Biscotteria Forno Cultura
Biscotteria Forno Cultura is a micro-shop in Union Station specializing in the renowned Italian bakery cafe Forno Cultura’s cookie offerings, most notably the humble biscotti.
There’s much more than that available here though. Amaretti, baci di dama, Italian shortbread and more are all sold by weight, and on either side of the central cookie display there are food and home products. They also brew pourover coffee exclusively.
The small but sleek space is resplendent with the quiet minimalism typical of Forno locations, wood and copper accents playing off each other from fixtures to packaging.
The way baked goods (produced off-site in Forno’s kitchens) are centrally displayed lends the products a museum-like reverence, the dry crumbly cookies seemingly transformed into small hard gems.
Make your selection, likely with the help of staff as nothing in this central display is labelled, and they weigh your order and wrap it up for you, further adding to a ritualistic feel.
Biscotti here are made with the Forno recipe passed down through generations.
The total opposite of the thick, icing-drizzled Starbucks variety, these biscotti are roughly pinky-sized, brittle without being hard. Dazzling flavours include walnut cinnamon honey or hazelnut pistachio dark chocolate.
Gluten-free flourless cakes are available by the slice, like a pan forte made with dates and currants soaked in grappa, walnuts and cocoa, for a crumbly, rich, chunky sweet treat balanced out with a little boozy bitterness.
A torta polenta is made with semolina flour, dried apricots, rosemary and pine nuts, exemplifying Forno’s classic ability to balance sweet and savoury, thereby bringing out true Italian flavours.
Most cookies are sold by weight for $8 per 100g, meaning an individual cookie costs around 75 cents. Though of course it depends on the variety, small boxes tend to go for around $10, larger boxes around $24 to $50.
If you already know what your favourite Forno cookie is, it’s easy to pick up a quick pre-packaged box ($18) without the ceremony.
Pourover is brewed using the same Rufino coffee as at other Forno locations, here in a Kenyan and lighter Ethiopian variety that’s also available to take home ($22).
Brew systems like the American Goat Story ($225) are also available for purchase so you can enjoy those beans to the fullest.
As for takeaway coffee ($4) don’t expect customized express service: each cup of pourover takes four minutes, and there’s no sugar, cream or milk.
Prepared Forno food products available here include gardiniera bianca ($18) and cacciatore sausage ($30).
Hand-painted ceramics by Pennsylvania’s Felt & Fat include the “Funfetti Set” ranging from $30 for an espresso cup to $90 for nine-inch bowl.
This micro-Forno provides the city with yet another pocket of relaxed, refined Italian culture.