To all dessert lovers: this competition is not for the faint of heart.
This Thursday, September 13, crowds will gather for the 11th Annual Cannoli Eating Competition in New York’s Little Italy, from 2:00-3:00 PM. The contest, sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating, has been known to break records, with last year’s winner eating thirty-two full-sized cannoli in only six minutes. This year ten hopefuls set to shatter that seemingly impossible feat, aided only by their iron will and the occasional swig of complimentary coffee and milk.
For the pastry novice, a cannoli is a rolled and fried shell and filled with a rich cream of ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, and (often) diced candied fruit. This year’s cannoli are being provided by Ferrara Bakery & Cafe, located in the Little Italy. Each cannoli is a whopping five hundred calories, meaning last year’s victor inhaled 16,000 calories, or over 2,600 calories per minute. Yes, these people are professionals!
The Cannoli Eating Competition is only one event in the Feast of San Gennaro, the religious-turned-culinary festival celebrating the Patron Saint of Naples that began in New York in 1926 and has persisted for eighty-six years. The festival welcomes New Yorkers of all backgrounds to join the traditional tastes of Italy, the cannoli being one of the most loved of these traditions. Their only stipulation? Leave your diet at home.