La Biscotteria is excited to share the following article featured in the The November 1, 2006 issue of The Almanac in their Food & Drink section. (Rev. 5/2013)
Biscotti, cannoli, focaccia ... that's Italian!
Although he had owned a successful wholesale bakery in Belmont since 1989, Augustine Buonocore's dream was to open an authentic Italian retail bakery. That dream came true when he built La Biscotteria at 2747 El Camino Real, bringing a touch of Italy to that busy section of Redwood City.
The etched glass front door hints at what's inside La Biscotteria - a shop that would be at home in Deruta or Cortona. Gleaming copper pieces and majolica biscotti jars fill a white hutch on one wall. Glass jars filled with biscotti beckon behind the counter. Colorful posters advertise the focaccia and fresh ravioli the bakery has become known for. It's the little shop around the corner come to life.
As charming as the shop is, it's the product that draws the customers. If you've never tasted freshly baked biscotti, do yourself a favor and stop by. The twice-baked cookies are full of flavor, not like dry commercial varieties that have lingered too long on the shelf.
The first biscotti Mr. Buonocore made for sale was flavored with traditional anise. Today, he makes anise, lemon, orange, chocolate hazelnut, all plain or chocolate dipped, and raisin. Raisin biscotti has always been considered an adult treat since it is traditionally served with wine after the children leave the table.
Raisin biscotti, made from his "nonna" or grandmother's recipe, is now featured in tasting rooms at Northern California wineries. Mr. Buonocore credits his grandmother with many of his recipes and says as a youngster he was "always in the kitchen" with her and his aunt.
The sweets at La Biscotteria don't stop with biscotti. The shop features amaretti (gluten free almond macaroon cookies), and chocolate amaretti ganache cookies. There are luscious cannoli (pastry shells filled with ricotta cheese, liquor, mini dark chocolate chips and lemon peel). They must be specially ordered. A box of six is $18. Mr. Buonocore also makes torrone (nougat candy) and panforte (Siena cake) that tastes better than what you find in Siena. La Biscotteria also imports Fabbri amarena cherries. Another favorite sweet is chocolate-covered figs ($20 a gift bag).
During the Christmas holidays, Mr. Buonocore will be baking cuccidati: Sicilian fig cookies stuffed with chopped almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cocoa, chocolate, citron, candied fruits (orange and lemon peels), dates, amarena cherries and figs soaked in liquor (box of 13 cookies $25).
Panettone, sweet bread with raisins and candied fruit, is available throughout the year, but at Christmas the shop will carry star shaped and chocolate chip varieties.
Saturdays are a big day at La Biscotteria. Several varieties of focacce are sold. Customers know to come early or order in advance. A 1/4 sheet focaccia comes with different toppings: tomato and green onion ($6), veggie ($12), green onion ($6), artichoke and pesto ($12), sausage ($15), "combo Italiano" has everything on it: a bit of sauce, Augustine's homemade Italian lean sausage with fennel, onions, artichokes, sliced black olives, mushrooms, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese ($15).
The stuffed focacce menu includes: Swiss chard "Torta di Riso", rice, parmigiano and mozzarella cheese ($15), Swiss chard and ground beef with pine nuts ($15), and ham and mozzarella cheese ($12). The round focacce are all $5 each and include: the famous sold out potato focaccia made with Greek yogurt, parmigiano and pecorino cheese with pesto brushed lightly on top, focaccia alla "margarita" topped with juicy ripe tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese, mushroom baked with pesto and cheese, sausage and "combo Italiano".
Mary Shepherd of Menlo Park was in the shop recently to order focaccia for her son's engagement party. She planned to serve it as an appetizer before a barbecue. She also ordered focaccia to serve 60 at a potluck for the St. Raymond's Church choir the following day.
The Rev. Patrick Michaels, pastor of St. Raymond Catholic Church in Menlo Park, was another visitor that afternoon. He stopped by to bring the store manager, Angela Festa, some of the shop's ravioli he had prepared the night before in a sauce of cherry tomatoes, porcini mushrooms, butter, garlic, onions, and a touch of red pepper flakes. A regular at the shop, Father Pat left with a bag of amaretti with chocolate.
The ravioli is filled with veal, beef, pork, Swiss chard, fresh parsley, garlic, parmigiano cheese. A box of 48 ravioli (one pound) serves two or four people ($12). Mr. Buonocore uses chard, tomatoes, and rosemary from his garden in his recipes.
Another customer, who loaded up on ravioli, homemade breadsticks (12 oz. $8), rosemary crostini (6 oz. $6), and biscotti, said: "I've got wine at home. Now I'm all set for dinner. I used to have to go to San Francisco to get this stuff."
La Biscotteria is charming; the products are delicious, but there's more. Ms. Festa finds time to chat with customers and greets them like old friends. She lets you sample any of the varieties of biscotti. It's a shop where you want to linger for a while.
By the time this article appears, Ms. Festa and Mr. Buonocore will be partners in life, as well as in business. They were married Oct. 28 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in San Francisco on his parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Their reception was held at Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club.
Mr. Buonocore made the cannoli and biscotti for the wedding reception, but the wedding cake was made by a friend. It was a Saint Honore cake, named for Saint Honore, the patron saint of pastry bakers. A Saint Honore cake consists of a cake base topped with a ring of cream puffs that are filled with rum custard and dipped in caramel. The caramel coating "glues" the puffs together. The center of the ring is traditionally filled with Saint Honore cream, creme patisserie lightened with whipped cream.
The bride, who is an artist, was planning to present her new husband with a special gift at the wedding reception. "I know he'll cry when he sees it," she said.
La Biscotteria, 2747 El Camino Real, Redwood City, is open Tuesday through Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday. No credit cards; checks over $10 are accepted. Telephone is 366-4888.
The Almanac is the community news and information service for Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside, contiguous communities located on the Mid Peninsula south of San Francisco. Visit The Almanac Online at www.AlmanacNews.com.
Augustine Buonocore proudly introduces the latest item at La Biscotteria -- all six varieties of biscottini in the new 8 ounce Bakery Fresh Cello Bag. In addition to this, La Biscotteria will offer individual purchases of biscottini in the 8 ounce Cello Bags to both retail and wholesale customers. Biscottini, a three inch mini-cookie, is delicious as a treat with a cup of coffee or a garnish for gelato and sorbet. Retail packaging prices range from $9.95 to $19.95 depending on variety and packaging style selected.
La Biscotteria is committed to honor, protect, and safeguard their authentic 100-year-old handwritten family recipes, while sharing the flavors of a traditional Neapolitan heritage with the world. La Biscotteria enjoys a conspicuous departure from the standard biscotti expectation with incomparable texture and unparalleled flavor. This distinction is accomplished by adherence to quality ingredients and time-honored tradition. La Biscotteria biscotti are available to consumers and the trade via the website, through upscale grocery stores, gourmet and gift stores, and through food service distribution. Retail packaging prices range from $9.95 to $19.95 depending on variety and packaging style selected. For more information, please visit www.LaBiscotteria.com or call (650) 366-2747.
Fancy Food & Culinary Products is a standout in the gourmet retailing marketplace, writing exclusively for retailers of gourmet food and the culinary products they sell. Visit Fancy Food Magazine at www.FancyFoodMagazine.com.
La Biscotteria is pleased to announce the retail debut of Raisin Biscotti, also known as Biscotti Uva Secca. La Biscotteria is a unique commercial bakery focused on baking authentic Italian biscotti from 100-year-old family recipes.
"Our growing wholesale business with wineries and tasting rooms in Northern California inspired us to package this popular variety for retail sale," stated owner and chief baker, Augustine Buonocore. "Tourists are asking for gift packages of Raisin Biscotti to send to friends and loved ones, along with the wines they are purchasing. The momentum is building!" he continued. Buonocore explained that in his childhood home Biscotti Uva Secca was served with dessert wine, after the children had left the dinner table. "It's catching on!" he concluded.
La Biscotteria's authentic Neapolitan recipes are steeped in tradition. The Buonocore family proudly traces their roots back to the town of Vico Equense, situated on the Sorrentine Peninsula on the southern shore of the Golfo di Napoli (Gulf of Naples). There, the hillsides are adorned with citrus trees, grape vines, almond groves, and wild anise. These indigenous flavors, fruits, and nuts authenticate the La Biscotteria recipes. Buonocore added that "the richness and quality that my Nonna Maria insisted upon is what elevates La Biscotteria from other brands. She taught me to never skimp on the good stuff and to follow her methods meticulously."
Biscotti Uva Secca is derived from La Biscotteria's original almond biscotti recipe, packed with juicy sultanas (from white grapes) and raisins, accented with the Essential Oil of Orange and select spices. La Biscotteria recipes call for only the highest quality ingredients. The unique flavor profile is achieved through the delicate blending of the finest and purest ingredients available, ingredients that enhance and authenticate this Old World recipe. The impact to the senses is nothing short of sheer delight!
The new Biscotti Uva Secca will be officially introduced at the NASFT Fancy Food Show in January 2005. It will also be added to the La Biscotteria online store at www.LaBiscotteria.com. Retail packaging alternatives include the 8 oz. Gift Box at a suggested retail price of $9.95 and an 11 oz. Bakery Fresh Cello Bag at $11.95.
La Biscotteria is committed to honor, protect, and safeguard their authentic 100-year-old handwritten family recipes, while sharing the flavors of a traditional Neapolitan heritage with the world. La Biscotteria enjoys a conspicuous departure from the standard biscotti expectation with incomparable texture and unparalleled flavor, a distinction accomplished by adherence to quality ingredients and time-honored tradition. La Biscotteria biscotti are available to consumers and the trade via the website, through upscale grocery stores, gourmet and gift stores, and through foodservice distribution. Retail packaging prices range from $9.95 to $19.95 depending on variety and style selected. For more information please visit www.LaBiscotteria.com or call (650) 366-4888.
pleased to announce its entry into the retail segment.
At the heart of La Biscotteria is a family legacy honoring tradition and celebrating "La Famiglia". In 1898 Augustine Buonocore's grandparents emigrated from their home of Naples, in the heart of Southern Italy; they travelled halfway around the world to settle down on the San Francisco Peninsula. Nonna Maria carried with her a handwritten recipe book, a compendium of family favorites. It is now the cherished property of Augustine Buonocore. As the favored grandson, Augustine spent a large part of his childhood in Nonna Maria's kitchen: sifting and mixing, rolling and molding, learning the tricks of the trade directly from a master artisan. In America's cultural melting pot, Augustine remembers Nonna Maria saying theirs was the "Home of the One and Only Authentic Italian Biscotti."
A skilled specialty baker by family tradition, Augustine Buonocore gained practical and commercial bakery experience in the mid-1980's at La Tempesta bakery in South San Francisco, California. Eventually he resolved to compete with his former employer and purchased a small bakery in 1989, renaming it La Biscotteria.
In direct translation, Biscotti means twice-baked and is the plural of Biscotto, the word for a single twice-baked cookie. La Biscotteria's exceptional crunchy texture and classic, rich, Old World flavor is achieved through the combination of superior ingredients: sweet creamery butter, whole fresh eggs, and pure cane sugar.
La Biscotteria offers seven varieties of authentic Neapolitan biscotti. The recipes call for specific flavors indigenous to the particular region of family origin in Southern Italy. Almonds were harvested in the orchards of the Sorrento Province, and are a main ingredient in all the La Biscotteria biscotti varieties. Anise, which grew wild along the hedgerows (Biscotti All' Anice), is another essential ingredient. Essential Oils of Lemon (Biscotti Al Limone) and Orange (Biscotti All' Arancia) came from the citrus groves, and raisins from the bountiful vineyards that adorned the hillsides of Southern Italy (Biscotti Uva Secca).
La Biscotteria recently launched an all-new gift box line in response to requests from the gift trade and the consumer public. The box is of distinctively Italian design; it is printed on a gable top box made from quality paperboard, with a strip-off tear access, flap and slit closure, and a heat-sealed, self-contained cello liner. The gift box is labeled for retail sale, and is also available at the bakery and through distribution to the gourmet retail, gift basket and specialty food segments. Packaging options also include the La Biscotteria original heat-sealed, bakery fresh, cello bag with interior label. 3-inch Biscottini and 5-inch Biscotti are labeled for retail sale, but the 7-inch Grande are offered for food service applications only.
La Biscotteria Panettone is packed fresh in protective cello bags closed with a twist tie. Panettone is available to the consumer fresh from the bakery; those wishing to purchase it will need to contact La Biscotteria directly. Local retail stores can order Panettone by special order through specialty distributors. It is now available year-round, although it remains a traditional Italian holiday season favorite.
In the fourteenth year of business, La Biscotteria opened a brand new bakery designed specifically for the wholesale and retail production of its handcrafted Italian specialty products. Augustine Buonocore, who majored in Architecture at San Francisco University, drew the original construction plans including the exterior facade, retail store and state-of-the-art kitchen. Almost exclusively dedicated to the creation of delicious, aromatic and crunchy dipping cookies, La Biscotteria elevates itself above other commercial biscotti producers by promoting direct contact with the consumer public. Now comfortable in the new location, Augustine Buonocore plans to expand his product line and broaden the sales horizon.
La Biscotteria is committed to honor, protect, and safeguard their authentic 100-year-old handwritten family recipes, while sharing the flavors of a traditional Neapolitan heritage with the world. La Biscotteria enjoys a conspicuous departure from the standard biscotti expectation with incomparable texture and unparalleled flavor. This distinction is accomplished by adherence to quality ingredients and time-honored tradition. La Biscotteria biscotti are available to consumers and the trade via the website, through upscale grocery stores, gourmet and gift stores, and through food service distribution. For more information, please visit www.LaBiscotteria.com or call (650) 366-4888.
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