Tag Archives: San Gennaro

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, Angelo’s of Mulberry Street, 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

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San Gennaro Festival 2016

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New Yorkers are a resilient bunch with much pride in their city.  The bombing in Chelsea on September 17 would not deter them from carrying on.  The bombing occurred only two days into the ten-day San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy, but it didn’t keep the crowds from coming.  That’s good because it’s an important year for the festival–its 90th anniversary.

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September 19 is the feast day of San Gennaro and that is the day organizers celebrated with a mass and procession from the doors of the Most Precious Blood Church on Baxter Street around Canal Street and up through Mulberry Street.

Most Precious Blood Church

Most Precious Blood Church

This year’s grand marshal was Joe Causi.  A Bronx Tale‘s Chazz Palminteri also made an appearance at the festival.  (Tony Danza was the grand marshal of the parade last year, but this year,  I had my second run-in with the actor.  I was shopping in Alleva Dairy, the country’s oldest Italian cheese store, when a man said, “Excuse me, ma’am,” and brushed past me.  It was Tony.  Years ago, I ran into him on Bleecker Street and I asked for a photo to which he rudely said no.)

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Before Mass, I pinned a dollar on the statue of San Gennaro and got a pamphlet about him as well as a pin and prayer card.  Inside the church, there is a large presepio (Nativity scene) from Naples on display.

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Street vendors sell everything from American food to fair festival food like roasted corn,

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to pizza and cannoli

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to Italian tchotchkes

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to traditional Italian foods like these Italian cookies, taralli, mostaccioli and biscotti.

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I ate at Sal’s Pizza on Broome near Mulberry for pizza, sausage and broccoli rape.  At Sal’s, you get a side order of pasta with your entree, the traditional way.

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For dessert, some cassata and coffee at Caffe Palermo.

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Weekend Whets 9/20

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87th Annual Feast of San Gennaro, Thursday, September 12, 2013 through Sunday, September 22, 2013, Little Italy, Manhattan:  Italian festival with Italian food vendors, games and entertainment.

delicious pizza with creamy mozzarella from Italian Food Center on Mulberry Street

delicious pizza with creamy mozzarella from Italian Food Center booth on Mulberry Street

Culinary Class:  Ravioli, Friday, September 20, 2013, 6:30 p.m., Westchester Italian Cultural Center:  Learn how to make ravioli with four different fillings such as cheese, spinach, mushrooms and squash.  $50-$60.

Viva La Comida!, Friday, September 20, 2013, 82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue, Queens:  Celebration of the area’s local businesses.  Food vendors, food trucks, music and pop up shops.

First Annual Lobstah Palooza, Saturday, September 21, 2013, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., The Well, 272 Meserole Street, Brooklyn:  Full lobster dinner and DJs.  $35-$40.

Stone Street Oyster Festival, Saturday, September 21, 2013, Noon to 6 p.m., Stone Street, Lower Manhattan:  Part of New York Oyster Week.  A party with music and oysters.

Taste of the West Village 2013, Saturday, September 21, 2013, noon to 4 p.m., The Yard at P.S.41, Greenwich Avenue and Charles Street, West Village:  Sample cuisine from West Village restaurants.  Tickets $40.

The Ultimate Peruvian Experience, Saturday, September 21, 2013, 7 p.m., Raymi Restaurant, Manhattan:  Afro-Peruvian music and 3-course meal. $65.

A Dinner for Haiti, Sunday, September 22, 2013, Louro, West Village:  Nossa Mesa Supper Club at Louro restaurant features a Haitian-inspired menu.  $65.

Celebrity Chef Benefit Dinner at Hearth, Monday, September 23, 2013, 7 p.m., Hearth, Manhattan:  Seven course dinner with each course prepared by a different celebrity chef, including Michael Symon.  All proceeds will go directly to A Life Story Foundation.  Tickets $325.

Tasting Table’s Macaroon Workshop with Danny Macaroons, Monday, September 23, 2013, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tasting Table Test Kitchen and Dining Room, 495 Broome Street, Manhattan:  Learn how to make coconut macaroons from Danny Cohen of Danny Macaroons.  $50 ticket includes macaroon demonstration and workshop, reception with small bites and cocktails, a box of your own macaroons and a signed copy of Danny’s new book, The Macaroon Bible.  Must be a subscriber of Tasting Table.

Chef’s Table with Jimmy Bradley, Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Sur la table, Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan:  Chef/owner of The Red Cat prepares dishes and serves them as each is prepared.

Fall Feast, Thursday, September 26, 2013, 7:30 p.m., 38 Prince (between Mott and Mulberry), Nolita:  Farm to table dinner featuring Union Square Greenmarket items.  $55.

11th Annual Taste of the Village, Thursday, September 26, 2013, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Washington Square Park, Village:  Over 30 local food and wine vendors and jazz.  Tickets $50.

Savor the Season, Thursday, September 26, 2013, 6:30 p.m . to 10 p.m., Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan:  Celebrate 20 years of Harvest Home Farmer’s Markets in New York City with tastings from chefs and restaurants north of 96th Street, including Marcus Samuelsson.

The Joy of Sake, Thursday, September 26, 2013, 6 p.m . to 9 p.m., The Altman Building (135 W 18th Street), Manhattan:  Sake tasting. Tickets $95.

Le Fooding, Friday, September 27, 2013, and Saturday, September 28, 2013, 7 p.m., Brooklyn:  Time’Mach’Inn dinners with menus celebrating food trends in recent decades in NYC.

Grand Central Oyster Bar’s Oyster Frenzy, September 28, 2013, noon to 5 p.m., Grand Central Oyster Bar.

Smoke @ ICC, Saturday, September 28, 2013, 4:15 p.m. to 8 p.m., Pier 57 at 15th Street, Manhattan:  Teams from around the country compete to smoke the best brisket in 4 categories.  Public tasting, beer garden and live music.  Tickets $65.

The 10th Annual NYC Dumpling Festival Eating Contest, Saturday, September 28, 2013, noon to 5 p.m., Sara D. Roosevelt Park on East Houston Street between Chrystie and Forsyth Streets, Manhattan:  All proceeds benefit the Food Bank For New York City in this dumpling eating contest with men’s and women’s divisions.

Taste of France, Saturday, September 28, 2013, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.,  and Sunday, September 29, 2013, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Bryant Park, Midtown, Manhattan:  A celebration of all things French with cooking demos and tastings.

OCTOBER

The Big Smoke, Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn:  A menu of smoked meats and beer from Brooklyn Brewery.  Tickets $45.

Plate by Plate: Project by Project NY’s Annual Tasting Benefit , Friday, October 4, 2013, 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., 82 Mercer, Soho:  Charity event showcasing New York’s premier restaurants. Tickets $150.

North:  Nordic Food Festival, October 2 through 7, 2013, various locations, NYC:  Celebrate Nordic cuisine with lunches/dinners by Scandinavian chefs and cooking classes with Scandinavian chefs.

3rd Annual EscapeMaker’s Local Food & Travel Expo in Brooklyn, Saturday, October 5, 2013, noon to 5 p.m., Borough Hall, Brooklyn:  Exhibitors who are within a 50-mile radius of Brooklyn will be exhibiting.  Tastings and a special Made in Brooklyn market.

Slow U – Sustainable Seafood (Sashimi and More), Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 6:30 p.m., International Culinary Center (formerly known as the French Culinary Institute), 462 Broadway, Manhattan:  Enjoy sushi as you learn about sustainable local fisheries and the family fishermen.

Slice Out Hunger, Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 6 p.m., St Anthony’s Church – 154 Sullivan St (at Houston), Soho:  Sponsors match every dollar spent for Food Bank For New York City.  Tickets are $1 each.  Pizzerias include Lombardi’s, Rubirosa, John’s, Grimaldi’s, Joe’s, DiFara, Arturo’s and more.

Italian Restaurant Week, October 10-17, 2013, Brooklyn:  Celebrate Italian Heritage Month and Columbus Day with some Italian food in Brooklyn.

Sugar Skull Decorating Workshop, October 13, 2013, 12:30 p.m., Fabriscope, 41 Willow Place, Brooklyn:  Learn how to make sugar skulls for Day of the Dead Mexican holiday.  $50.

Tasting Table Presents an Evening with Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi, Friday, October 18, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tasting Table Test Kitchen and Dining Room, 495 Broome Street, Floor 2, Manhattan:  Chefs sign their cookbook.  Ticket includes cookbook, canapes, unlimited drinks.  $60.

Chocabaret:  A Chocolate Tasting Set to Music, Sunday, October 20, 2013, 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street, Midtown:  Chocolate tasting and singing by Chef Jackie Gordon.  $60.

Get My Goat, October 27, 2013, 5:30 p.m., The Farm on Adderley,
1108 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn:  The Farm on Adderley and Slow Food NYC feature a dinner menu with goat including roasted goat, goat cheese and goat’s milk. $30.

Plates for Change: Neighbors Together’s Fall Chef Showcase, October 30, 2013, 6 p.m., The Green Building, 452 Union Street, Brooklyn:  Event featuring the signature dishes of New York restaurants, such as David Chang’s Momofuku, Ryan Angulo’s Buttermilk Channel and Jehangir Mehta’s Graffiti.  Event honors filmmakers Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, co-directors of A Place at the Table, a documentary about the effects of consumer insecurity in the food industry.

Sal’s Pizza

I can’t believe I have never had Sal’s pizza before!  Sal’s has the best slice of New York pizza.  If you’re looking for New York-style pizza, Sal’s on Broome Street in Little Italy is the place to go.

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While the pizza is great, you should also try the fried calzones.  Everywhere you go, calzones are baked.  They shouldn’t be!  We’ve always eaten calzones fried.  Both my grandmas would put mozzarella, ricotta and chunks of ham or salami inside the calzone and then fry it.  These were a special treat.  We make them now too but not as often, and this brought me back to those fun times.

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I recommend the traditional at Sal’s.  It is phenomenal.  They even have one named the San Gennaro with sausage, peppers and onions.

San Gennaro Festival 2013

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This past Thursday, the San Gennaro Festival kicked off in Little Italy for the 87th year.  The feast is held in honor of the patron saint of Naples, San Gennaro.  Although it is a religious holiday, it is enjoyed by all for its food, fun and celebration of Italian American culture.

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San Gennaro is the patron saint of Naples, and each year on three dates, including September 19, his blood miraculously liquefies.  On September 19, the Most Precious Blood Church on Baxter Street holds Mass and the religious procession begins at the church and goes down Mulberry Street with traditional music played by a marching band.

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If you are Roman Catholic or interested in the meaning behind the festival, you may want to check out the shrine to San Gennaro at the church.

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The church also has other lovely statues and a beautiful grotto as well.

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Outside the church on Mulberry Street, you can pin a dollar bill to the statue of San Gennaro as well as purchase religious articles.

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The San Gennaro Festival has much for the family to enjoy, including games, kiddie rides, food, musical entertainment, celebrities and a guy in a cannoli suit.

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Caffe Palermo advertises the best cannoli, and it’s good.

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This year’s grand marshals were former New York governor Mario Cuomo and his wife, Matilda, and

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a special appearance by honored guest, wrestler Bruno Sammartino.

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The festival crowds the streets of Little Italy, and of course, everyone goes for the food.  There’s traditional fair food, as well as traditional Italian food like sausage and peppers,

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zeppole, clams, cannoli, gelato and ices, cookies, torrone, calzones, pizza and more.

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This year, knockoff “cronuts,” or croissant doughnuts made an appearance.  I got a cannoli-flavored one.

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It was good–the cannoli cream was really good.  It tasted like a cannoli cream-filled cinnamon doughnut.

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At street fairs, I always get zeppole.  They were yummy.

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This year, I also got Irish cream gelato at Caffe Roma.  This was particularly yummy.  The bits of chocolate were soft.  I hate when chocolate chunks in ice cream are hard, so I loved this.

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And if you’re looking for a fried calzone, try Gina’s, the stand that claims to be the only fried calzone at the festival.  Trust me, you’ve never had a calzone until you’ve had a fried one.  That’s how my grandma always made them.

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Or try the fried calzones at Little Italy’s restaurant Sal’s on Broome Street.

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And the pizza there is perfect New York-style.

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I also got pizza at the Italian Food Center booth and it was delicious–creamy mozzarella, nice crust and tasty sauce.

delicious pizza with creamy mozzarella from Italian Food Center on Mulberry Street

Weekend Whets

San Gennaro Festival, Saturday, September 22 & Sunday, September 23, Mulberry Street, Little Italy, Manhattan:  The 86th annual festival is an open street fair with booths of food and games.   There are sausage and peppers, zeppole, clams and other traditional Italian festival food.

Stone Street Oyster Festival, Saturday, September 22, 2012, noon, 58 Stone Street, Stone Street and Hanover Square, Manhattan:  Oysters, beer and live music.

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)