Whether you are craving Italian pastries, cakes or cookies, Pasticceria “La Torre” in Howard Beach has a wide variety to satisfy any sweet tooth. The shop, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in April, also offers holiday favorites such as struffoli, homemade gingerbread houses and panettone.
“It’s the old-fashioned recipes made by hand,” said owner Giovanni Malinconico. “It’s all my dad’s recipes that he brought here from Italy.”
Malinconico’s father, Biagio, opened the bakery in 1986, shortly after immigrating to this country from Naples. Over the years he taught his son the fine art of making Italian pastries.
“My dad is the king,” Malinconico said. “I wish I could be half the man that he is. To see him work is remarkable.”
Malinconico took over the business in 1999, but his father, 62, who is retired, still helps out around the holidays, when the shop is especially busy.
La Torre sells approximately 200 pounds of struffoli, also called “honey balls,” annually at Christmas time. It takes Malinconico and his father four hours to finishing rolling the round sticky-sweet pastries by hand. At La Torre — “the tower” in Italian — the struffoli are baked not fried, as commonly done elsewhere, adding to their light and airy texture, Malinconico said, and sell for $10 a tray.
The bakery is most well known for its cannolis and Italian and American cheesecakes, as well as its rich butter cookies. And while Malinconico is content with the business’ success and longevity, he wants to raise awareness of the store beyond the Howard Beach community.
“My New Year’s resolution is get this quiet little gem known to the world — to get our pastries into the hands of people all over the tri-state area and all over the country,” Malinconico said.
Although he is surrounded by sugary goodies every day and must do frequent tastings to ensure quality, Malinconico said he doesn’t crave the pastries.
“I’ve got a nice big belly from my mom’s pasta and bread,” he said. “I don’t have a sweet tooth. I like bread.”
In celebration of its anniversary and the holidays, La Torre is offering some special deals. Customers placing holiday orders of $50 or more and paying for and picking them up on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day will receive a free tray of struffoli. Other seasonal sales include a homemade gingerbread house for $14.99, a two-pound tray of butter cookies for $17.99 and two large holiday cupcakes for $5.
Pick up a Perugina-brand panettone for $12.99 or a a two-pound Balocco-brand panettone for $11.99. And for the chocoholic, a 28-count tray of Perugina Baci is $14.99 while a 48-count box of Ferrero Rocher is $14.99.
The bakery is open on Christmas Eve from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Christmas Day from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. They will also deliver your holiday orders on those two days, if you have pre-paid.
La Torre is located at 158-12 Cross Bay Blvd. and can be reached at (718) 843-2306. For more information on it’s many delicious products, go online to latorrebakery.com.