Part of my mission for this website, if you have been following, has been to support local eats. In an effort to get the word out about local businesses I have been tasting here and there as often as I can. One of the biggest and best surprises I came across this month was a bakery I have driven by at least a dozen times. Well, I sped by it, and I must admit that it is never good when the speed limit is close to 50 mph outside an business. With only ever catching a quick glance of this establishment, I never got a chance to make much of a note about the name of the place, let alone anything besides the fact that it was a bakery… Well like I said, I was in for such a wonderful surprise.
Main Line residents, a piece of Philadelphia has moved in, and it is worth slowing down on Rt. 30 for!!
Carangi Baking Company. Main Line.
1556 E. Lancaster Avenue
Most of the Philadelphia suburbs never get a chance to taste real South Philly bread. Yes, some hoagie shops might brag that they have great Philly rolls, and some restaurants love to say that they bring in breads from the city every morning, but there is something so authentic about walking into that bread bakery, seeing where it all comes together, and letting your five senses have a go around with something that we rarely get to see first hand. The Main Line needed a real bread bakery, so Grazie Mille Carangi Family for bringing it so close to home!!!
Yes, all of you stereotypical Lancaster Avenue bakeries, Carangi is a BREAD BAKERY. How awesome is that?! When someone perfects their craft like the Carangi family has, there is no reason to complicate it by putting any other goods in their cases. I’d love to see the competition to this powerhouse!
And really, at this point, I have no competition to even put in the ring. Maybe the slices of tomato pie I scooped up were not totally perfect, but everything else I tasted was flawless in taste, texture, freshness, and authenticity.
The whole grain baguette was the best I ever had, anywhere. Ever.
I knew that I was about to taste high quality right as the knife met the crusty, grainy outside of of the loaf. Sinking my teeth in a a hearty chunk was just an aside to the expression on my face and the oh,my,goodness, that I couldn’t help but hold in. The lightness of interior mixed with all of the grains that met your teeth, bread at its best. Yes, I consumed almost 3/4 of a baguette by myself that night. No shame in admitting it, because I know full well that once you get a taste of this goodie, you will be hooked just like me!
As if my life couldn’t get any sweeter in that moment, it did. Actually sweet of course. The Carangi Cannoli is not only a generous size, but full of history that you can just taste. Whether you choose the plain shell, the chocolate covered shell, or the minis there is no taste of the frying oil left in your mouth, and the filling is spot on. Thick, but creamy and perfectly sweet and tangy. They’ve clearly been doing this for a while ….
Despite all attempts I made to not be completely glutenous I failed. I never say no to tomato pie. With a traditional as well as a whole grain variety, it was a great snag for a quick snack! My only suggestions: I would love to see the tomato sauce pack a little more punch, and I would also love to see a more generous helping of it on top. Tomato pie is the best when you find yourself licking the left over sauce off the plate when you are done! But regardless, the edge of the crust had a great crunch, leaving the underside to have that right kind of softness, all tied together with the fact that it was noticeably freshly baked….
So, if you find yourself speeding down Lancaster Avenue past Carangi Baking Company, I encourage you to slow down and stop in one day. Even if you just want to grab a coffee, they freshly brew La Colombe, or a decadent mini cannoli for the road, it’s worth it. And by the way, my photographs don’t deceive, it all really does look that good on a plate!