Last Saturday, Nick and I finally made it to Pan’e Dolcetti – an Italian pastry and coffee shop in Wilbraham, MA. Pan’e Dolcetti opened just over a year ago and I have been wanting to visit ever since, but we never head out that way. We’re pretty spoiled with coffee shops here in the Northampton/Amherst area so it’s not often I find myself driving a distance just for a cup of joe. But I decided my 28th birthday was reason enough to make a 35-minute trip to check out the place. We were not disappointed!
We arrived shortly after 10 am and it was relatively quiet, though by the time we left an hour or so later there was a steady flow of customers. We grabbed a table and got down to the important business of choosing what to order. Nick went with the newly-introduced breakfast panino with homemade focaccia, farm fresh hard cooked eggs, cacciocavallo (similar to provolone), speck (prosciutto), olive oil, and salt & fresh cracked black pepper, while I opted for a ricotta and walnut muffin. Both the panino and muffin were great. Nick had hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream and I had a pour over coffee. Nick’s hot chocolate was rich and delicious and just the right size, topped with fresh whipped cream we watched the owner make. My pour over was pretty amazing, though not pictured because, well it looks like a regular cup of coffee.
For those unfamiliar with pour over coffee, it’s a manual method of making drip coffee (similar to what your home coffee machine might do) but it creates a more complex and delicate brew. It takes a few minutes so it’s not for busy weekday mornings when you need to grab and go. I’d only had pour over once before, last winter at Folly Foods in Wilmington, Vermont, and it was one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had. I’ve had a lot of coffee in my adult life, from good old Dunkin’ Donuts to humble neighborhood cafes and from on-site roasters to hipster coffee joints to Cuban kitchens. So while I’m kind of terrible at making my own coffee, I’m excellent at drinking it! And the coffee at Pan’e Dolcetti was just what I needed to get my weekend started. It was smooth and velvety and not too strong (I get the coffee jitters easily). I had La Bolsa, a Guatemalan brew (by way of Cafe Grumpy in Brooklyn) with flavors of lemon verbena, shortbread, and baking chocolate. My unrefined palate definitely didn’t pick up on all that but I certainly enjoyed the overall taste.
If you’re in the Greater Springfield area and looking for a local coffee shop, I highly recommend Pan’e Dolcetti. The space is bright and welcoming, the food is tasty, and the coffee is an experience. The owners are a husband and wife team who spent the last decade managing fine coffee and specialty food shops in NYC including the Chocolate Room in my old neighborhood, Park Slope. In addition to quality coffee, breakfast pastries, and panini they also have enticing offerings such as limoncello cake, cannoli (fresh and made to order!), cream puffs, and tiramisu. You really can’t go wrong. They also have a small selection of imported Italian goods and for the holidays they do specialty cookie platters. Check ’em out!
To read more Pan’e Dolcetti, check out this MassLive article.