Ok, this story threw me back a bit. When I first came across it on YouTube it showed an Italian guy who has an uncanny resemblance to Tony Soprano, standing next to a wrapped Van in Rome with an awful cartoonish depiction of President Obama on the sides. He was holding up boxes of chocolate versions of pasticciotti, the famous pastry from Puglia (and which I bought from Italian bakeries in North Jersey as a child).
But to me, the drawing of Obama looked a bit too much like some of those racist anti-Obama sambo pictures that were circulating during his campaign. Also, the only chocolate pasticciotti (we called them "passa chutt" in Southern dialect) I ever knew were normal sweet pastry (pasta frolla) on the outside with chocolate custard on the inside. Normally they have a vanilla custard inside. At first I thought, Oh My God, what a racist thing to do, but then I tried my best to understand the Italian on the video and got the gist of it. This guy actually likes President Obama, so much so that when he got elected, the baker added cocoa powder to his original pasticciotti recipe, then added chocolate custard inside and dubbed it Pasticciotti Obama. Pastry chef Angelo Bisconti, has been selling them like hotcakes his Pugliese pastry shop near Lecce.
Apparently, the video was from last March when he brought 5000 Pasticciotti Obama samples to Rome with the intent of giving them away for free as "a symbol of welcome to the president". He set up his van near the American Embassy in Rome and treated passersby to his sweet treats. He has become pretty famous in his hometown of Campi Salentina near Lecce, so much so that they put a sign as you come into town saying "Campi Salentina, City of Obama Cakes".
When he started about five years ago, he sold about 50 a day. This has grow to a production of over 15,000 every week! Bisconti said his plan to give away pastries was a sign of "respect to this person who changed my life and to whom I owe my professional luck". I could not find out if President Obama ever got a chance to taste any Obama Cakes, or what he thought of the awkward likeness of him on Bisconti's van. There is a rumor that Bisconti might be chosen to portray Tony Soprano in an upcoming pasticceria owners' teatro della comunità... just kidding.
They do look tasty,though.
(Watch Bisconti's strange promotional video and see what you think about his motives and what kid of guy he really is. He sure looks furbo to me.)
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