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The best bread in Jersey

When the urge for fresh bread strikes at 8PM on a Sunday night, there’s only one place to go: Calandra’s Bakery on First avenue in Newark, NJ.  Served piping hot out of the oven by white clad neighborhood lovelies and more addictive than Crystal Meth, this is the bread you rip apart in the car on your way home; attacking it like a latter day savage. This is bread that makes upscale organic bakeries look like Wonder Bread factories. Literally, it’s Manna from heaven. Only in Jersey could so sublime a loaf be found.

True, there are other great bakeries nearby, the names Paramount and Giordano’s are whispered in reverential tones, but for me, Calandra’s is the one. 

    I can remember being regularly dragged out of the house by my father on Saturday mornings back in the 60’s to accompany him like a mascot on one of his interminable shopping excursions, most of which culminated in a visit to the “Corner” where he would hang out with his boys and talk about God knows what. In those days, guys didn’t need an excuse to take off, they just went, and if they wanted junior to tag along, well there were no discussions.  Most of the time it was agony, having to stand in a hardware store or some such place, but eventually we would get to Calandra’s, and like a quartermaster preparing for a whaling Expedition he would lay in loaf after loaf; both the long and the “panelle” which was the beautiful round one with the thick crust (we rarely got the seeded…he was a purist) .

    If I was lucky, some Italian Cookies made their way into the ship’s hold (Read 1968 Ford Mustang) as well: beautiful sesame seeded,  geometric pignoli laced with anise, and my favorite – the mini Linzer Tart… Oh God, bring me a pound of these now. Give me a coffee and let me die in bliss.  Bury me with a Napoleon and place a Sfoliagtelle (pronounced “svuhl-ya-del” for you non-Italians out there)upon my lips, and throw a few loaves in there as well so I can tear a hunk off for St. Peter (or that other guy…believe me…they’re both fans).

Posted in Bread and Bakeries.

2 Responses

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  1. Bud Tasty says

    I agree. I lived in Newark for about five years, right around the corner from Anthony Imperiali. Saturday afternoons were mobbed with mother and grandmothers buying the bread for the sunday dinner of pasta and all the rest. Wasn’t that down the street from Dickie Dee’s?

  2. Bud Tasty says

    Okay, bread in Newark, coals to Newcastle, right? Where can I find good bread in Toledo?

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