipastryshopli.com
Owner-baker Saverio Leonetti makes a lush colomba ($20-$22) "from scratch," similar in texture to the Christmas panettone, but raisin-free. The dough has to rise for 24 hours. Leonetti's dove contains orange zest and an almond glaze with sugar on top. Pastiera is the deep-dish variety ($24). Leonetti also prepares nest-and-chick-shaped marzipan-and-chocolate centerpieces ($24). Egg-shaped mousse cakes and Easter breads are available. This year, so's panna cotta. Fine gelati here.
La Bonne Boulangerie
6247 Rte. 25A, East Norwich, 516-624-8900
125 W. Broadway, Port Jefferson, 631-473-7900
Owner Daniele Messina keeps to "very traditional" sweets, starting with the deep-dish pastiera, ($20), handmade marzipan in fruit shapes ($3), and Easter brioche egg breads ($3 to $15). "You don't learn this old-school baking except at a bakery," Messina said. Fried struffoli, or honey balls; and cakes with sweetened whipped cream and fresh fruit fillings are seasonal, too. The same items are sold at the affiliated Dortoni Bakery, 3264 Hempstead Tpke., Levittown; 516-796-3033.
75 Woodbine Ave., Northport, 631-754-3256, copenhagenbakery.net
Lemon curd-and-blackberry cake dusted with coconut ($24) greets spring at Copenhagen Bakery. Owner Stacé Hansen also sells lamb-shaped almond cake ($25), accented with chocolate eggs and jelly beans; and a chocolate mousse-and-ganache egg ($25) for Easter, along with marzipan-filled eggs ($30). For Passover, the bakery also prepares coconut macaroons (95 cents), cheesecake with a macaroon crust ($21.95), flourless chocolate cake ($21.95) and chocolate ganache cake ($30).
Also check out:
Delicias Latinas, 1700 Great Neck Rd., Copiague, 631-328-5122, deliciaslatinasny.com
Delicias Latinas welcomes spring with tres leches cake, coated with caramel (starting at $15, sold according to size), and decorated in seasonal hues such as pink, blue and green. Manager Paulina Martinez said the bakery also makes cupcake bunnies ($1.25), with yellow cake and buttercream. Bunny decorations are added to fruit-filled yellow cakes, too. In addition to baking, Delicias Latinas also is a casual, inexpensive-to-moderately priced Colombian restaurant.