Category Archives: Fair

Top 10 Foods to Get at NYC’s San Gennaro Festival

This list of top 10 foods to get at NYC’s San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy is the definitive guide to the traditional foods eaten by Italian Americans.

1. If you try nothing else at the San Gennaro festival, you have to try cannoli.

La Bella Ferrara cannoli

Where to get cannoli:  the legendary Ferrara on Grand Street and Mulberry, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, Caffe Palermo on Mulberry, Caffe Roma corner of Mulberry and Broome.

2. Sausage and peppers sandwiches–When Italians go to festivals, this is what they get.

Where to get sausage and peppers–at a stand.

3.  Zeppole are fried dough balls in powdered sugar–a staple of Italian festivals.

Where to get zeppole–at a stand.

4.  Clams

Where to get clams–at a stand, Umberto’s Clam House on Mulberry.

5.  Pizza/calzones

Where to get pizza/calzones–Sal’s on Broome Street (the fried calzone is to die for!), the first pizzeria in America–Lombardi’s on Spring Street.

6.  Torrone–Italian nutty nougat confection

Where to get torrone–at a stand or at Ferrara on Grand.

7.  Italian cookies

Where to get Italian cookies–the legendary Ferrara on Grand, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, at a stand.

8.  Gelato

Where to get gelato–Ferrara on Grand, Caffe Roma on Broome, Mo on Mulberry.

9.  Pasta

Where to get pasta–Puglia on Hester, Vincent’s on Hester/Mott, Benito One on Mulberry.

10. Italian pastries

Where to get Italian pastries–the legendary Ferrara on Grand Street and Mulberry, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, Caffe Palermo on Mulberry, Caffe Roma corner of Mulberry and Broome.

–Dina Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at

***All writings and photographs are the intellectual property of me, unless I’ve noted otherwise, and can only be used with permission. If you are inspired by this blog, please use professional courtesy to note it.***

Swedish and Norwegian Christmas Fairs

This weekend, the Swedish Seamen’s Church and the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Manhattan are holding their annual Christmas fairs.  I hit the Norwegian fair first.  This one’s a little off the beaten path on E. 52nd Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

Have some glogg, available in the foyer, as you watch the train.


In the main room, there are knitted goods, Christmas decorations, Scandinavian food, baked goods, raffles and a cafe with open-faced sandwiches.

raffle at Norwegian Seamen’s Christmas fair

There were many cookies to choose from, including pepparkakor and krumkake.

baked goods

I bought almond tea cakes that are quite yummy.

almond tea cakes

The Swedish Seamen’s Church is in the heart of the city, on E. 48th Street near Fifth Avenue.  The space was a little smaller here, so it seemed more crowded.  They also had Christmas decorations and baked goods.  If you’re looking for more Scandinavian food items, the Norwegian church is the better bet.  Here, there were baked goods, including cardamom buns, limpa bread, finskar pinnar and more.  I got cinnamon buns.

cinnamon buns

If you want to catch one of the fairs, or both, they go through Sunday evening.

The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park

The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park are open.  Get your fill of cheer with numerous booths of local and handmade jewelry, ornaments, scarves and hats, housewares and more, including one of my favorites–St. Petersburg Collections with Russian ornaments.

skating rink

There’s the skating rink and the restaurant and lounge, Celsius, if you want to get in from the cold.


This year, there are many food booths to keep the foodie happy.  There are plenty of artisan food purveyors here.  Have some gruyere grits at Daisy Grits.  There’s TopArepa with toppings to make your arepa sweet or savory.  Get a warm baked apple strudel at Strudels & Pies by Hans.

Max Brenner’s

There’s plenty of chocolate, including Max Brenner, Raaka Chocolate from Brooklyn and No Chewing Allowed.  Get a pickle from a barrel at Pickle Me Pete.

Pickle Me Pete

There’s also churros, Turkish food, vegetarian food, kettle corn, doughnuts, macarons, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, crepes and artisan soft pretzels in flavors like cinnamon raisin or truffles and cheese.


Of course, there’s an apple cider stand. The longest line I saw was at Wafels & Dinges; no surprise people want a hot waffle on a cold night!

You can even find foodie home decor at Brazilian Home Collection.

fruit home decor

San Gennaro Festival 2012

The San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy kicked off this past week.

Mulberry Street

This is the 86th year of the feast that celebrates the patron saint of Naples.  September 19 is the feast day of San Gennaro, and there will be a Mass at Most Precious Blood church followed by a procession down Mulberry Street.

Most Precious Blood church

Foods that are traditional at Italian festivals include fried dough called zeppole, served with powdered sugar.  My grandma would make zeppole on St. Joseph’s Day.

Other Italian festival favorites include sausage and pepper sandwiches, clams, and fried calamari:

sausage and peppers

shucking clams

There are a lot of other Italian foods available at the festival, including Italian cookies and pastries, gelato, and pizza as well as fair foods like fried Oreos and funnel cakes.

Italian cookies

St. Joseph’s Day sfinge and sfogliatelle

fresh-cut torrone

struffoli (a Christmas treat)

Bust Magazine Craftacular and Food Fair

I got on line early to the Bust Magazine Craftacular and Food Fair at 82 Mercer Street between Spring and Broome Streets, Soho, New York so I could snag a fab gift bag.  The fair is today, May 21st from 11 am to 8 pm.  Foodwise, I saw some interesting cupcakes, whoopie pies and even stroopwafel.  When I saw the table of treats at Vegan Treats Bakery, I thought they were fake, they looked so good.  

Vegan Treats

What gal could pass up gold-tinted cherries and gold-dusted pink frosting? 

cherry cupcake


Melt Bakery

I had an ice cream sandwich from Melt Bakery today at the Hester Street Fair.  There were three choices available today:  Belle–peach ice cream and brown butter bourbon shortbread, Lovelet–cream cheese ice cream and red velvet whoopie pie, and either the Minimalist or Classic, something with vanilla ice cream and a chocolate chip-type cookie.  I confess my eyes went right for the Lovelet.  Surprisingly though, I got the Belle.  I was in the mood for something lighter and more refreshing, as it is a warm day in the city today.   Plus it is Kentucky Derby day and the Belle is a celebration of the South.  I still want to try the Lovelet.  I really like the concept of gourmet ice cream sandwiches with different flavor combinations.  And some of the examples on the Web site sound really good like the Thai Fighter with chocolate chili ice cream and curried coconut cookies.  The Belle was good, but I thought the peach ice cream could be more peachy.  Next time I’d try the Lovelet.


Lower East Side Food Festival

This weekend is the opening of the Hester Street Fair, and opening day includes the Lower East Side Food Festival.  Historically, the Hester Street Fair was a market of pushcart vendors.  The fair organizers want to honor that history while incorporating the vibe of the modern LES.  The list of food vendors is long and definitely worth a trip.

Arancini (Risotto Balls)
Cheeky Sandwiches
Roni Sue’s Chocolate
An Choi
Fat Radish
Mighty Balls (Gourmet Meat Balls)
Girl Next Door Baked Goods
First Prize Pies
Lucky Penny Bake Shop
Macaron Parlour
Melt Bakery (Ice Cream Sandwiches)
Sigmund Pretzelshop
Herbin Spoonful (Caramels and Gourmet Sauces)
La Newyorkina (Mexican Paletas-nominated for Beard Book Award)
Bao Bing (Taiwanese Shaved Ice with Handmade Toppings)
Spatzi (Homemade Granola)
Milkmade Ice Cream
Dolce Nonna (Italian)
Signature Blends (Tea)
Luke’s Lobster
La Sonrisa (Empanadas)
The Stand NY (Fresh Lemonade)
Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale and Bao by Bruce Cost (Berkshire Pork Buns)
Bocce’s Bakery (organic, natural treats for man’s best friend)
Wonder City Coffee and Donut Bar
King’s County Jerky
the Dumpling Diva

North Carolina State Fair


I didn’t try the chocolate bacon at the state fair, but it is appropriate that the state known for its pork would have something like this. 


A made-from-scratch ham biscuit from the ladies at the Apex Lions Club.


I did have fried mozzarella sticks, which were delicious.

cheese curds

Continuing with the fried cheese, cheddar curds.  Good too.


More fried–this time dough.  Wish the fair had some zeppoles, but an elephant ear was the closest I could find.  Yum!


Fried Oreos.  Nothing special even though they look great.


Fried veggies were yummy, especially with ranch dip.

pecan pie

Fried pecan pie, very good, something any pecan pie lover would love.

frying pie

This pic is of the pie being fried.

ice cream

A fair favorite of mine, R&R’s homemade vanilla ice cream.  Much better than NC State’s, which is fairly mediocre.

ice cream maker

Ice cream being churned using vintage John Deere engines.


More of the pig theme–a Miss Debbie’s Specialty apple with chocolate and bacon. 


Here’s another named after Homer Simpson with a little doughnut on top.


A key lime pie one that I actually bought.


A first-prize winning lovely cake shaped like a Valentine’s Day heart.