Pancioc at Il Cantuccio

Pancioc at Il Cantuccio

The pancioc from Il Cantuccio is an unparalleled chocolate delivery system that functions most advantageously at breakfast time.

Chocolate croissants (a/k/a pain au chocolat) are fab, but let's face it -- the filling sometimes tastes a little too much like Nutella. Entenmann's chocolate donuts are also worth considering, but after one or two bites you realize that the shining chocolate coating has too much in common with polyethylene plastic. Hostess cupcakes might be another good chocolaty choice, if they weren't filled that white stuff that squirts grotesquely out when you take a bite. Researching its chocoholic breakfast options, Fork in the Road finally stumbled on what might be the best morning chocolate pastry of all.

Unnoticed by most baked-goods fanciers in the city, Il Cantuccio slipped into town in 2010, a rare branch of an actual Tuscan bakery, as if set down on Christopher Street by spaceship. Their product line was hilariously slim and decidedly not geared to New York tastes, consisting mainly of huge loaves of white, salt-free bread (the kind that anyone who's been to Tuscany has tried, and can never forget) and cookies that looked a lot like biscotti, only not so hard.

Gradually, they've added other authentic Florentine pastries, and modified their product line to accommodate American tastes -- at least a little. They're now making sandwiches out of focaccia, pizzas, and various new kinds of bread.

One thing they've made almost since the start was pancioc ($2.75). This round white-flour roll with an egg wash sports big chunks of high-quality dark chocolate pointing every which way. Not only is the outside studded with it, but there are veins of chocolate inside the pastry, too. The brioche-like dough serves as an excellent backdrop for the chocolate, and Fork in the Road has found this to be one of the greatest chocolate delivery systems that the world has ever seen.

Really, it's much better than spreading Nutella on Pepperidge Farm toast.

Pancioc at Il Cantuccio

A loaf of Il Cantuccio's salt-free bread -- the only thing you can use to make real panzanella.

Il Cantuccio 91 Christopher Street 212-647-8787

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