(WIVB) – A Lockport native is bringing a taste of New York to Portugal.
Avalon Giuliano bakes fresh New York Style cheesecake, bagels, cinnamon buns, and other pastries in her shop, Av’s Pastries & Catering, located in Óbidos, Portugal.
She started her business when the country went into COVID-19 lockdowns.
“After being locked away for months in a house inside an empty castle village I became very bored and lonely,” Giuliano said. “I jumped on an American Ex-pat / Immigrant Facebook group and shared old photos of my pastry work from the now-defunct Tuscarora Inn in Lockport.”
She began getting orders for pastries and sweets, and then started an e-commerce website to ship her items around Portugal.
“The expatriate community is huge in Portugal and they sure do miss good, old-fashioned New York cheesecake, bagels, cinnamon buns, cannolis, carrot cakes and much more,” Giuliano said. “I am very proud to say I have even served the United States Embassy on a few occasions.”
Giuliano says she helps out Obidos ‘ Silver Coast Volunteers organization with baked goods.
“Cooking for the local community for free means more to me than any review, news article or paycheck!” she added. “Giving back to this country that has accepted me is very important.”
Giuliano’s recipes have a long history. She was taught to bake by her mother, Vrndrani Devi, a cookbook author and animal rights activist.
“Since her passing on Christmas a few years back, I have really tried to connect and recreate my great childhood memories through her food,” Giuliano said. “The great part is I get to share my wonderful memories with my clients. I had a man call me to tell me he hadn’t had cookies like that since he was at his grandmother’s back in the 1940s.”
She also credits two women from restaurants she worked at with schooling her in the art of baking – Mollie McDonough, who she worked with at Lockport’s Tuscarora Inn, and Joan DeFlippo from Lockport’s DeFlippo’s.
Giuliano is studying psychology at Southern New Hampshire University and plans to go to medical school after to become a Neuropsychiatrist, helping people with traumatic brain injuries.
She’s also working on opening another bakery location in the Lisbon area of Portugal and is in talks to open a food truck Oregon with her sister, “and possibly a food truck back in WNY as well”.
Honestly, I am hoping that all these bagels pay off my student loans one day! I don’t know what the future holds for me – whatever it is I will welcome it with open arms,” Giuliano. “Having a food truck in WNY would make me so happy to bring back these old school WNY recipes.”
Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2016. See more of her work here.