Maltese pastizzi are a treat very few people can knock. However their high fat content prohibits many from indulging regularly. In comes Pastizzi Gourmet, a company that creates this well-loved local snack, just with fewer calories! They also come in a wide variety of fillings, think lamb and mint, white chocolate and cranberry and chilli and chocolate.
What distinguishes Pastizzi Gourmet from the rest?
Pastizzi Gourmet is different because of two aspects. First of all, they are the healthier version of the traditional pastizzi, and they also come in various flavours apart from the traditional ricotta and pea. The fixed menu right now contains seven different varieties, which also include sweet ones.
What makes them healthier?
The pastry is lighter, in that it doesn’t contain lard or margarine, and is based on seed oils. In fact the pastry is very low in calories and fat, and most of the fat is unsaturated. I also try to use ingredients that are in season and always aim to get them either from our family field, which barrs all kinds of pesticides, or from trustworthy farmers in our local area.
What are the most interesting fillings you have created?
The most popular is probably lamb and mint, which I have also made on my last trip to Palestine. The most interesting ones vary from football pastizzi according to who was playing in the Champions League Final, which included sauerkraut and wurst for Bayern Munich, and bangers and mash for Chelsea, and then strawberries and chocolate, or chili chocoalte for Valentine’s Day. The cranberry pastizzi, which I make over Christmas, are also very popular. I usually tend to play around with cranberries and create both sweet (white chocolate and cranberries), and savoury (Maltese sausage and cranberries) pastizzi.
Where can you find Pastizzi Gourmet?
Pastizzi Gourmet is an online concept, and people can order via email or Facebook and collect them from Siggiewi. We will be celebrating the launch of the website very shortly too! Alternatively, they can also get them from Flora’s Cafeteria in Naxxar, and a few boutique hotels around the island serve them for their breakfast too.
What sparked your interest in food?
It was probably my paternal grandmother’s and my aunty’s kitchens. They were always busy in the kitchen coming up with something special for their families. My family is very passionate not just about food, but also the ingredients. My father grows a lot of vegetables during the year and he tries to preserve them in various ways so we can enjoy most of them for a longer time.
What inspired you to create Pastizzi Gourmet?
Pastizzi Gourmet came about when I was in between jobs and bored at home. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and I became inspired to start creating something different instead of just sitting around. This was around five years ago!
How has the company grown over the years?
It has grown slowly, but steadily. At the beginning all my friends thought I was joking but soon everyone realised I was very serious about it! I had a lot of help and support from the media and for this, I will be eternally grateful.
What was your most rewarding experience with Pastizzi Gourmet?
It’s difficult to choose, I feel very blessed with having had plenty of great experiences. Some of which are winning the JCI Best Business Plan Competition, my trips to Sardegna and to Hotel Le Meurice in Paris, and of course, the successful yearly sponsorship to Maltese patients in London undergoing cancer treatment. I have also been on the Italian magazine The Trip, which apparently was spread all around Rome! And in a couple of weeks I will be filming a feature for the Italian TV show Mela Verde.
Who is the most interesting person who has ordered Pastizzi Gourmet?
Difficult to choose! My favourite footballer, André Schembri, is a regular client, but the sweetest ones for sure were the Maltese nuns I met in Palestine.
Tell us about your most recent travels with Pastizzi Gourmet.
Recently I was invited to Sharjah Heritage Fair in the Emirate of Sharjah by the Arts Council Malta, and to Palestine by the Head of the Representative at the Office of the Republic of Malta in Palestine; both interesting in their own way. In Sharjah I spent a week at a big fair with other Maltese artists reaching out to the local people, whereas in Palestine I worked with the chefs at a beautiful hotel in East Jerusalem and we came up with recipes together with the Maltese pastry and Palestinian fillings.
What are the plans for the future for Pastizzi Gourmet?
To grow and to spread even further around Malta. There are other coffee shops who are interested in serving Pastizzi Gourmet and I am currently in talks with them.
Hopefully it will be easier to get the Pastizzi Gourmet fix every morning, afternoon, and evening!
© 2017 – VIDA Magazine – Rachel zammit Cutajar