Add a New Tradition to Your March Menu with Saint Joseph’s Day Zeppole Pastries

There’s a sweet case to be made for trading Saint Patrick’s corned beef for Saint Joseph’s zeppole pastries. Here’s where to find them.

By Amy Traverso

Mar 16 2023


Italian zeppole pastries are eaten to celebrate Saint Joseph’s day on March 19 and can be found in Italian bakeries all over New England.

Photo Credit : Amy Traverso

For those unfamiliar, Saint Joseph’s Day, March 19, is kind of like the Italian equivalent of Saint Patrick’s Day. It honors Joseph, father of Jesus, but as with many such holidays, observance ranges from the religious to the purely culinary.

Saint Joseph’s Day is celebrated in many countries, but in Italy, my family’s ancestral home, it’s a major event. Saint Joseph is, after all, the patron saint of Sicily. And for many southern Italians, it’s celebrated by eating a special pastry called a zeppola. Zeppole (plural) take many forms, both sweet and savory, but in their most common iteration, they’re made with piped dough that is baked or fried, filled with vanilla custard, chocolate custard, or sweetened ricotta, and topped with preserved fruit or shaved chocolate. The dough might be a classic yeasted type or might be made with choux pastry similar to that of cream puffs. In any form, they’re absolutely delicious.

I didn’t grow up with zeppole. My family’s tradition was to eat fried dough or ricotta fritters dusted with sugar on St. Joseph’s Day. But when I moved to Boston’s North End, I realized what I had been missing.

Italian zeppole pastries are eaten to celebrate Saint Joseph’s day on March 19 and can be found in Italian bakeries all over New England.
Photo Credit : Amy Traverso

So where can you find these treats? The following list is a sampling of great Italian bakeries that make trays of zeppole in the weeks leading up to March 19. Find one near you and taste the magic.

Where to Find Zeppole Pastries Around New England


Chimirri’s, Wethersfield

This award-winning bakery fills its zeppole to order and tops them with an amarena cherry. Vanilla custard, chocolate custard, and sweet ricotta fillings are available.

Lucibello’s, New Haven

Open since 1929, Lucibello’s serves zeppole filled with vanilla custard, chocolate custard, and sweet ricotta fillings.

Mozzicato de Pasquale, Hartford, Plainville, Wallingford, Middletown, and Rocky Hill

Circa 1908, Mozzicato’s also serves all three filling flavors. (The Hartford location also happened to be a favorite high school hangout when we wanted to feel European and sophisticated).


The Italian Bakery, Lewiston

You can get breakfast, pizzas and subs, and fresh donuts at this deli/bakery, but if it’s March be sure to get some zeppole, too.

Seacoast Pizza and Pasta, Wells

As the name implies, this is more of a pizza restaurant than a bakery, but they do make tasty fried dough balls dusted with powdered sugar that they call zeppole.


Modern Pastry, Boston and Medford

Modern happens to be my favorite place to buy zeppole, partly for the quality and partly because theirs were the first I ever tried. I prefer the vanilla custard filling, but all three are terrific.

Caffè Sicilia, Gloucester

My other favorite zeppole source, this cafe near the Gloucester waterfront also makes terrific arancini, Italian cookies, and sandwiches.

La Fiorentina, Springfield and East Longmeadow

The Daniele family has operated this Springfield landmark since 1946. Their zeppole are light and lovely, made using a generations-old family recipe.

Tripoli Bakery, Salisbury, Methuen, North Andover, and Lawrence

See under “New Hampshire”

New Hampshire

Tripoli Bakery (also in Salisbury, Methuen, North Andover, Lawrence, MA)

Tripoli is ecumenical when it comes to March holidays. You’ll find Irish Soda Bread, hot cross buns, and zeppole, in addition to the signature pizzas and cakes.

Angela’s Pasta and Pastry Shop, Manchester

Shop for Italian cheese, fresh pasta, and other specialty goods, then swing by the bakery for the custard-filled zeppole.

Rhode Island

So many Rhode Island Italian bakeries make zeppole that it seems to be the state’s unofficial dessert. This makes sense: Johnston, R.I., the most Italian municipality in the United States, with 47 percent of its population claiming Italian ancestry. Across the state, Italian-Americans are the state’s largest ethnic minority. Here are some of the many bakeries serving zeppole this month:

Antonio’s Bakery, Warwick

Borrelli’s Bakery, Providence

Calvitto’s Bakery, Cranston

Colvitto’s Bakery, Narragansett

D. Palmieri’s Bakery, Johnston

LaSalle Bakery, Providence

The Original Italian Bakery, Johnston

Solitro’s Bakery, Cranston

Vesta Bakery, Westerly


We weren’t able to find traditional Zeppole in the Green Mountains, but Vespa’s in Essex Junction makes the fried dough coated in powdered sugar called zeppole.

How about you? Did you grow up celebrating St. Joseph’s Day? What are some of your favorite places to buy zeppole??