The San Gennaro Festival

The San Gennaro Festival is an annual event that occurs over the course of 11 days in September. This year, it was held from September 15th to September 25th. It is held in Little Italy in New York City in celebration of the Feast of San Gennaro. The feast runs along Mulberry Street between Canal Street and Houston Street. Over the range of seven blocks, there are over hundreds of food vendors – each serving up something delicious. If you’re a food lover like me, then this is both heaven and hell. Heaven because there is so much good things to eat and hell because every kind of food that’s completely unhealthy for you is within a few blocks.

What is there to eat at the fair? Sweet corn, endless amounts of mozzarella sticks, rice balls, corn dogs, pina coladas (with free refills if you buy it in souvenir cup), rainbow cookies, cannolis, zeppoles, churros, paella, steak and mozzarella sandwiches, pizza, fresh oysters and clams, and even tacos! Talk about foodgasm.

Here’s a sausage and sweet pepper/onion sandwich from Pip’s Pit. The bread wasn’t as soft as it should’ve been but the sausage was juicy and just the right amount of spicy. The sweet pepper and onion did not overwhelm the sausage but complemented it perfectly because it counterbalanced the spice of the sausage. The added ketchup made the sandwich a little difficult to eat – I even got some on myself in the process. My advice: skip the ketchup and just enjoy the sausage without any condiments. It’s delicious enough on its own. Priced at $10, this sandwich is a bit pricey but it is big enough for two to share and will fill the both of you up!

Most of the vendors selling corn were grilling them on a barbecue grill along with their beef patties and hot dogs. There was only one vendor that made his corn differently. The vendor was simply called “Roast Corn” and sold their corn on the cob for $3 each. He used a large machine to roast his corn. This resulted in juicy corn that did not have any of the charred and bitter taste from the grill. After roasting the corn and unwrapping it, he brushed butter on the entire corncob. However, it wasn’t just the roasting machine that made the corn so delicious. The corn itself was already very sweet – which is harder to find during the fall season. I actually came back a second time just for this corn!

Despite every other vendor selling cannolis – in jumbo sizes, regular sizes, and mini sizes, I chose to purchase mine from Stuffed Artisan Cannolis. They had two stands at the feast – one at the beginning and one towards the center of the fair. My first time, I purchased three (for $5) mini cannolis in their original flavor. They were very good but once I visited their website and realized that they created new flavors every week and there were flavors exclusively created for the festival, I knew I had to pay them another visit. On my second visit, I tried three – Pumpkin Pie, Nutella, and Banana Creme Pie. The Pumpkin Pie cannoli had a creamy and buttery filling. The Nutella tasted a bit more like chocolate than the hazelnut flavor of nutella. This was my least favorite cannoli. My favorite would have to be the Banana Creme Pie, which had a great banana flavor to it. It was really creamy and easy to eat. The Banana Creme Pie Cannoli actually had mashed up banana in it, which added to the overall texture of the filling.

Stuffed Artisan Cannolis has a storefront located in the Lower East Side on Stanton Street. They feature seasonal flavors along with their new weekly flavors. I know I will definitely be making a visit to the store to try them out and you should too!

Sadly, now that the San Gennaro Feast has passed, we will have to wait another year to have these goodies again. But now since I’ve already visited and sampled so many of the foods, I’ll definitely know what to aim for next year when the feast comes back around. I hope you all know too!

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