Anyone driving through Verona's central business district Wednesday night undoubtedly saw crowds of people surrounding DiPaolo Bakery on Bloomfield Avenue, clamoring to get a glimpse of Real Housewives of New Jersey star, Teresa Giudice.
Giudice, who was at DiPaolo with hubby, Joe, as part of her whirlwind tour promoting her cookbook, Fabulicious!: Teresa's Italian Cookbook, greeted fans of all ages, posing for pictures and signing autographs, well past the event's scheduled two-hour runtime.
"The event was supposed to last from 6-8, but she was here until almost 10. No one was stranded in line, everyone who came to see her got a chance to," said DiPaolo's Bakery owner, Fulvio DiPaolo.
Fans lined up around the block, and the large crowd was directed by Verona Police as well as private security people retained by the bakery.
During the signing, DiPaolo was in the kitchen preparing countless batches of "Holy Cannoli" cupcakes, which the bakery gave out in pairs to the assembled fans. When asked how many free cupcakes were given away in total, DiPaolo said he lost track after 650 boxes. The bakery even raffled off a fondant cake, valued at $500, to one lucky winner.
The recipe, he said, was borrowed from Giudice's cookbook, and consists of white cake stuffed with and topped with cocoa-infused cannoli cream.
DiPaolo said that a Bravo film crew was on hand for the spectacle, passing out release forms to everyone in line. He said they were told they would be filming mere hours before the event started. He didn't know if they would be using the footage for an upcoming episode.
He said Giudice was gracious and accommodating to her fans, and even requested the Verona Rescue Squad set up shop across the street, as an impromptu opportunity for the all-volunteer squad to collect donations.
"It really was a great event. It went from a simple book signing to something much bigger," DiPaolo said.