There is a new bakery not too far from me in the quaint town of Little Ferry, New Jersey. It's called the Mona Lisa and it has a variety of good pastries and cookies as well as cakes and Perugina chocolates. It's a new bakery yet it feels like it's been in the neighborhood forever.
The Mona Lisa 's owners are from Calabria Italy, in the southern part of the boot. This is a region that's known for its' variety of different dishes and cream filled pastries . The Mona Lisa offers the latter,a rich cornucopia of nocciola (hazelnut and chocolate) and delicately flavored whipped cream puffs and sfinge, clam shelled shaped mille fleurs . I love their St. Joseph's Day pastries a rich ricotta and sugar mix stuffed into a lighter than air cream puff. The cream is heavenly, studded with a generous amount of chocolate chips and orange flavoring.
The Mona Lisa has excellent cookies (which my students love. I bring in a box to my night classes ) and it's no wonder. The cookies have a real butter taste unlike some bakeries that use lard or margarine. the ingredients weather they be fruit, nuts or chocolate are tasty too , topped with a generous amount of chocolate sprinkles as well as being baked into cute Easter themed shapes such as bunny faces and bodies.
If you're in my neck of the woods, visit the quaint and historic Hackensack River town of Little Ferry. It has one of the best Italian bakeries in the area there. Visit the Mona Lisa and fall in love.