Mezzapica Cakes first opened its doors way back in 1952 and quickly became renowned as the premiere destination for continental cakes and biscuits. No Leichhardt local will be surprised to see them once again as a finalist in the Inner West Local Business Awards.
Here we chat with Andre Portelli about this latest success…
How does it feel to be nominated again? Are you confident in your chances of winning?
Great of course! We always like to hear feedback so to be nominated means there has been a lot of great feedback across the Inner West. We get customers telling us that they have been coming here for years or decades for our cakes and pastries. We think this at least puts us in with a shot!
What is the store’s philosophy when it comes to baking?
There are no shortcuts in quality. We use the best possible ingredients and stay true to the Sicilian recipes and techniques for making every product.
After over 60 years in the business, how do you keep things fresh and exciting, both for the store and for the customers?
It is all about balance. We do try to introduce new products or flavours when we find something new worth producing. Red Velvet cakes, for example, are extremely popular now but at the same time, we don’t try to push every new fad that comes along. If it’s a good product and we can make it to our standards, then we do it. If not, we leave it to the celebrity chefs! As important as keeping things interesting is, if we ever stopped making continental cakes or ricotta cannoli, we think we would have a riot on our hands!
What makes Italian sweets stand out from the rest?
Cuisines from every nation developed from what the land around them could offer. Italy has been lucky to always have great dairy so desserts were always rich with things like mascarpone, ricotta and chocolate, and these just happen to all be ridiculously delicious! Italians are also very passionate about certain things – like cars, football and, of course, food – so they make sure they do those things well.
You have said before that the ricotta cannoli is your most popular sweet, what makes it so special?
Apart from the quality of the ricotta, the original Sicilian recipe is still followed to the gram and we still hand cut and roll each shell. Freshness is also key. You will never purchase a day-old cannolo from our store. Sure, they are still fine to eat the next day, but you would lose that crunch in the shell, which provides the perfect contrast to the soft ricotta.
Mezzapica Cakes: 130 Norton St, Leichhardt. T. 9569 8378.