Sharing culture through cannolis
By: Jennifer Zeleski
The process takes 24 hours, starting with draining the ricotta. The assembly and ingredients follow the traditional routine, but most of the baking procedure is kept in the family. Mascarpone cheese, orange zest, mini chocolate chips, and just a little bit of booze are whipped in, creating a rich mixture that is loaded into clear piping bags, every morning. Luckily this cream doesn’t stay in its plastic confinements for long before finding its home in a freshly fried cannoli shell, and then in the hands of a happy customer.
The Cozy Cannoli, a new European-style bakery in High Point, is the source of the handmade, traditional Italian baked goods, including three flavors of cannolis. The original is available every day, alongside a chocolate filling and a seasonal flavor that changes often. A tart cranberry-cream cannoli is now available for a limited time.
Good news: a freshly piped cannoli and a cup of custom house blend drip coffee is under $5.
Lexy D’Egidio, co-owner of the bakery alongside her mother, Lucy, never saw herself running her own business while she was in culinary school at Weaver Academy and Guilford Technical Community College.
She told herself, “No, I know how much work it is, I want to be successful under somebody else,” D’Egidio said. Her mom initiated the idea, and surprising herself, D’Egidio wanted in. “I said I’ll do it, but it’s gonna be a bakery. If it’s something I’m going to be doing all the time, it’s going to be something I wanna do.”
Now D’Egidio finds herself working upwards of 90 hours a week, but she doesn’t mind it.
“The whole reason why we opened is because we wanna share our culture,” D’Egidio said. “There’s a connection for me I guess. Being in the kitchen with other people, especially working in kitchens, you spend more time with those people than you do with your family.”
During gatherings, D’Egidio was consistently in the kitchen surrounded by her female family members. “I always liked during the holidays all of the women being together cooking, and that has always been something that has kind of stuck with me,” she said.
Following in the family’s influence of girl power, The Cozy Cannoli is operated by an all-female staff, with everyone having their own niche.
“I completely love being in an all-female environment. And not only that, they’re girls I’ve known for years,” D’Egidio said.
Although tall cakes, cookies, and cups of tiramisu fill the pastry cases, each item can be paired with a fresh cup of drip coffee or an espresso-based beverage, roasted locally by Carolina Coffee.
“Our coffee and our decaf coffee are our very own house blends,” D’Egidio said. “You can’t get it anywhere else except for here.”
Making traditional cookies, baking bread and making homemade pasta all come naturally to Lexy and Lucy, so much so that they want to teach the community. The bakery recently announced that it has opened registration for handmade pasta classes being held on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m, with the next available class being Jan. 28.
“For someone who doesn’t cook a lot, pasta is probably intimidating,” D’Egidio said. “It’s definitely worth stepping out of your comfort zone because it’s an environment where you’re free to ask questions and learn. Don’t be scared by fresh pasta; it’s really easy.”
Each class is $50 per person and takes about two hours to complete. Everyone will learn how to make one pound of pasta from scratch, observe the making of homemade marinara sauce – with a quart to take home – and leave with a dinner for four, including a freshly baked baguette.
“Hopefully that’s something they’ll share with their families, and it’s an experience that they like,” D’Egidio said.
For now, The Cozy Cannoli is taking things one step at a time, but they’re hoping to transition into a combination of a deli and a bakery in the future.
“[Lucy] wants more of a deli and I want more of a bakery,” D’Egidio said. “And that is in our short-term goals to start serving lunch, so hopefully that works out for us.”
Jennifer Zeleski is a student contributor to YES! Weekly. She is originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Communications at High Point University.