When I pondered where to head on my next I Did It all For the Cookie review, I felt a trip back in time was needed. Now you don’t need Marty McFly and a DeLorean to do this, you simply need to take a drive down Bleeker street to one of East Utica’s Italian bakeries like Caruso Pastry Shoppe or as it is also known Caffe Caruso.
As you approach this nostalgic Italian bakery its history and charm is hard to miss, from the neon in the window to the tables and chairs that look like what you would find on a patio in Italy, the family pictures covering the wall, and the classic white pastry box hand tied with string. This is a bakery that has stories to tell, that has seen its share of hungry Uticans and has persevered and survived for almost 60 years.
On this visit my wife and I grabbed a pound of Italian cookies, a mix of things we both wanted to eat and try. I should tell you that I have never been a huge fan of Italian cookies, now I know what you are all saying. How is that possible you are from Utica and eating Italian is a requirement right? Well I suppose it’s more that I just haven’t had a lot of great Italian cookies in the past. Speaking of cookies, let’s get to some pictures and reviews.
That’s a good-looking box of cookies isn’t it? Well I’m only going to dive into about half of those delicious treats and tell you what I think about them, because if I eat that entire box I may need to loosen my belt a bit. Let’s pull a Chocolate Meatball, a Thumbprint, a Lemon, and a Strawberry sandwich out and get to it shall we.
The Chocolate Meatball is by far the best of this bunch for me, as you are about to bite into this treat you get a whiff of what can only be described as a hot cocoa and you know right then it’s gonna be a good cookie. That first bite is so rich and dense that you already need a second bite. This cookie has a sort of creamy quality that melts in your mouth as you wonder how they packed so much chocolate goodness in just one cookie. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that this is by far the BEST Chocolate Meatball cookie I have every had.
Lemon cookies are always favorite of mine, and this was just as good as others I have had. Similar to the Chocolate, as you are just about to bite into this cookie it’s the smell of fresh lemon zest that grabs you and pulls you in for a mouthful of its deliciousness. Another dense, and rich cookie, with just a hint of sweetness to compliment the lemon. However on this day I found this cookie to be slightly dry. I’m not holding that against them though, I mean that’s gonna happen on occasion and It didn’t stop me from eating and enjoying a tasty pair of these lemon goodies.
The Strawberry Thumbprint and the Strawberry Sandwich cookies, which I was really excited to try because they reminded me of Christmastime when I was a kid at my grandmas left me wanting just a bit more. This pair of cookies seemed somewhat hard, crumbly, and lacking in any real flavor, both were begging for more strawberry jam that’s for sure.
So as we progress back to the future from our trip back in time, I have to say I would certainly return to Caffe Caruso for more of that “Old World charm” and another box tied with a string, a few chocolate meatballs even the Strawberry thumbprint, why you might ask? Well because Life is short and I Did it all for the Cookie!