Holy cannoli: Montreal bakery celebrates 50 years in the making
'We want to say thanks,' says Alati-Caserta's Linda Savoca as bakery celebrates 50 years
If you're in Montreal's Little Italy walking along Dante Street today, you'll be serenaded by live music and be handed a free pizza, cannoli or coffee.
A neighbourhood institution, Alati-Caserta bakery, turns 50 — and the owners are throwing a party to show appreciation for their clients.
"We want to say thanks for the business for the past 50 years," said Linda Savoca, who has been working at the bakery for more than two decades.
"When people walk in and they're ordering a cake or bringing home pastries, they're bringing it home to celebrate something to get together with friends and families. I just love that idea."
"I fell in love with the place right away," Savoca told CBC's Daybreak.
Now a fixture in Little Italy, the shop originally opened in 1968 on St. Viateur and Clarke streets. Back then it was just called Caserta, the name of the Italian province from which founder Vittorio Caldarone was born.
Caldarone and his wife, Maria Di Meo, added "Alati" in the 1970s when they moved to their current location on Dante Street — a spot they purchased from another bakery owner named Mr. Alati.
Cannoli flavour fillings include ricotta, pistachio, tiramisu, limoncello, chocolate and custard. Of course, Alati-Caserta also offer the most traditional filling: ricotta with chocolate chips.
The latest trend includes many custom cakes. According to Savoca, ever since television shows like Cake Boss have emerged, they receive more elaborate and unusual requests, including some marijuana-themed cakes in recent weeks.
Now Savoca and the Caldarone family are gearing up for the approaching holiday season.
The shop stays open on Christmas day to feed the crowds who attend mass across the street at Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense church — and the worshippers know it.
"We can't not open now," said Savoca.
Until then, cannoli are half-price for the entire month of November and people are invited to stop by Sunday.
"We will be serving pizza, cannoli, coffee — everything out on the street."
With files from CBC Daybreak