What started out as a Saturday-morning trick to lure in farmers' market shoppers has become an almost daily occurrence: Five days a week, Village Market, the Ferry Building grocer, now sets up card tables outside its store to sell Italian doughnuts. During the week, the bombolini, frate, and cannoli come from Le Bontà Italiane, a fledgling bakery — OK, one guy from Lucca who works out of a commercial kitchen in San Francisco.
His frate, airy, ring-shaped doughnuts lightly scented with lemon zest and dusted in granulated sugar, reminded SFoodie of the homemade German doughnuts we grew up eating. The Lucca-style cannoli — available at the stand all five days it runs — are nothing like the crisp, ricotta-filled Sicilian pastries that East Coast expats whine about missing here: Each of the puffy tubes, formed by spiral-wrapping dough around a cylindrical mold before frying, are covered in sugar and then filled with lemon or chocolate-flavored pastry cream. They're a cross between a cream horn and a bismarck, and not a little dangerous to eat while walking — the cream tends to erupt out of the cannoli the moment you bite in.