ROME - Pope Benedict XVI has a sweet tooth, and there is nothing like kosher cake to feed it. As it turns out, a renowned kosher bakery in Rome’s ancient Jewish ghetto is one of the pope’s favorite places to visit when it's time for desert.
There are few people in Rome that do not know the famous Boccione bakery in Rome's ancient ghetto, established in 1555. Alongside a prominent local synagogue and Jewish schools stands the bakery, renowned for making traditional treats by hand for hundreds of years.
“One of the pope's doctors stopped by the bakery en route to administering a routine checkup of the pontiff and introduced the pastries to Benedict,” recalled bakery owner Wilma Limentani.
“I guess he enjoyed the biscotti and 'Jewish pizza' (an almond-and-raisin confection),” noted Limenati who was recently surprised with a thank-you letter from the Vatican.
Those close to the German pope recount that he loves deserts, and was particularly enamored with the almond and raisin confection, tinged with cinnamon and pine nuts, which Limenati affectionately dubbed “Jewish pizza”
“I think that the pope looks forward to the doctor’s visits ever since,” said Limenati, who informed the pontiff that the bakery adheres strictly to all of the laws of kashrut.
“We would never, ever use lard. All of our pastries are strictly kosher ,” she said as a long line of customers snakes its way into her store, hoping that the supply of “Jewish pizza” does not run dry.
Ever since the papal endorsement, business has certainly picked up at Boccione with curious customers lining up to see just how good “Jewish pizza” really is.