Cake Decorating updates

Our in-store focus this week will be on pastry bag basics, but we can’t forget about our famous cake decorating courses. And yes, they are in full-swing again! We wanted to post a few photos from one of the Beginner courses to show how the students are progressing. The beginner course focuses on:

♦ Preparation of cakes for decorating
♦ Several types of decorator icings
♦ Preparation of various types of decorating bags
♦ Instruction in the skills needed to prepare a variety of flowers, including the full rose.
♦ Special techniques used for floral spray cakes, writing and figure piping.

Students who pass this course are offered the chance to transition to our Intermediate Cake Decorating Class, which goes into more advanced techniques and cover specialty work like Run Sugar and more skilled flower piping.

We also offer a course in Gum Paste/Fondant.  There are no prerequisites for this class, no prior decorating experience is needed. The Gum Paste/Fondant course covers the basics of working with fondant and gum paste, including how to cover a cake with rolled fondant, and several different flowers to decorate their cakes with.

If you’re interested in signing up, you can view full course descriptions and course dates here, but hurry; courses sizes are small to focus on individualized instruction, so they fill up fast!

Here’s a few photos to show just what goes on in the Beginner’s classes.

Nadia’s Gravy Day – A Family Affair


Making gravy is involves all members of our family – even the kids!

Growing up, we always spent one full weekend making gravy (pasta sauce) to last us for the year. My parents and 5 siblings would go to the farm and pick tomatoes, then to our shore house in New Jersey to clean and prep them for cooking and canning.

We cooked the tomatoes on an outdoor brick and metal stove made by my father, which was fueled by wood. We then used a hand cranked tomato machine (like the Roma Food Strainer and Sauce Maker) to puree them into a sauce. It was long and exhausting to process the 10 bushels using a manual machine, as well as keep the fire going on the wood burning stove. It would be late into the night  before all the jars were done. Read the rest of this entry »

Fante’s Custom Coffee Blends

Fante's Coffe of the Day MenuJust a walk into our brick and mortar shop in Philadelphia’s historic Italian Market, and you’ll often hear the exclamation, “It smells amazing in here!” Hang a right past the cutlery case, and you’ll find a wonderland of everything from green, unroasted coffee beans to flavored coffee blends, and all the necessary tools to make the ultimate cup of joe.

For years, we’ve been collaborating with only the best coffee roasters to bring you exclusive blends and roasts that we feel proud to call our own. Here’s a breakdown of signature coffees that you can only find right here at Fante’s:

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Tomato Machines – Mariella’s Summertime Tradition

Summer holds so many great food memories from my childhood in Italy. One of my favorites is the smell and taste of a ripe tomato right off the vine. Everyone in our town had a vegetable garden, and no matter its size, there were always lots of tomato plants. After all, the gravy (sauce) that we canned had to last for a whole year of pasta meals.


Nonna Assunta with her baby, our Mamma Antonietta

My nonna loved to harvest the plum tomatoes. She cut them in half, squeezed the seeds and liquid out, sprinkled them with salt and placed them on a white sheet in the sun to dry. While helping nonna, I got to taste them as they grew progressively dryer and more intense in flavor. Yum!

My mom did the rest of the work with the tomatoes. She blanched them and ran them through a food mill to remove the skin and seeds, and then put them in jars. It was a time consuming task that was repeated a number of times during tomato season, and well worth it.

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Zenker Creative Adjustable Baking Pan


Zenker Creative Adjustable Baking Pan

A creative trio of options: Biscotti, Quiches, Tarts and more… This German-made adjustable baking pan by Zenker provides a range of possibilities, so why settle for just one option, when you can serve up a trio!

I came across this pan last year, and knew it was an item that we needed to add to our bakeware selection here at Fante’s. Always looking for interesting desserts and entrees to make for family gatherings and weekday meals, this pan provides an uncomplicated, yet create way to bake. My kitchen is by no means large, so an item that offers multiple uses is essential for me.

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Nadia’s Tigelle

Tigelle1Tigelle is an Italian flat bread which originates from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Historically, this bread was made by placing circles of the dough between round clay discs called tigelle, and stacked to bake in an open fire, hence the name. As they baked, the bas relief flower carving in the tile would imprint the bread. Today, they are more commonly made on the stovetop.

Made in Bologna, Italy, the capital of Emilia-Romagna Region, the Enrico Pruni “Due Torri” Tigelle iron is designed to be used on a gas stove top. The inside cavities are embossed with a flower design to replicate the image of the old clay tiles. It resembles the “fiore di vita”, the flower of life symbol which is an ancient design found in many cultures which represents good luck and fertility.

Tigelle are easy to make, and best eaten warm, sliced in half and traditionally filled with ham, prosciutto and cheese, or with sweet jam for a morning treat.

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2014 Holiday Staff Picks – Anything Goes

Last week, we compiled a list of our favorite holiday gift items under $50. This week, we asked our staff to choose a gift from our wide selection of kitchen wares that they would love to give or receive this year if budget weren’t an issue. Some went for useful items that help make everyday cooking and baking easier and more fun, while others went all out and chose their ultimate fantasy gifts. Read below to see what they said!

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