Saturday, May 1, 2010

Savoring Federal Hill: Part 2 - Scialo Brothers Bakery

If you missed part one of Savoring Federal Hill, it's because a late night start to the post landed it on another blog I write for, White House Gardens CSA.  (Follow that one, too, as we are gearing up for a great new CSA season)

Anyway, last weekend I had the good fortune of hanging out with some fellow personal chefs in Providence, Rhode Island, where we took an awesome tour with Cindy Salvato.  One of our stops, complete with a behind the scenes look at the awesome brick ovens, was Scialo Brothers Bakery.

We headed straight to the back, where the two huge brick ovens, dating back to the 1920's, with one rebuilt in 1994 after it was damaged by smoke and fire, inspired awe in most of the group, both the bakers and non-bakers.

Carol Scialo Gaeta gave us the history of the bakery, founded by her father Luigi, and his brother in 1916 when they immigrated from Italy.  After a few years, her uncle returned to Italy, and her father continued to run the bakery, with help from the family, until his death at age 103.

All of the products are truly made from scratch.  There are no frozen or pre-prepped items used, just good old fashioned ingredients handcrafted by people who could probably do the work blindfolded.

We were shown how the cream pies were filled with this clever contraption, a funneled can attached to a 10 foot pole.  Since the pie shells need to be par-baked, this allows them to fill the pies in the oven without taking them all out and putting them back in.

These cool lion heads are at the corners of each oven.

After the tour, we went back in to buy some goodies for later, including a new, to me at least, Italian pastry called Sfogliatelle.  It features layers of pastry, similar to puff pastry, with a filling featuring a semolina flour paste.

The old fashioned charm still remains, and business was brisk during our Saturday visit.  We all really enjoyed this part of the tour, and appreciated the passion which Carol, and her staff, have for their work.

Up next: Pasta galore, Italian deli heaven, figs, and wine.

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