Crave.it, A Passion for Sweets
An Italian pastry shop cum bar serving up traditional flavors in modern digs, Crave.it, which only recently opened in Chelsea, is already rapidly expanding and leaving nothing to chance. Everything is 100% “Made in Italy,” from the interior design to the goods on sale, from its gelato-making lessons for kids to its upscale catering.
Eat.it, Love.it., Crave.it
Upon entering the shop, your nose picks up the scent of freshly baked cornetti and your eyes bulge at the sight of its beautiful and luminous display cases showcasing a pageantry of pastries, like cannoli filled with cream and pistachio “di Bronte” and other colorful, neatly aligned finger food mirroring the shop’s modern décor, or mini-pizzas with tomato sauce or topped with ricotta and prosciutto.
The simple flavors and authentic touches are striking, not to mention the aroma of real coffee that transports you to Italy. The walls are covered in murals painted by Italian artist IenaCruz bearing the words Crave.it, Eat.it, Love.it. Across from the counter there is a vinyl mosaic that conjures the shop’s old-meets-new sensibility.
“A company called Digital Mosaic, based out of Modena and Chicago, made it,” says owner Selvaggia, aka Silvia, Pizzetti. “We didn’t want to recycle the classic old school photographs.” The name itself, Crave.it, is symbolic. “We want to pique our clients’ curiosity,” continues Pizzetti, “we want them to come back wanting to try a different kind of pastry, one made with honey, maybe, or a new kind of piadina.”
A passion for sweets
Silvia has come a long way to realize her passion for sweets. In Italy, she worked as a freelance journalist. Fifteen years later, she came to New York to take a course in journalism at Columbia University. In the meantime, she explored the city.
“Back then the thing that struck me about this city,” says Silvia, “is that I couldn’t find a place that
served a real Italian breakfast. There are 700 different ethnic restaurants and you couldn’t find a real Italian cappuccino and cornetto! We want to teach people what good Italian food is, to sample a wide variety of finger food—without stuffing themselves.”
In the end, after much nail biting, she and her brother Patrizio decided to embark on a new endeavor. But it had to be something different from all the other places in the city. “For me, food is an art and I like creating different things,” says Silvia. They hired the shop’s pastry chef, who, “absurd as it might seem, isn’t Italian! But he has one of the most interesting backgrounds I know,” says Silvia. Alejandro Quinones was born in Lima, Peru.
Quinones studied in a famous Peruvian pastry chef school before traveling to France to study the art of chocolate and later to Italy, where he opened two pastry shops.
And what are they whipping up for the fall and winter holidays? Judging from Silvia’s excitement, nothing less than little works of art. “For Halloween there will be Mont Blanc Monsters and pumpkin-shaped biscotti. For Thanksgiving we’re making cakes in the shape of turkeys, apple and pumpkin pie and chocolate cakes filled with marron glace, a dessert that isn’t well known here. For Christmas we’re preparing classic gift packages. We’re also going to launch our own line of pandoro to eat with zabaione or Nutella, and we have honey from Sardinia, fig jam, truffle oil...”
Got it. Let’s stop right there and go sample one of these delicacies for ourselves. We might come out a few pounds heavier, but it’ll be worth it!