By Rick Riozza

“The story of Frankie’s Old World Biscotti begins in the hills of Calabria, Italy, in 1592, with a sacred family recipe. Biscotti were part of a local wedding custom, and made with only the freshest black anise, sun roasted almonds, stoneground flour, and other homegrown flavors. Priests blessed the dough before baking it in a brick oven, a process that took three days. The result was biscotti softer in texture, and unlike those made commercially today.”

Well—first off, a very happy New Year’s to you all!  I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season with some your favorite quaffs.

As you can discern by the quotation marks in the first paragraph, the words above aren’t my mine, but Frankie’s.  He goes on to say, “I am so happy to carry on my family’s tradition and present my biscotti to you.  They are made with love, heart, and the soul of Old Calabria.  Now we offer the tastes and textures of biscotti and breads from Old Calabria to neighbors in Palm Springs & Cathedral City, Southern California and friends throughout America. We look forward to sharing our family’s tradition with you.”

For the casual on-looker, the modest café/deli that is quietly situated off Perez Rd. (that connector street that joins Date Palm Drive to Hwy. 111 as it cuts through Cathedral Canyon Drive) appears unpretentious enough, but this is the place where the “Italian” in everyone longs to thrive and flourish in “la dolce vita di far niente”the sweet life of tranquility.

For those who do not yet know the coziness of this old world style bakery, this place will light up your new year.  Freshly baked and beautifully prepared Italian pastries align while comforting wafts of sweet spice and cookies continually titillate your senses.

A bakery before expanding to a deli and ultimately a café, the shop continues to offer panoply of confections prepared from some of Frankie’s fabulous old-world family recipes.  If you can’t make it to Calabria on vacation this year, be comforted, you can still surround yourself with the sights, sounds, aromas and encompassing sway of the morning calabrese table.

From a stellar selection of Italian cookies, pastries, tarts, cannoli, and biscotti, come the likes of Cuccidate– Fig Date Walnut Cookie, Apple Crostata, Apricot Pineapple Squares, Vanilla Almond Biscotti with White Chocolate Topping, Sicilian Chocolate Chip Cookies (Hey!—Sicillians and Calabrese are practically Pisanos), Vanilla Almond Biscotti with Dark Chocolate Topping, Macadamia White Chocolate Cookies, and so much more.  Are we waking-up to this tasty news or what?  As Frankie’s Grandma, Nonna—used to say: “La Vita e IncertaMangiare Biscotti Prima”—“Life is Uncertain…Eat Cookies First”

Because of the large request from his customers to expand to an authentic Italian deli, Frankie and fellow pasticcere associate, Luca, did indeed meet the community demand to provide the needed delicatessen. Subs, sandwiches, meatballs, and other scrumptious Italian delights are prepared fresh for dining, take-out, and catering.  Find out everything you wish to know by going to their website: frankiesbiscotti.com

And did I mention the Italian vino available?  Frankie always provides an enlightening and varied wine list that include Chianti, Rosso di Montalcino, Frascatti, Nero d’Avola, Prosecco, and our favorite, the authentic Moscato d’Asti.

We’ve recently written about Moscato d’Asti, DOCG:  It’s typically and fashionably Italian: mildly effervescent—frizzante, with aromas and flavors of sweet peach, apricot, orange blossom, honeysuckle, almonds, citrus tones, and ginger that is embraced with medium acidity to keep things fresh and lively.

What’s so lovely about this wine besides being so aromatic, tasty, and, charismatic, is its low alcohol level. Generally around 5 to 7 percent, it’s the perfect all day quaffer on its own, and the impeccable pairing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. By the way—has anyone enjoyed a wine & cookie pairing lately for dessert?  Enjoy a pairing menu at Frankies!

For as quaint and homey as the store shop is, as depicted in the included photo, there is currently an entirely new side of things going on—quite literally!  True to Frankie’s show biz and theatrical background, we now have “Dinner Show at Frankie’s”

Like the famed supper clubs of old, Frankie’s is providing top-notch Palm Springs entertainment, offering a one-of-a-kind dinner theater at his expanded location.  It all works—the culinary and theatrical arts; it seems fitting that a venue like Frankie’s continues our tradition of the Great American Songbook.

It’s All About Love! The next Dinner Show, titled “Sweethearts Thru the Ages” is scheduled for the 2017 Valentine’s Weekend, Saturday & Sunday, February 11th and 12th.  The program will feature our valley’s famed entertainers including Frankie Mamone, Luca, the Italian Cowboy, Leslie Tinnaro, with musical director Dante Noto.

Slated on the menu is a gorgeous five-course dinner to include, Italian Herbed Rice Cheese Balls, Romaine Lettuce and Red Pear Salad with Toasted Pecans, Chicken Cacciatore over Spiral Pasta, Roasted Califlower & Zucchini with Basil Pesto, and, Dark Chocolate Raspberry Torte.  And as mentioned above, a wonderful wine list will be available to purchase from.

The cost of the dinner-theatre event is only $60 per person.  Please call in advance for reservations, as these events sell-out quickly: 760.770.1300.  Doors open at 5pm, with dinner being served at 6pm.

Many more theatrical activities and plans are underway; and, I understand there is to be a Thursday Night Open Mike series starting soon. Such being the case, it’s easy to see the new expanded business name:  Frankie’s Italian Bakery, Café & Supper Club, 68-845 Perez Rd. H30 Cathedral City, Ca. 92234

Congratulazioni! Frankie & Luca, Arriverderla!

Rick is your somm-about-town conducting and entertaining at wine events & tasting. Contact winespectrum@aol.com.

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