Each pastry shop has its own secret recipe, many artisans make modern versions, others remain faithful to tradition. In any case, the babà pastry in Naples is a serious thing: here's where to buy the best.

History of babà

Few products can represent Neapolitan confectionery as well as baba: pillowy, soaked in rum, delicious, traditional. This Neapolitan dessert is one of the most popular in all of Italy. Its origins, however, have little to do with Campania: Flavia Amabile also shares it in her book “Si nu’ babbà,” where she specifies that the long journey of the product begins in Luneville, Lorraine. The story of babà therefore manages to link Naples, France and even Poland because the recipe was invented by Polish King Stanislav Leszczyński, who was in exile in the French region and who decided to add a rum syrup to kugelhopf, a typical dessert which he considered too dry. It was only in the Neapolitan city, however, that babà took root. Here’s where to find the best.

The best babà in Naples

Al Capriccio

Raffaele Capparelli, born in 1984, is an attentive professional and a food artisan dedicated to traditional Neapolitan confectionery art. Cakes, mignons, fragrant croissants: nothing is missing on the counter, but the absolute protagonist is babà, also available in gelato version. The recipe belongs to the family, handed down for generations: the soft and spongy dowgh with a balanced syrup is available in classic or extra large sizes, alone or with various combinations such as pastry cream and strawberries or Chantilly cream. Do not miss the “babana,” invented by the pastry chef: a babà filled with delicious heavy cream.

Al Capriccio – via Carbonara, 39 – www.pasticceriacapriccio.com

Mignone

In their shop located a few steps from the National Museum, Ugo and Raffaele welcome their many loyal customers every day with an infinity of tasty treats. Display cases and counters are filled with all kinds of goodness, starting with pies and cakes studded with fresh fruit. There is also babà, of excellent workmanship, well soaked and tasty, also available in maxi version and filled with pastry cream, as an original birthday cake.

Mignone – p.zza Cavour, 145 – www.pasticceriamignone.it

Scaturchio

Founded by Giovanni Scaturchio over a century ago – the year was 1905 when the shop windows overlooking Piazza San Domenico Maggiore opened for the first time, revealing a triumph of specialties of Campania’s confectionery art in the popular heart of Naples – the pastry shop that takes its name from the founder, still lives on the legendary charm of its history. And the success of the Ministeriale, a dark chocolate tile filled with liqueur cream, is the pride of the place. At Scaturchio, however, there are also excellent babà, including Babà Vesuvio, created by Mario Scaturchio in 1994 for the G7 summit held in Naples, to symbolically represent the hospitality of the city.

Scaturchio – p.zza San Domenico Maggiore, 19 – scaturchio.it/

Vincenzo Bellavia

Almost a century of history and never a decline: the place now boasts a small empire made up of cornerstones of the Neapolitan and Sicilian tradition. The babà is the classic one, simple and genuine, juicy and soft, but for the sweet tooth there is also a version filled with whipped cream. There are also gluten-free pastries.

Vincenzo Bellavia – p.zza Muzji Francesco, 27/28 – pasticceriabellavia.it/it/

Di Costanzo

There is an air of France and modernity in this small downtown pastry shop with spacious kitchen, housed in the old stables of a 19th century building. The products, however, remain those of tradition, made with high-quality ingredients, starting with soft babà in mignon or maxi version.

Di Costanzo – p.zza Cavour, 133 – www.dicostanzopasticceria.it

Poppella

Its famous Fiocco di Neve (snowflake) continues to reap success among Neapolitans and tourists: a brioche filled with whipped sheep’s milk ricotta cream. But Poppella is so much more. In addition to the invention of recent history, the pastry shop also offers the most disparate Neapolitan specialties, from sfogliatella to babà, soaked to the right point and present in several variations (try the one with strawberries, whipped cream and chocolate). There’s a second branch on via S. Brigida.

Poppella – via Arena della Sanità, 29 – www.pasticceriapoppella.com

Attanasio

The sign reads “Ancient baker of hot sfogliatelle” and in fact Attanasio is for many the reference point for one of the symbolic pastries of the city, both in the riccia (“curly”) and shortcrust version. Especially for tourists arriving by train, who choose the Vico Ferrovia shop, a few steps from the central station, as their first gastronomic stop of the day. Yet, at Attanasio’s there are many other delights, first and foremost babà: with a burnished colour and juicy appearance, the spongy sweets with a soft and elastic texture will conquer even the most demanding palates.

Attanasio – Vico Ferrovia 1/2/3/4 – sfogliatelleattanasio.it/home.html

by Michela Becchi