Florentines flood this neighborhood pasticceria at the heart of the residential well-to-do Campo di Marte district. The shop is packed weekend morning with people crowded at the bar, two rows deep, picking up large wrapped packages of pastries to go for Sunday lunch with the family. Arrive a weekend morning after 10:30 am and you’ll find your breakfast pastry selection severely limited.
What Pasticceria Stefania lacks in comfort they make up for in quality. Two long curving pastry cases line both sides of the large room. They are filled with elegant glazed tortes, individual pastries, cookies and a few savory hors d’ouvres. The pastry chef is a master of technique and you can detect a strong French influence in many of his works. The selection of “mignon” (bite sized pastries) is particularly large and enticing. Exquisitely crafted multi-layered concoctions rest on whisper thin layers of cake, exhibiting unparalleled delicacy. Light and creamy ricotta mousse is flecked with a few plump raisins and garnished with a dusting of crisp burnt sugar reminiscent of a crème brulée. Dense, truffle like chocolate ganache is offset with the bright flavors of raspberry or passionfruit jam and thin striations of firm genoise.
Clearly Cremino are the most popular morning pastries. These custard filled flattened croissant-shaped pastries are delicious, served warm,the thin pastry wraps yielding delicately to warm, creamy custard. Perhaps even better are the Fagottini di Mele where that same custard is paired with a thick slice or two of baked apple and encased in flaky puff pastry. But while there are almost always Cremino, the Fagottini di Mele sell out quickly. Winter brings a third variation on a theme: the scendiletto – a custard lover’s delight. Cappuccinos are excellent, creamy rich and smooth.
Service at the cash register is brusk, and there are only a few high-top tables, but these small faults are forgotten once you try the pastries.
Via Guglielmo Marconi, 26r, Florence. http://www.pasticceriastefaniafirenze.com; tel: +39 055 583040. Closed Mondays and Sunday afternoons.