Friends, if I were to describe food heaven to you, what would come to mind? You know what, don't answer that. That's a little subjective; but I think we can all agree that zeppole are unanimously delicious.
Unless you don't know what zeppole are. In a nutshell, a zeppola is an Italian deep-fried pastry. The dough is golden and crispy on the outside, flavourful and dense on the inside, and stuffed with the creamiest, sweetest, most delicious filling known to man: sweetened ricotta cheese. Or, I mean, you could get it with custard if you want. But ricotta is the best, trust.
If you've never tried one of these morsels of pure heaven, then I feel kind of bad for you. You've been seriously missing out, my friend; and the fact that this delicious pastry is only available seasonally doesn't exactly make things better. But don't worry. It just so happens that we're right at the beginning of zeppole season (which ends at Easter, by the way), and I've got some pretty awesome places for you to try a pretty awesome zeppole. Read on for Best Montreal Zeppole 2016.
1. Delices Lafrenaie
If you recognize the name of this St. Leo-based bakery, that's because it's actually everywhere. Lafrenaie boasts locations in the South Shore, Laval, and the West Island - but trust me when I say that they need every single one of these locations. The pastries here? Out of this world. Their zeppole are pretty much as close to perfection as you can get: Crisp, fluffy balls of dough filled with sweet, decadent ricotta cheese. Omg, friends. Heaven.
You might recognize this place as being the OG spot in Montreal to get cannoli. But that's not all this Montreal Little Italy bakery is renowned for, friends. Featuring fresh, doughy zeppole, packed to the brim with their signature fresh, creamy ricotta filling, the zepps here are a legit work of art. Pastry lovers, get yourselves there - and pick up one of their famous cannoli while you're at it. #NoJudgements.
3. Dolci Piu
Located in Ville St. Laurent, close to Vanier College, this Italian bakery is super popular for its pastries, sandwiches and other lunch-time offerings. But do you know what else is seriously amazing at this spot? That's right, friends. Their zeppole. Featuring pretty much a perfect dough (crispy, tasty, chewy and delicious) encasing an amazing, fluffy, sweet ricotta and chocolate chip filling, the zeps here are mind-blowing. This year they've also introduced a pistachio variety into the lineup, so fellow pistachio maniacs, prepare your tastebuds. Trust.
Straight up, the zeppole here are amazing. They offer two different sorts of zeppole here - both the doughnut variety, and the straight up fried dough ball kind - but no matter what you're getting, you're in for a good time. The dough here is golden and crispy on the outside, dense and delicious on the inside, and stuffed with creamy, sweet, yummy ricotta filling. Of course, if you're not feeling ricotta, they've got four other kinds - including Nutella and tiramisu - for you to choose from (protip, though? Tiramisu is seriously out of this world amazing). Delicious? Delicious.
5. St. Martin
No joke, every time I'm in Laval, I find myself making a pit-stop here for some kind of pastry or another (mainly cannoli, though, no lie). Their zeppole are seriously amazing, though; I think what I love the most about St. Martin is the ricotta, which is a little more dense than most other places. This gives it a super creamy texture and allows the flavours of the pastry dough itself to really shine - plus when you add it in with the texture of the zeppole dough, you get pure magic, my friends. Even if you're not in Laval, get yourself here. You'll thank me for it later.
6. San Pietro
Friends, if you were to go to San Pietro right now, the chances are pretty high that you'd encounter a huge lineup. But don't worry. Brave the lineup. Trust me. The reason why this bakery is often packed is very simple: Their food is awesome, and their pastries are mouthwatering. Their zeppole, though? OMG. Super fresh, flavourful, and all-around awesome, a dozen (or two, whatever) of these zeppole is worth any wait time you might encounter; and more than worth the trek down to Villeray. Enjoy, friends. Enjoy.
7. San Marco
Alright, seriously, these zeps are amazing. Featuring a crispy, golden, delicious exterior and a dense-yet-delicious interior, these pastries are stuffed to the brim with delicious, decadent ricotta cream. The zeppole here tend to be the "ball of dough" type, which is a beautiful thing. Biting into one is almost kind of like eating an apple, except the apple is a crispy, fluffy, creamy ball straight from heaven.
This Villeray bakery has been serving up speciality cakes and delicious baked goods for years; and honestly, their zeppole are seriously amazing. Their ricotta zeppole features dough that's crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and all-over perfect; stuffed with creamy, fluffy, flavourful ricotta cream. Honestly, friends, these desserts are pretty much what dreams are made of. Of course, Tillemont offers both the ricotta and custard variety, and honestly, they're both super amazing - so if you can't decide between the two, just get both. It's fine. Zeppole season only comes once a year.
9. Patisserie Italia
Okay, if you're searching for a pastry that'll transport you straight into food euphoria mode, stop the search. The zeppole at Italia will pretty much do it for you. Featuring creamy, sweet, and all-around delicious fillings, encased by crispy, fluffy, tasty zeppole dough. In addition to the standard custard and ricotta filling, Patisserie Italia offers a bunch of flavours for you to choose from - but considering these pastries won Italian Week's Best Zeppole competition a few years ago, you know there's no wrong decisions. Only great ones, friends. Only great ones.
10. La Cornetteria
Located just at the edge of Montreal's Little Italy, La Cornetteria is known for their fresh, delicious cornetto pastries (they're kind of like sweet croissants, stuffed with ricotta, custard, or a variety of other fillings), or their "cronetto". Know what else they make amazingly well, though? Zeppole. The zeppole dough here is crispy, light, and rolled in sugar - which gives the whole pastry some really awesome, complex textures. Their fillings are equally amazing, and although they offer a handful of flavours, like custard, ricotta and hazelnut, the custard here is a huge standout. Whether it's your first time trying a zep, or you've been pretty much eating like, three zeppole a day since they came out for 2016, you've got to try one at La Cornetteria.