What are the origins of pasticciotto atranese

The Amalfi Coast is a true paradise for dessert lovers thanks to its master pastry chefs, who are considered among the best in the world. And among the many creations of the Amalfi confectionery tradition, one of the most famous and appreciated is undoubtedly the pasticciotto atranese, an extraordinary dessert, not so much for its ingredients, which are really simple, but for the final result: a casket of crumbly pastry that, in the traditional version, encloses inside a delicious filling of custard and juicy black cherries. But it is not difficult to find it also in chocolate variants or filled with jams of various flavors.

What are the origins of the Atrani pasticciotto? It all began in the first half of the last century, when ice cream maker Francesco Cretella opened Bar Lucia on the state road 163 Amalfitana that runs through the small village of Atrani. Business was good, but Cretella was looking for a “something” to serve along with his espresso coffee. He got the right idea from his wife Alda De Pascale, who often talked about a cream and black cherry dessert that her brother used to make at home. It was then that Mr. Cretella decided to make a local version of it, relying on the still inexperienced hands of his young son Matteo. The experiment was a great success and, in the mornings to follow, the pasticciotto made its first appearance in Bar Lucia.

In the 1950s Cretella decided to leave Bar Lucia and open a larger one in the center of the square in Atrani, which he called Bar Vittoria. There was no shortage of work, and in the 1960s he also opened a second one in Amalfi, Bar Duomo, which complemented the cafeteria with a pastry shop, so that his son Matteo could perfect himself in the work he was so enthusiastic about. Then as time went on, the brothers split up: Serafino opened an ice cream shop, Wanda remained at Bar Vittoria, and Matteo in Amalfi. In the 1980s Bar Duomo was closed and Matteo decided to open, with the help of his children, Pasticceria Duomo. The place was small and every Sunday there was a long line of people waiting who wanted to taste his creations.

In 2006 the bakery also had to close, but Matteo continued to make his delicious pastries at home. Sadly, on January 6, 2020, pastry chef Matteo left us. This is the story of a family that became legends, to whom we owe the creation of a dessert that still continues to delight the palates of the many tourists who come to the Amalfi Coast each year.

Photo © Pasticceria Pansa Amalfi