In appearance it looks like an Indian samosa. Made into small diamond-shaped packets of flaky pastry, the pastizzi are stuffed with either fresh ricotta or a pea and meat filling. A smaller pastizzi is made for finger buffets at parties and a 'healthy eating' version can be produced with a lighter pastry and a spinach filling.
Sebastian Saliba, who is 70 and from Malta, opened the bakery in Cruden Bay, near Peterhead. "I love living in Scotland, but I wanted to show the people here that there is an alternative to pies, sausage rolls, pasties and even fish and chips. When I have offered a pastizzi to people here they have all said they are delicious. Even though I have only been open a short time, I already have a lot of customers."
Opening the bakery fulfils a lifelong ambition for Saliba, he says: "This is something I have always wanted to do because back home in Malta my parents were bakers and at the time they were disappointed that I did not go to work for them. I came to England and joined the RAF instead. My bakery is called Mama Malta Pastizzeria, in memory of them. I remember so well my parents' bakery in Malta all those years ago - the smell of the baking bread and the delicious taste of all the products. I want to recreate that in Scotland."
Soon the bakery will offer a selection of other savouries and pastries and eventually there will also be Maltese bread. "For the bread I need to have a wood oven and that will need further planning permission, but I will get it soon."
It has not all been plain sailing for Saliba. To begin with his application to Aberdeenshire Council to convert premises next to his house into a bakery met with objections from local residents and also from the planning department. But despite being officially retired Saliba has remained undeterred and is throwing himself enthusiastically into his new venture. n
=== The pros and cons ===
Biggest Challenge: Dealing with the local planners has been very difficult. Also, getting the right equipment. I need special machinery because we use quite a hard dough.
Greatest achievment: Finally opening up for business and honouring the memory of my parents.
=== Going it alone ===
The firm: Mama Malta Pastizzeria, Cruden Bay, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire
The brief: To open a traditional Maltese bakery and pastizzeria
Products: Pastizzi, to be followed shortly by traditional Maltese bread
Staff: Sebastian Salida, with part-time help from family
Background: Ex-RAF. His parents owned a family bakery in Malta
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