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Baked Goods

Malta Bake Shop

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / Posted on April 8, 2012

Malta Bake ShopMalta Bake Shop is instantly recognizable when approached from the west, thanks to a vivid blue mural depicting its namesake nation's seafaring ways. It's a fitting facade for what many have termed a cornerstone of Little Malta, and oft-forgotten neighbourhood that stretches between Quebec and Runnymede Avenues in the Junction. Inside, red-trimmed tables and white curlicued chairs suggest an Italian promenade, while the yellow-tinged walls and patchwork bricks summon up images of Greece.

Malta Bake Shop TorontoHusband-and-wife Charles and Antoinette Buttigieg opened up shop over 30 years ago, in what was then a very different neighborhood, to honor the flavors and recipes of their native Malta. Take a stroll around the shop's perimeter and you'll find a framed letter of thanks from Malta's president following his visit, maps of Malta, as well as religious icons.

Antoinette gives me a quick geographical and sociological education: Malta is a tiny island republic which lies below Italy's boot, and bears the culinary traditions of many European countries--"we've been occupied by so many cultures," she tells me. Toronto's Little Malta has seen many changes of its own over the last few decades, first welcoming hordes of Maltese immigrants in the mid-20th century, then contracting in the '70s.

Malta BakeryMalta Bake Shop has full monopoly over Little Malta with its homemade pastizzi ($0.85). From afar, they'd make convincing stand-ins as walnuts. These diamond-shaped puffs traditionally come stuffed with ricotta or peas and sauce, but the bake shop has introduced meat and peas and potato and onion due to popular demand.

Malta Bakery TorontoThe plain ricotta arrives warm on my plate, and smelling strongly of margarine--as all good pastries should. Under the petticoat of twenty-some layers of flaky, fresh-baked puff pastry dough, the cheese is fresh and hearty. What can I say? It's delicious. Antoinette tells me that they also provide wholesale pastizzi to grocery chains such as No Frills and Highland Farms.

The counter holds a myriad of other traditional Maltese baked goods. There's the qaq-tal-ghasel, which is dark molasses encased in medium hard pastry dough ($1.50 for small, $2 for medium). You'll also find almond tarts ($0.70), and trizzi ($1.50), a melange of chocolate, almonds, and dried cherry covered in pastry dough.

Malta Bake Shop Dundas WestThe counter also overflows with krustini, which are Maltese biscuits ($3.50 per bag) and bagels. You'll also find traditional Maltese cheese chips, homemade pasta dishes, salads, soups and take-home pizza dough. Their beverage offerings range from drip coffee ($1.25) and espresso-based drinks ($2-$3), to juice, to a bitter Maltese pop that sounds suspiciously similar to Brio.

Malta Bake Shop JunctionVisitors from the U.S. and Europe frequent the Malta Bake Shop, but their strongest supporters are neighborhood residents. Antoinette can't help but smile as she describes their close connection to the community--"when they have their babies, they come visit, and after a funeral, they end up here."

Discussion

23 Comments

Jeff / April 8, 2012 at 10:34 am
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Nothing beats topping some galletti with proscuitto and cheese, oh boy! Love the shop.

I'd have to disagree with you that all good pastries should smell of margarine. Butter is always better.
robb. / April 9, 2012 at 10:32 am
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What a great little shop. The owners are charming, the atmosphere is classic, and the pastizzi are flaky and delectable. Lots of delicious little treats; I have a weak spot for the trizzi. My only issue is that I have become strongly addicted to the krustini. My evening espresso is just not the same without it.
Antoinette / April 9, 2012 at 07:39 pm
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Nothing beats a hot cup of tea with pastizzies, I love all of them, but the peas ones are my favourite.
Antoinette replying to a comment from Jeff / April 9, 2012 at 07:41 pm
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Actually they are made with Lard so I don't know how they smelled margarine.
Marlene Calleja / April 9, 2012 at 07:49 pm
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Do you sell pastizzies and other Maltese cookies (name which kind) to us Maltese folks who live in California? Sure would like to buy some.
Ken Diacono / April 9, 2012 at 07:52 pm
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Wish you can mail some Pastizzi.....I sure miss them...........
Sally Galea / April 9, 2012 at 08:43 pm
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I have visited you a few years back great place
jason mallia / April 9, 2012 at 10:16 pm
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It makes me proud to See maltese doing so well abroad

I am maltese living in Sydney and have a successfull medical practice in leichardt (little italy) NSW

Edgar{Ted}>Gambin. / April 10, 2012 at 09:01 am
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Hi Malta Pastizzis, lately the pastizzi r too, grease.WHY is that.Sorry, had to mention it.I thing since u r on the road. things got diffrent.Hope they get better. Thank you, for r services,Charily/family. Over the years you where there for THE MALTESE COMMUNITY./THEY WHERE THERE FOR YOUS..
THANK YOU.
joe cassar / April 13, 2012 at 08:41 pm
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I live in Newburgh Ont. east of Napanee whenever I am in the big smoke or hogtown or the T. as they call it today I make it a point to visit the shop, great food and the atmosphere is the greatest,---- grew up down the street on clendennon st--- but been away for 50 odd years-----
coriann berry (Mizzi) / May 4, 2012 at 01:58 pm
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Best place to eat. My family and I always stop in when we are in Ontario.
Alfred Grech / May 11, 2012 at 04:00 pm
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Nothing beats the goodness of their products and the niceness of both Charlie and Antoinette - both super nice people - always loved coming down to your restaurant when I lived in Canada.

Warm regards to both of you.
Cathy Galea Caswell / June 17, 2012 at 02:34 am
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I would love to purchase some pastizzi. Do you have a website where I can buy them?
Malta Bake Shop replying to a comment from Cathy Galea Caswell / July 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm
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Hi Cathy,

We ship all over Canada, and sell our frozen pastizzi across southern Ontario at select grocery stores. Thanks for your interest!
Sarah / September 7, 2012 at 10:44 am
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I can't seem to find an email or website for Malta Bake Shop. My husband is Maltese, we currently live in Cleveland, Ohio, and are planning a trip up pretty soon. Can we count on large amounts of Kinnie (to bring back to the US)? Can we purchase pastizzi to freeze and reheat when we wish? Do you have prinulatta? Do you sell Twistees? We are quite excited to enjoy some Maltese treats.
Thanks!
Theresa Camilleri / November 17, 2012 at 07:24 pm
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I don't seem to spot your address and I hope you are situated somewhere in Scarborough. I would so love to come and purchase some of the Maltese goodies which remind me of my happy childhood in Malta. It would be great if I can also give my close friends a taste when we gather for a special meal to celebrate the blessings of this wonderful season.

I look forward to hearing from you and I thank you in anticipation.

Theresa
John / January 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm
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The address of the Malta Bake Shop is 3246 Dundas Street West, Toronto and their phone number is 416-769-2174. They are open 7 days a week and they close around 8 or so on weekdays and 5 on Sundays. They have a really great service there and their pastizzis are just out of this world. They also sell Twistees, but prinulatta is only sold during their seasonal time. Regards your question about frozen pastizzis, yes you can but frozen pastizzis and cook them whenever you want. I believe they sell them around southern Ontario in a lot of No Frills, Highland Farms and Hasty Market.
Chris Smith / March 3, 2013 at 11:21 am
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I love your pastizzi and would like to purchase from stores that carry them frozen. What stores carry them, and in what areas of ON?
thanks,
Chris N S
mike abela replying to a comment from John / March 3, 2013 at 10:41 pm
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Twistees are the greatest!!!!!
bernadette / March 12, 2013 at 06:48 pm
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hello ..i was there few weeks ago i live in london
i tell you the pastizzi are out of this world we love them
and also the qaghaq tal ghasel my favorite..wish that there was
a store like that in london..we miss the Maltese pastizzi
and the gbejniet...wish i know where can i buy e few dozens...

Tony / April 10, 2013 at 06:46 pm
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I live in London I love your pastry especially your strizzi I would love to make some at home is it possible to send me the recipe I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks







Dan / April 23, 2013 at 12:12 am
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I love The Malta bake Shop, and have even referenced them in my YouTube videos. Antoinette is a sweetie, and her kids and husband are great. The whole staff are!
My YouTube channel has Maltese recipes...more to come:
http://www.youtube.com/user/GoranMak/videos
Please watch and subscribe!
Anne / July 9, 2014 at 09:13 am
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I love their breads. I've been treated very impatiently and rude a few times here however which makes me scared to go back.

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