238 Lake Street, Northbridge
Ph: (08) 9328 7891
Casa del Dolce or House of Sweets is a microcosm of International patisserie techniques, flavours and influences while managing to stay true to its Italian roots.
Arriving early to this review I was welcomed by very friendly staff.
I felt as though I had wandered into an Italian household, and although we’d never met before, I felt that affectionate European hospitality so lacking in many cafés these days.
I was offered coffee whilst I waited, and appreciated the ‘no frills’ set up of the factory’s shop front.
In true rustic Italian style, Casa del Dolce foregoes the bells and whistles of an elaborate dining area, encouraging its patrons to be blown away by the complexity of its product and not the package within which it sits.
As I tucked into my delicious creamy latte I had another pleasant surprise, meeting Casa del Dolce’s divine owner Teresa Strangio.
Teresa is an inspirational small business owner who has single-handedly developed and matured her business with no formal training, growing it from strength to strength whilst being a single mother.
Her fiery passion and attention to detail definitely reflects in her desserts, which she gently placed in front of me, looking more like a plate of artistry than a delectable tray of mouth-watering jollity.
There is no doubt: Casa del Dolce’s specialty is their cannoli.
The shells are crisp and light and the crema surprised me with its ethereal texture, almost cloud-like and velvety. I appreciated the restraint on the sugar, there is nothing worse than a dense, sickly sweet cannoli. Casa del Dolce’s cannoli allows the pistachio, vanilla and chocolate to take centre stage. I was blown away.
Apparently my admiration for the Casa’s cannoli is a sentiment that was shared by none other than Buddy Valastro (aka American reality TV’s screamingly successful Cake Boss) last time he was in Perth.
Teresa told me he was even so bold as to ask for her recipe. Something tells me she would have declined him, I am pretty sure Teresa will be taking this recipe to the grave.
What she did divulge however, was that she cooks the crema for two hours, and it is (surprisingly) egg free, which is a huge benefit to any adult or parent of a child with egg allergies.
Next we tried the Vanilla Slice. As a total buff on this dessert I was really impressed. Light yet decadent, I knew I had tried this before, but where? Teresa confirmed I was right, and had probably purchased one at a supermarket under the Dolce Bar brand.
Not usually being a fan of Italian biscuits, I had my reservations about trying their Croccantini, but I was very glad I persevered. The hazelnuts sang out with the perfect amount of chew in the middle and snap on the outside.
Again, the Fior di Mandola had a wonderful marzipan aroma that lit up my palate, from the hand-ground almonds. I couldn’t understand how they had got so much chewy moistness into a biscuit and I think these have become a new favourite.
Teresa’s desserts gain their inspiration from all corners of the world. She learnt to bake whilst in Italy and has developed a keen nose for the craft which she views as a science.
Teresa infuses French, German and Greek recipes into her craft while still remaining true to her Italian roots. I believe her ability to blend a multitude of different cultures is the real strong point of Casa del Dolce.
By Kat Donald-Hill
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