Wooster Square Tour
Canestri’s Pastry Shop
165 Wooster Street
Carmela Canestri decorating a wedding cake, c. 1950s. Courtesy Luisa Canestri.
Canestri’s Pastry Shop was established by Cesare and Luisa Canestri on Wooster Street at the site where Consiglio’s Restaurant is today. The pastry shop was always filled with people and the sweet smells of Italian pastry.
Cesare was a chef in his family’s hotel, La Serena, in Amalfi, Italy. He followed Luisa’s family to America where they settled in New Haven. They were soon married and opened the pastry shop. Cesare would bake the pastry at night then go to work at a lumber company during the day. Luisa would sell the pastries in the bakery. Sadly, Cesare died at the age of 31, and Luisa took over the business. She used to say that her husband would come to her in her dreams and tell her how to make the pastries.
After Cesare’s death, Luisa’s sons and daughters helped her run the pastry shop. Her children learned many of the recipes including the one for cream puffs and were charged with making them every day. Luisa’s daughter and namesake Luisa Canestri DeLauro, a former New Haven Alderwoman and mother of Congresswoman, Rosa DeLauro, was very proficient at making the cream puffs, a recipe which remains one of Rosa’s favorites.
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