At Italian bakeries in Montreal, zeppole mean spring is here

Italian bakeries are making zeppole for Saint Joseph's Day. For Italians, the pastry is a sign of spring and a way to honour dads for Italian Father's Day.

The special pastry, made on March 19 for Saint Joseph's Day, symbolizes the start of spring

La Cornetteria bakery in Little Italy is owned by Cinzia Persechino and her husband Stefano Cicali. (Craig Desson/CBC News)

This week we welcome spring, but Italian bakeries in the city are ready to celebrate one day early.

March 19 is Saint Joseph's Day, which is Father's Day in Italy and marks the arrival of spring.

What better way to mark the occasion than with a sweet pastry.

At La Cornetteria on St-Laurent Boulevard in Little Italy, the process starts early in the morning where baker Stefano Cicali arrives to make zeppole.

The key ingredients for the dough are butter, eggs and flour. Kneading the dough for the right amount of time is crucial to make sure the final result has a crispy texture.

The crispy texture of the zeppole requires just the right amount of deep frying. (Craig Desson/CBC News)

"Ours tend to be a little crispy on the outside and nice and soft inside," says La Cornetteria co-owner, Cinzia Persechino.

Afterwards, the zeppole are shaped into round doughnuts and put in a deep fryer of hot oil, so that they come out light and crispy.

Once they've been fried, they are rolled around in sugar and then filled with either ricotta or custard.

At La Cornetteria, other flavours are also available including pistachio and Nutella.

"Most people just want the classic ricotta," says Persechino.

Watch how zeppole are made:


CBC News Montreal

2 years ago
Zeppole 1:06

Adriana Renton, a tourist from Toronto, and her friend Lisa Stephens stumbled into La Cornetteria after taking a food tour of the Jean-Talon Market.

"It's like eating whipped cream, but it's ricotta-flavoured," Renton said, after tasting her very first zeppola.

Stephens compared it to a churro, only fluffier.

Persechino is also an big fan of the dessert.

"It is one of my favourite pastries," she says.

Every March 19, Stefano Cicali, baker and co-owner of La Cornetteria, wakes up early to make zeppole. (CBC)

For her, the zeppola reminds her of Italy, where she lived for 10 years and met her husband, Cicali, with whom she co-owns the bakery.

"It means home," she said, adding that the zeppola also a harbinger of warmer weather.

"It brings me back to spring … coming back to great weather — a better season here in Montreal after such a horrid winter."

About the Author

Craig Desson


Craig Desson is a producer and journalist at CBC Montreal. He was born in Montreal and has lived in Ottawa, Toronto, Germany and Sierra Leone. Craig has also worked for CBC Radio.


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