By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Westborough??”Ten thousand pounds of Italian cookies. That's how many cookies, all made by hand, Gerardo's European Bakery will turn out this holiday season, along with 10,000 cannoli each week, 5,000 pies for Thanksgiving, and cakes, pastries and breads.
Gerardo Sarli has been baking for 35 years and has owned his own company for the past 20 years. Gerardo's Italian Bakery started with its first location in West Boylston, and added the Westborough store three years later.
In October, a brand new store and bakery operation opened at the Westborough spot at the intersection of Routes 9 and 135; the former store next door was torn down.
To celebrate the new store, Sarli named it Gerardo's European Bakery, changing from the Italian name that the Boylston store still uses. The company now has two bakeries to produce its goodies, including homemade breads, all made from scratch.
“With the baking facilities in this building, we can offer a new line of European pastries??”fruit tarts, tortes, lemon bars, mousse and crème brulee,” he said. Pastry chef Long Rocheford is overseeing production there.
Of course the store still features the Italian desserts that made Gerardo's famous, including rum cake, ricotta pie, tiramisu, and biscotti.
About a third of the 3,500-sq.-ft. building is the retail store, with a long, gleaming glass showcase filled with pastries, including all those cannoli and cookies. Customers can also buy freshly-brewed coffee, espresso and cappuccino as well as cold drinks for takeout; the store has no eat-in facilities.
The breakfast pastries available include croissants, Danish, scones, sticky buns, and muffins.? Platters of mini breakfast pastries can be ordered in advance.
For the holiday season, Gerardo's offers seasonal themes to decorate its custom-order cakes. “And cookie trays are a huge holiday business for us,” Sarli said, as people step up their entertaining. Also popular are trays of bite-size desserts such as cheesecakes, cupcakes, tarts, and petit fours.
Sarli urges customers to place special orders for cakes and pies early during the busy holiday season.
The company's other signature business is custom-made wedding cakes.
“We do about 500 weddings a year,” Sarli said.
Brides and grooms meet with Sarli himself to discuss their needs, taste the variety of cakes and fillings available, and design a cake that reflects the theme, colors, and personality of their wedding. Examples of intricately-decorated cakes make up part of the décor at the new store.? Photos of wedding cakes Gerardo's has made are on their website, www.gerardoseuropeanbakery.com.
To make the choice of wedding cake even more special, Sarli gives each couple a complimentary, freshly-baked miniature version of their cake on their first anniversary. No need to freeze cake on the wedding day for that celebration a year later.
Gerardo's European Bakery is located at 232 Turnpike Road (Route 9) in Westborough. It's open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For information or special orders, call 508-366-1845.
Gerardo's Italian Bakery is located at 339 West Boylston St. in West Boylston. It's open Sunday through Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. For information or special orders, call 508-853-3434.
The company's cookies, pastries, and breads are also sold in a Gerardo's Italian Bakery shop inside of the Bolton Orchards store, 125 Still River Road in Bolton.
Editor's Note: The preceding is not an endorsement and is presented for informational purposes only.