There are a few things you can rely on finding at the English seaside: fish ’n’ chips and candyfloss; stocky-legged kiddiwinks with buckets and spades. Less predictable is the weather. And something you really might not expect? A world-class Italian pasticceria – that’s a patisserie, for those in the know.
So imagine our delight when we came across just such a cake-filled café on a recent Smith & Friends recce to Deal on Kent’s coastline. We’d bargained for stylish R&R but we hadn’t counted on such soul-uplifting, sweet-tooth temptations. Meltingly light cream-filled bigné (choux buns) with a rainbow of flavours (pistachio, hazelnut and chocolate – all highly recommended), moreish golfball-sized dark cocoa and hazelnut Baci di Dama (‘lady’s kisses’), delicately scented lemon and cornflour Meliga biscuits or chewy-crisp almond Amaretti – is your mouth watering yet?
Formerly an antique shop belonging to the current owner’s nonna, this temple to treats is still a family-run affair. But this time it’s pastries the granddaughter’s a-peddling. And frankly, few collectibles – heirlooms or otherwise – can compete with Miretti’s pannacottas in lipstick shades of pink and rouge, pavement-slab-sized torta and light-as-a-feather soufflés.
Head here on a Saturday morning at 11am and join the queue for freshly baked bread. While you’re there, order an Italian cappuccino. And pick up a crostata di frutta (fruit tart). And possibly a tiramisu. After all, everything is free from preservatives, artificial flavours and colourings and baked fresh each day, with free-range eggs and organic Italian flour.
After sampling the sweet delicacies and chatting with Catherine and her partner Paolo behind the counter, we had no choice but to make off with an array of the aforementioned goodies. Along with a sleek shoebox-sized box of chocolates. And more butterfly-light bigné for the journey home. Oh, and a lemon tart with flaky pastry and a creamy centre… Perhaps Deal should come with the warning: this coastline could damage your waistline.
Thank you to Alex from Hector’s Apartments for navigating us to this delightful pasticceria. If you thought the way to our hearts was through our stomachs you were right. And you can bet your last biscotti we’ll be back.
Address 125 High Street, Deal, Kent, CT14 6BB
Phone 01304 369165
Where to stay: Hector’s Apartments
Style: Cool, coastal Victorian villa
Setting: Deal Castle on your doorstep
Retro Seventies’ leather chairs, cool lighting, statement wallpapers and sleek fittings breathe contemporary life into this traditional Victorian seafront villa, but a stroll from the pebbled beach. This chic self-catering stay can sleep two in either of the two one-bedroom apartments and four in the one multi-level two-bed maisonette, making it a hip holiday home for couples, friends and special-occasion group getaways. Book the apartments individually or for a bigger group getaway, the entire property as a whole.