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Short Orders

She gets everything right

By Ike DeLorenzo
Globe Correspondent / August 25, 2010

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Caffè Sicilia occupies a sliver of Gloucester’s Main Street with just 10 seats. Sfogliatelle here are smaller than a cupcake (as they should be), clamshell-shaped and golden brown. The delicate, many-layered crust looks like the slanted edge of a ragged book. It barely resists your bite, and the filling is the traditional sweetened lemony ricotta. So many bakeries try to make these, so few get it right. The barista claims that the confections are made in house, which is hard to believe, since sfogliatelle are among the most difficult of all Italian pastries. Here, you also find gelato in eight very popular flavors, perfect espressos (smooth and strong, with a proper crema), and a dazzling array of brightly colored Sicilian cookies. A pleasant young woman behind the counter, tired of a visitor’s persistent questions about where the sfogliatelle are made, says, “I’m Maria Cracchiolo. I make the sfogliatelle. And the gelato. And the cookies. I make it all.’’ Cracchiolo, born to Italian parents and raised in Gloucester, spent five years in Italy, and bought the existing Caffè Sicilia last August, putting her signature items on the menu: good cappuccino, excellent gelato, and those pastries. It’s a lesson that things can be as good as they appear. Caffè Sicilia, 40 Main St., Gloucester, 978-283-7345.