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Eats and Drinks

Best Bakery

Piedigrotta

319 S. Central Ave., (410) 522-6900

Posted 9/17/2003

No sticky-sweet latticework pies. No cupcakes. No sheet cakes with buttercream icing. Only the freshest and most flavorful breads and pastries you're likely to find anywhere, crafted with the know-how that only the Old Country can still boast. Carminantonio and Bruna Iannaccone came to Baltimore from Venice, Italy, eight years ago, but it was only in July 2002 that they opened tiny Piedigrotta, a narrow storefront bakery on the sketchy fringes of Little Italy. And it only took a few months for people to take notice.

Pastry chef Carminantonio delivers can't-miss dessert classics, each with an Italian accent: fruit pies, cheesecakes, grottoni sweet buns, and dozens of flavors of toothsome biscotti. Because their operation is small, the offerings are always fresh, and the sweets are rivaled only by the breads themselves. Classic Italian bread is a must-try--at once crusty and cloudy--but they also offer more contemporary varieties, none of which have failed us: semolina wheat, New York rye, seven grain, challah, bagels, plus paninis and focaccias layered with the likes of dried tomatoes and artichokes that eat like a meal, and will last you a good several days. And for those who think "cannoli" is Italian for "calories," they even bake light breads and low-calorie cheesecakes, but you have to be there at the right time to get them. For lunch, check out the pane farcito stuffed breads, as well as the latest addition to their menu--panserotti--a whole repast's worth of goodies (including prosciutto, bacon, mozzarella, ricotta, and spinach) baked into angelically light folds of dough. Just be prepared for crowds, especially in a summer or two: Bruna says she's going to start making gelato soon.

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Other Awards for Best Bakery:

Goldman's Kosher Bakery, 9/17/2008

Fenwick Bakery, 9/19/2007

New System Bakery, 9/20/2006

Patisserie Poupon, 9/21/2005

Atwater's/Ploughboy Soups, 9/22/2004

Woodlea Bakery, 9/18/2002

Fenwick Bakery, 9/13/2000

Patisserie Poupon, 9/15/1999

Stone Mill Bakery, 9/17/1997

Big Sky Bread Co., 9/18/1996

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