My mom used to watch the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond”, which for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, centers around a somewhat dysfunctional Italian-American family. Her favourite character in the show was Raymond’s mother Marie (played by the late Doris Roberts). Although she’s supposed to be seen as controlling and overbearing, being Chinese, my mother found her often intrusive behaviour to be perfectly normal and identified well with her (oh boy). It was through this show that I first heard about cannolis, which were apparently one of Marie’s favourite things to both make and eat. Unfortunately, in spite of the great abundance of pizza and pasta places in Vancouver, along with many higher-end Italian restaurants, there doesn’t appear to be many places offering any cannolis. Fratelli is one of the few that I know of. They describe themselves as an “authentic Italian” bakery, although I personally don’t believe there’s such a thing as “authentic” when it comes to cuisine. In addition to cannolis, they offer a very impressive selection of tasty-looking goods at extremely affordable prices. For my visit this week, I got their whip cream cannoli, hazelnut square, and triple chocolate cake.
Whip Cream Cannoli ($2.5):
The shell was flaky, similar to that of a puff pastry. It was filled with whipping cream which, while fresh and smooth, was also quite mild and too bland for my liking. I will try their regular cannoli next time for comparison.
Hazelnut Square ($2.5):
This consisted of layers of cake with chopped nuts and whipped cream, and was topped with a chocolate/hazelnut ganache. It was soft and moist, and the nuts provided a nice bit of crunch. Although it was sweeter than the cannoli, I still found it to be a bit too mild for my liking. It also had a slightly artificial flavour (perhaps extract) that I found to be a bit off-putting.. The hazelnut decorating the top of the dessert was unfortunately bland and stale.
Triple Chocolate Cake ($3.25):
I know that I’m biased since I’m a massive chocoholic, but this is easily my favourite of the three. The cake was very moist, fudgy, and in contrast to the cannoli, quite bold in flavour. I think that they might have purposely slightly underbaked the cake as it was a bit gooey in the middle (in a good way). It was topped with a layer of chocolate icing that was sweet, with a slight hint of salt. Again, I did find the cake to have a slightly odd scent that I couldn’t quite discern; fortunately, it wasn’t very strong and it didn’t stop me from polishing off the cake.
Although Fratelli might not be the greatest when it comes to quality (and probably wouldn’t be able to compete with what Marie can whip up), their offerings are still tasty enough and their prices more than reasonable for me to recommend this place to those looking for a place on The Drive to get their sugar fix.
Recommendation: Triple Chocolate Cake