Modern Pastry

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It’s the age old question: “who makes the best cannolis in the North End?”  For some reason, if you ask the question, you are bound to get strong opinions going both ways.

A couple months ago ago, I visited Mike’s Pastry in the North End and enjoyed a taste of their delicious cannolis.  Soon after I wrote the post, I started receiving various comments that ranged all over the map.  Many loved it.  Some thought it was a tourist trap, and several thought that Modern was better.
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On a quiet Monday evening, we sauntered into a Modern Pastry that was almost empty.  Unlike the weekends, where the line goes out the door, this dark, rainy Monday evening was relatively calm.  Apparently we had just missed Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, who had visited Modern the Saturday before.
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According to fans of Modern Pastry, Modern’s big selling point is that they make the cannolis fresh on the spot.  In other words, the shells are not pre-filled, unlike those at Mike’s, and therefore the cannolis are arguably less soggy.  Also, at Modern, the cannolis come in two different sizes.  You can get a mini cannoli or a larger one.  Neither one is as large as the one from Mike’s.

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Two differently sized cannolis from Modern Pastry
 

So what’s the best way to test them?  We purchased a cannoli at Mike’s, and then walked down the street to Modern and bought a mini cannoli and also a normal sized one.  Monday night is a good night to do an experiment like this because you don’t have to wait in line at either establishment to get the cannolis, thus both are pretty fresh!

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The one super large cannoli from Mike’s Pastry
 

The verdict? I think what people say is generally true.  The Mike’s shell is just naturally harder and crispier – more cookie-like.  The modern shell is delicate, more refined, more pastry-like.  It’s by no means soft, but definitely more delicate.  The cream inside the Mike’s cannoli is sweeter, although neither struck me as being too sweet or not sweet enough.

In the end, I think it’s a matter of personal preference.  I don’t think the Mike’s cannoli tastes at all soggy.  I think the stronger, more durable shell withstands moisture pretty well, and I found that the Mike’s cannolis actually last longer than the Modern cannolis, which get soggy pretty fast (definitely within 24 hours) since the shell is more delicate.

Bryan and I both preferred the Mike’s cannoli a bit, although I appreciate the fact that Modern has two sizes from which to choose.

Like I mentioned last time, you can’t go wrong going to either one.  In fact, you really can’t go wrong just by visiting the North End while you are in Boston.  It’s such a vibrant neighborhood, the food is fantastic, and the cannolis are unbeatable.

Modern Pastry
The North End
257 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02113
Modern Pastry on Urbanspoon

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Comments

  1. says

    I’ve actually never been to either Mike’s or Modern (hanging my head in shame…). My husband and I have been talking about doing a cannoli taste test for YEARS now. Sounds like a Monday night is the way to go!

  2. says

    i did a similar comparison around 5 on the weekend, it seems as though everyone was eating dinner :) Must’ve been the time, but mike’s was soggy for us, and my aunt and i liked modern’s crispy shell and more ricotta-like (less sweet) filling :)

  3. says

    I’m particular to Mike’s, mainly because when we were in college my husband and I would walk through the back bay all the way to Mike’s, get our two cannolis (and prices haven’t changed in 5+ years) and sit down by the holocaust memorial (no idea why) and eat them.

    I’ve also never had cannolis from Modern, just other pastries.

  4. says

    I don’t know why, but I’ve never had a cannoli! What is wrong with me?! I need to trek over to North Beach (our version of the North End) ASAP. I esp. like the idea of a mini cannoli–then I can eat multiples.

  5. says

    I love real bakeries; not that there are a lot of “fake” ones, but I like bakeries that truly know their craft, they have a history, and they support their business on good practices, not just gimmicky trends. Cannolis are such a treat, and they are a sign of skill, as they are a classic. I must quote the line from the Godfather yet again: leave the gun, take the cannoli!

  6. steve corleone says

    YOU CAN’T GO WRONG REALLY, I LIKE MODERN BETTER THOUGH. NEVER HAVE TO WAIT IN LINE AS LONG, BETTER SERVICE (MIKE’S CAN BE A CIRCUS). CAN’T GO WRONG REALLY BUT I WOULD RATHER MINGLE WITH REAL ITALIANS AND LOCALS(MORE THE NORM AT MODERN) THEN THE TOURISTS AT MIKES. ALSO I THINK MODERN IS A LITTLE CHEAPER.

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