Lebanese pastry enthusiasts are no strangers to Abla’s pastries. This western Sydney institution has earned a reputation for its world-class Lebanese pastries, and if you’ve ever visited, you’ll understand why.
The company is run by a father-son team: Milad and Charbel Abla. Together, they lead a passionate team that produces over 200 incredible Lebanese specialties, which are distributed worldwide through their Granville store and off-site manufacturing kitchen.
Owner Milad Abla emigrated to Australia from southern Lebanon aged 18, after fleeing the Lebanese civil war. He earned a degree in civil engineering and worked as an engineer for the next decade before pursuing his love of flavors.
“My father has always been passionate about food and on the side, during his studies at university, he worked in the kitchens to make a little pocket money”, says his son Charbel. “Then, once he had saved enough, he decided to do something on his own and opened a Lebanese confectionery.”
For over 35 years, Abla’s Pastries has built a reputation for its range of traditional Lebanese pastries, hand-decorated chocolates, cakes, cookies, gelato, sugar-coated nuts, nougat and more. Freshly made sweets can be bought by the gram and are usually purchased in prepackaged boxes of 500g or 1kg.
“Our recipes and the ingredients we use have always been original,” says Charbel. “The Lebanese chef who originally worked with us to create the recipes has retired, but his son has carried on, so we’re carrying on the traditions.”
Eight varieties of baklava – displayed on the shiny glass counters of Abla’s Pastries – come in shapes such as pyramids, bird’s nests, fingers, diamonds, circles and cigars. They’re made from scratch using the shop’s filo pastry, which is rolled out, loaded with pistachios, cashews, almonds, or walnuts, then topped with sugar syrup.
“Quality is something we pride ourselves on,” says Charbel. “We succeed because of our consistency and our ability to do the little things well, day after day, day after day. »
Milad and Charbel also credit much of the stores’ success to their loyal customers. “Without them, we wouldn’t be special. Their constant support and feedback and purchase of our product made us who we are today. »
When Abla’s Pastries opened its doors in the mid-1980s, the Lebanese community took notice. And people from other cultural backgrounds ended up going there to buy candies in bulk, especially at Easter, Ramadan, Christmas, Diwali and other festive times.
“The Lebanese chef who originally worked with us to create the recipes has retired, but his son has carried on, so we’re carrying on the traditions.”
“Over time, the store has evolved, and our reputation has grown, and our customer base has diversified to a whole range of other people and nationalities rather than just the Lebanese community,” says Charbel.
Abla’s Pastries is now an international name and sells wholesale to major supermarkets and retail stores around the world. Early departures and late finishes combined with hard work and dedication allow the store in Granville to operate 365 days a year, from 8am to 12pm.
“We love what we do not for the financial reward, but for the reward of seeing customer satisfaction and continuing that legacy,” says Charbel.
Milad still owns and operates the business full time with his family, with Charbel being the store manager.
“It’s very difficult to find a kind of relationship that me and my father have,” says Charbel. “We are not just father and son. We are best friends, we work together and we are together in all aspects of life,”
Charbel hopes to carry on her father’s legacy long into the future and share some of his culture with more of Australia’s diverse community – one baklava at a time.
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48-52 Railroad Parade, Granville, (02) 9637 8092
Every day from 8 a.m. to midnight