I know at least two members of the WG@TJ's team have been to Italy. The closest I've ever been to Italy would have to be Little Italy in New York City—I mean, physically, the closest I've ever been would be Spain or France—but if you're talking authentic Italian pizza, pasta, and desserts, NYC would be it for me.
While there, I picked up a cannoli from a little pastry shop. It was surprisingly inexpensive and deee-licious. Since then, I've had a few other cannolis from Italian restaurants and delis, but they all pale in comparison to that amazing Little Italy cannoli so far. So how does Trader Joe's offering size up?
It's pretty darn good. The shell isn't bad at all, but it's hard-pressed to compete with a just-baked one, fresh off the cooling rack from a professional pastry chef. Trader Joe's offering comes frozen, and you simply thaw for a while at room temperature or in the fridge. Considering its recent frozen-ness, it's honestly quite amazing.
And the filling is even better. Buffalo milk ricotta. Yep. It's just a little more tangy than other cannoli fillings I've tried, and I love it that way. It's still sweet and blends nicely with the dark chocolate, but there's just a little something in this version that gives it an extra zip—I assume we can attribute that to the use of buffalo milk instead of just plain old cow juice...? It's like a very high-quality cream cheese almost. Whatever it is, I like it. I should also note that regular cow's milk does appear lower down on the ingredients list, so if you have some kind of cow's milk allergy, you still may need to be wary here.
The bready part of these pastries is soft and crumbly, and the filling is super creamy in texture. The dark chocolate adds even more complexity and a slight rigidity to the shell, and there's just the right amount of it.
I'm certainly no cannoli expert, but these are at least the second-best cannolis I've ever had. Four bucks for six cannolis—er, cannoli? Is the plural still just "cannoli" with no "s" as the packaging would imply? Any Italian-speakers up in this piece?
These treats are indeed "miniature." A single mini cannoli isn't really a full dessert just by itself unless you have that...that thing where you don't keep eating until you're bursting at the seams each meal. Oh yeah, I think it's called "self-control" or something like that. You'll either need to combine these with other mini desserts to create your own sampler platter or just eat three at a time like the nutrition info suggests. Who am I to argue with Trader Joe? Three cannoli it is...but only because he twisted my arm.
Double fours here.
Bottom line: 8 out of 10.