You can’t find a “the-way-grandma-used-to-make-it-recipes” anywhere unless you’re down to take a trip back Italy. Every culture and their recipes have melted within the “American” traditions.
When it comes to our rooted cultures, we can all agree that the best dishes were served from our mothers and grandmothers growing up as a kid. They just handed you the fork and you knew at that moment how good that meal was going to taste. altomontes-food3.jpgThis photo was taken by one of their pastry apprentices at the Warminster, Bucks County location. When you first look at this photo, you can already tell that it’s a very intimate store that surrounds you with everyday authentic Italian. Looking upon the pastry, and dolce selections.
Currently, there are two open locations of Altomontes in Bucks County. You have locations in both Warminster and in Doylestown.
“We see the same loyal customers come in and out of the locations for the past 20 years or so. They love it. We have the good product from Italy,”
Mom Mom Francis was so excited to show me around the Doylestown location. Based on what she was showing me, you could tell that they treat their customers like a little family and give them what they want and more. Fore example, she showed me every piece of desert in the bakery, every piece of meat, cheese spread, bread loaf, and pasta. What do you think she did next?!
“Oh no no. Here. Hold the bag. I fill it for you to the top, you can share with your work, family and friends. Ok?”
After I walked out of the store with a bag filled with goodies from Mom Mom Frances, I asked her about any food preparations and specialties for the upcoming holiday season…
“We all know what the real holiday season is like, but now that we have spring right around the corner and Easter Sunday is just a little more than a month away, does Altomonte’s feature anything in particular?”
“Yes, of course we do. My daughter Maria and I…we make our traditional specialty of Easter Bread. The customers love it.”
“I can see why! The business keeps booming during the time of Easter. I’ve had the chance to try the Easter bread. How long have you had this recipe?”
“For a long long time. For as long as I remember. I remember the smile it put on my face when my grandmother made one for me. Cept, she shaped it into a ribbon, and placed the egg in the middle of the braided dough. We make it just like the way she did.”
Maria Nappi is the daughter of Mike and Frances from Altomonte, Italy. She showed me all the different kinds of Easter bread that they have been laying out over the last several years. One thing that they all have in common is a nestled hard boiled egg placed in the middle of the braided dough with a dough cross on top. Sometimes they dye the egg a light pink, yellow or a baby blue.
“nah nah. In the older days, we didn’t have dye. It was always the white hard boiled egg and you use the egg yolk to give the dough a shiny topping once it goes in the oven.”
Along side their famous Easter bread, you can find a good number of assortments. Everything from the big chocolate eggs wrapped in gold foil, chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps, pink and yellow sugar coated almonds and much more. They plan to make the Easter bread for their locations within the first week of March and will be displaying the treats in the bakery section of the store.
Maria was also telling me how much they love to see returning customers year after year pick up their Easter bread for their families. I quickly spoke with a frequent shopper before she made a quick escape out the door. Rita Rossillo has two kids. Her son, Antonio, plays sports with Mike and Frances’s grandson, Michael during the school year.
“I’ve known the Grispino family for a very long time now and their food is incredible. I’ve seen them make it myself. It’s also nice to see other people outside of our culture come in and try the bread for the first time. I mean, we go all out for Easter. We have our lamb and rabbit and then our Easter bread and cappuccinos. A piece of Italy is shared all over Bucks County during this holiday season.”
As we get closer towards the Easter month, maybe I’ll get the chance watch them make the dough and braid the dough into the signature ribbon. Like Mom Mom Frances says,
“You gotta use-a the hands!”