After hearing about them on Phantom Gourmet, my husband and I decided to try Wholly Cannoli on Grafton Street in Worcester for our giving-dessert-as-a-thank-you-gift needs this past Sunday night. Though we had to make a beeline to get there by closing (7 p.m. on Sundays), it was convenient that they were even open Sunday nights whereas we'd be out of luck with most other bakeries. Though I'd heard good things on Phantom and had high hopes since even their website says they have the largest selection of cannolis on the east coast, I really thought, how bad can a store full of Italian pastries be?
I was pleasantly surprised to see that this wasn't just a little hole (whole?) in the wall (not that I wouldn't have gleefully ordered up a plethora of desserts had it been); there are several tables where you can sit and enjoy your baked goodness, but of course, they also do quite the take-out business. The selection -- not just of cannoli, but also cookies, cakes, and individual pastries is absolutely overwhelming.
As much as I would have liked to sample something from each category, I was there on a mission: cannoli. Delicious cannoli, and nothing else... until I laid eyes on a heavenly confection known as a "Dynamite Stick." I don't even know what they are, I thought, but "Two of those, please." Three caramel swirl cannoli, one white chocolate raspberry, two pumpkin pie, two chocolate chip, one Snickers, one tiramisu and two others that I don't recall the names of, but they had tiny peanut butter and chocolate chips on the end (I'm not a peanut butter person, but figured one of our guests may be) completed my order. I was impressed that the young lady behind the counter gently placed each pastry in the oversized box, and as a result, they were all in perfect condition when we went to dig in.
They all looked great, but admittedly... I was most excited about the "Dynamite Stick." When I got home (and immediately devoured one), I discovered that not only is it NOT a candy bar, it is quite possibly the most delicious dessert I've ever eaten. The Dynamite Stick is sweetened ricotta cheese, slathered in caramel, and covered in a hard chocolate shell. There is a coating on the chocolate also -- maybe cake crumbs? -- but I couldn't tell what it was. Not that it mattered, it could have been pickled cricket heads and I would still have delighted in every bite.
I didn't try every flavor, but can personally recommend the tiramisu and caramel varieties. They are as pretty to look at as they are tasty.
My one gripe with Wholly Cannoli is only their prices. For one dozen cannoli and two dynamite sticks (which are $4 each), the total came to $48. That's not to say that the food wasn't worth it, but if you're looking for tasty on a budget, especially for a crowd, you might be better off checking out a different shop in Worcester or a neighboring town. I should note, however, that their occasion cakes, which range from 8-inch round ($12.95) to full sheet ($60) and come in a vast variety of flavors, do seem very reasonably priced.
That said, the food was delicious, and it looked like a cute place to stop for a quick meal -- they also have a few breakfast offerings and a lunch menu with sandwiches on foccacia bread, pizza, wraps and salads -- and definitely a dessert, eat-in or take-out. If you have the extra dough (get it?) to spend, and you're looking for truly tasty and unique cannoli creations, Wholly Cannoli is the way to go.
490 Grafton Street
Worcester, Mass., 01604
Monday - 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday - 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Wednesday - 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thursday - 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday - 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday - 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday - 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.