Meet Joe Gauci, a Maltese-American man from Tucson, Arizona who’s keeping the Maltese culinary tradition alive!
Gauci started baking pastizzi as an experiment and now sells them across the US. Besides the classic ricotta and pea fillings, Gauci also uses various savoury and sweet fillings.
Saved in his mother’s drawer, who was originally from Tarxien and emigrated with her husband to America, the recipe fell into his hands. Ever since, from his home in Tuscon, Gauci began producing and selling pastizzi all over the country.
Despite having been born in America 56 years ago, Malta carved a place in his heart, and his love for pastizzi introducing him to a whole new passion.
As he shared to TVM, ‘At first they were rocks and I threw away a lot of them, but one time they became light and flaky, and they were delicious, and I had enough to take them to my neighbours, who were retired businessmen and they couldn’t believe it. They said ‘why don’t you do something about this?’
From then on, Gauci bought a new kitchen and began sending his pastizzi orders to every state across the US. ‘There are a lot of Maltese in America yearning for some taste of home, and they didn’t know how to make it.’, he added.
Since he’s from the Southwest, Gauci has even experimented with bacon and hot peppers pastizzi, as well as pumpkin pastizzi and other traditional delicacies like timpana, imqaret and honey rings!