The Best Italian Restaurants Know the Cannoli.

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Several items come to mind when you think of the best restaurants in Manchester, NH, especially the Italian ones. From the finest wine to unforgettably crafted pasta dishes, the savory options are endless. Fresh, warm bread to accompany your steak del re, and let’s not forget about the incomparable desserts. No matter what brings you to Piccola Italia, you can be confident that your cravings will be met. However, before we get too far into daydreaming about the endless options, let us circle back to an all-time favorite, Italian desserts. Or, more specifically, the cannoli.


The cannoli has deeper roots than you may realize.

Arguably Italy’s most popular dessert, the cannoli, comes with an extensive history. Sure, there are many different stories concerning the origins of this delicious treat. However, according to most, the cannoli originated in Caltanissetta, a Sicilian city in Italy. That said, the cannoli is not strictly an Italian creation. Instead, this multi-century old dessert was crafted from the various cultures and people that inhabited the city.  

No matter which story you follow, the roots of the cannoli have a strong Arabic influence. Somewhere between 827 and 1091, the cannoli emerged with many ingredients native to the culture – almonds and sugar cane, for example. Of course, being in Caltanissetta, the cannoli is associated with Sicily. Further, the word ‘canna’ refers to the river reeds found around the city, and as the story goes, pastry chefs used these reeds to form the shape of their dough.

Regardless of how delicious and popular the cannoli was, one could only find the dessert during Carnevale in its early days. Celebrated 40 days before Easter, Italy’s Carnevale became an official celebration in 1296. Costumes, parades, horse races, and so much good food – it’s no wonder the country is known as having one of the best Carnevale celebrations across the globe.


A closer look at the cannoli.

If you’re familiar with Italian desserts, chances are, you’ve already had the pleasure of experiencing cannoli in its original form – fried tubular dough stuffed with sweet, creamy ricotta cheese, almonds, and drizzled with honey. As perfected as this version is, during American immigration, many ingredients became unavailable. It was during this time that mascarpone became the staple replacement for cannoli creation.

And, as it goes, when one change happens, there are generally many more to follow. The cannoli of today’s world offers endless possibilities limited only by the chef’s imagination. From chocolate chips to crushed nuts, plain to fruit-infused fillings, the variations are vast! Here at Piccola Italia, we like to combine tradition with a bit of today, which is why you will find options. Whether plain, chocolate, or pistachio, our cannoli will have you coming back for more!


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While the best Italian restaurants in Manchester, NH, offer cannoli, it can be challenging to find authenticity. At Piccola Italia, we take great pride in serving the most authentic Italian cuisine in the Manchester region. From house specialties to the traditional desserts you’d expect to find, our menu will not disappoint!

Visit Piccola Italia, the King Of the Hill, at 815 Elm Street in Manchester, NH, to experience the area’s best Italian food!


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