25 October 2013
It is as iconic to
as fish and chips is to England or bratwurst is to Germany. I’ve already expressed my love for pastizzi before
. Yet, I did not know that there was more to pastizzi than the two most common varieties – ricotta and pea. Not until I heard of Pastizzi Gourmet
Chocolate pastizzi? Strawberry pastizzi? What about cranberry and white chocolate ones for Christmas? Yes, they all exist right out of Marilu`’s kitchen!
I had the pleasure of meeting Marilu` Vella, the owner, chef and distributer of Pastizzi Gourmet. Mairlu` has been making pastizzi since she was a little girl. Influenced by her grandmother and her aunty Marilu` has turned a hobby and a passion into a full time business and all quite by accident.
After graduating from theatre studies at University Marilu` found, while applying for jobs and waiting on answers, that she had some free time on her hands. Never wishing to stay idle for long she started to brainstorm some ideas and decided to create Pastizzi Gourmet to keep herself busy and make a bit of extra pocket money.
"I was only selling to a couple of friends and suddenly, a bombardment of orders started coming in and I thought, Okay, maybe this has potential and I just gave everything up to work on it".
Marilu` has updated her recipes bringing pastizzi into the 21st century, and instead of using the traditional, high in fat lard, she uses a substitute that has seed oils. This not only makes it much healthier, it also opens the door for vegetarians to enjoy pastizzi. She experiments with a varied array of fillings, breaking from the traditional norm of just ricotta and pea.
Chocolate and strawberry Pastizzi are very popular over the Valentines period and cranberry and white chocolate is always a big seller over Christmas. Other varieties include peppered pumpkin, lamb & mint, apple & cinnamon and lemon curd & walnuts just to name a few. In total Marilu` has invented around 15 mouth-watering varieties in which a majority of the ingredients are sourced from her very own fields.
Marilu` runs the entire operation herself. Her typical day starts at around 07:30 where she checks the day’s orders and makes herself comfortable in the kitchen. She will typically make 2/3 different varieties during the day and delivers her goods to clients of an evening. Her hard work has paid off as she recently scooped two prizes at the JCI Best Business Awards for Best Business Plan and the People's choice. "That was such a surprise, I was really happy about it!".
Last year Marilu` teamed up with Air Malta in a wonderful endeavour. Air Malta and Pastizzi Gourmet sponsored, and helped deliver, 1200 pastizzi to Maltese cancer patients undergoing treatment in London. “My uncle was undergoing cancer treatment and thought would be really nice to send him some Pastizzi. But what about the others? I thought, It’s not fair if I just give my uncle and the others get none. So I did something about it”
Keen to place your order? Her prices start at around 3 euros for a dozen with a typical order requiring a minimum of two dozen, although you will probably want more! She delivers all over Malta and Gozo and these fine pastries can be in your freezer, or your belly, within a week of placing your order. Marilu` is very active on Facebook and you can find some great recipes, photos and updates of her previous and upcoming events. I’ve ordered apple and cinnamon pastizzi already and will be getting cranberry ones for Christmas. What flavours will you get?