Where to find the best baba in Naples
The city of Naples is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, and vibrant culinary scene. Among its culinary treasures, none stand out quite like the iconic Neapolitan pastry known as baba (in Italian babà). With its origins dating back to the 18th century, today this dessert is enjoyed both locally and around the world.
Here’s where you can find the best baba in Naples according to Gambero Rosso
What is Gambero Rosso
Gambero Rosso is an Italian food and wine publishing company. It is famous for its annual “Vini d’Italia” wine guide, which rates and reviews Italian wines. The company also hosts various events, offers wine and food education, and operates a restaurant and wine school.
The term “Gambero Rosso” translates to “Red Prawn” in English. The Gambero Rosso symbol, a red prawn, is widely recognized as a mark of quality in the Italian culinary and wine world.
Let’s talk about baba
The history of baba is as intriguing as its flavor is captivating.
Legend has it that this pastry was brought to Naples by King Stanislaus I of Poland in the 18th century. The King, who was exiled to France, became enamored with a similar Eastern European dessert. When he moved to Naples after his exile, he introduced the treat to the local culinary scene. The Neapolitans embraced the concept, adapting the recipe and adding their own unique twist, resulting in the birth of the beloved “babà.”
A Baba is a Texture and Flavor Symphony
At first glance, a baba might appear to be a simple pastry soaked in syrup, but a closer exploration reveals a delightful complexity that tantalizes the senses. The dough is light, airy, and slightly brioche-like in texture, achieved through a meticulous process of kneading and rising. This delicate foundation provides the perfect canvas for the syrup infusion that follows.
The syrup, often laced with aromatic rum, is the true soul of a babà. Once baked to golden perfection, the pastry is immersed in a bath of the luscious syrup. The result is a harmonious marriage of flavors and textures – the sweetness of the syrup perfectly balances the subtle richness of the dough, creating an irresistible combination that melts in your mouth with every bite.
Variations and Accoutrements
While the classic baba is a delight on its own, Neapolitan bakers have found creative ways to elevate this treat even further. Variations include the “babà al limoncello,” which features a zesty lemon-flavored syrup, and the “babà al pistacchio,” adorned with crushed pistachios for a delightful crunch. Some modern interpretations even incorporate a variety of fillings, from silky pastry cream to indulgent chocolate ganache, taking the baba to new heights of culinary innovation.
The best babà in Naples according to Gambero Rosso
If you are vacationing on the Amalfi Coast or in Naples, there are many local products, typical dishes and desserts worth trying: from pizza to sfogliatella, from mozzarella to pasta dishes. But you can’t miss tasting the baba!
In a dedicated blog post, Gambero Rosso lists some of the bakeries where to eat the best babas in Naples. Here is the list:
- Al Capriccio – via Carbonara, 39: Their babas come in classic or extra-large versions. In addition, there is the baba in ice cream version and the babana, a baba filled with milk cream.
- Mignone – p.zza Cavour, 145: Here you can find classic babas and those filled with custard;
- Scaturchio – p.zza San Domenico Maggiore, 19: In addition to babas, you have to try the Ministeriale, a dark chocolate brick filled with liqueur cream;
- Vincenzo Bellavia – p.zza Muzji Francesco, 27/28: The pastry shop offers both classic and whipped cream-filled babas;
- Di Costanzo – p.zza Cavour, 133: Here you will find babas in mignon or maxi versions;
- Poppella – via Arena della Sanità, 29: This pastry shop offers new and interesting variations on the classic baba;
- Attanasio – Vico Ferrovia 1/2/3/4: Here you can also find excellent sfogliatelle.
Now it’s up to you to find your favorite baba!
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