84-90 Atchison Street, Crows Nest, New South Wales
Delitalia is a cafe and Italian delicatessen on the premises of the giant Superfresh greengrocer in Crows Nest. I buy fresh fruit and vegetables here sometimes, and this is also the supplier for the imported Italian pasta that I get for cooking fancy pasta meals. Besides the usual fruit and veges, the deli stocks a wide variety of meats, sausages, cheeses, and Italian groceries, including ready to heat-and-eat items such as arancini and lasagnes. They also have a cake section in the attached cafe, with ricotta cakes, cannoli, biscotti, shortbread, and numerous other delights. And nestled amongst these is the good old Aussie vanilla slice, but with an Italian twist.
I ordered a slice and sat at the indoor tables – there are also a handful of al fresco tables just outside on the footpath. It’s served on a plate lined with a sheet of paper, with a fork supplied for eating. It’s a very attractive looking slice, with a multifarious layered appearance. From bottom to top, there is a layer of golden brown pastry with plenty of flakiness evident, topped by a layer of dark yellow custard with a slightly moist appearance. This is topped by a second layer of custard, much lighter in colour and more dry looking in texture. Then follows a repeat of these three layers, topped by a third layer of pastry, which is in turn topped by a slab of white icing with the traditional crosswise lines of brown dragged into an alternating zig-zaggy patten by a skewer during the icing process.
The fork ignored, I picked it up for a bite. It holds together well and is not too difficult to handle. Than pastry gives easily to the tooth, being surprisingly soft, possibly from having been on display a little too long after being made. The custard layers are delightful. The dark layer is a traditional style vanilla slice custard with a tough of gelatinous resistance to it. The lighter layer provides a distinctive Italian tough, being lighter in weight and texture, with a slightly grainy ricotta-like feel. Both are well flavoured with vanilla and pleasingly sweet without being overpowering. The icing on top is acceptably thin and restrained, providing just a hint of extra sweetness without blunting the vanilla of the custards.
Overall this is really nice. The main complaint is the lack of crispness to the pastry. It looks nice and flaky, but may just have gone soggy from having sat too long in the cake display. I shall have to return in the hopes of procuring a fresher slice one day.
Vanilla slice: 8/10