A bakery in Little Italy is celebrating a half century of business.

Alati Caserta is a staple on Dante Street – touting a sweet specialty that’s close to home for Italian-Montrealers.

The bakery is known for cannoli, and stands up to the toughest critics.

“The Nonnas are very important,” explained Linda Savoca. “If it passes the test with the Nonnas, you know it’s good.”

Alati Caserta was opened by Marco Caldarone’s parents when he was two, and just a few years later, he was put to work.

“Probably I was six-years-old filling the cannolis,” he said. “I remember filling the shells and eating at the same time.”

According to Caldarone, the secret to the bakery’s longevity is being consistent.

It now has several varieties of cannoli, but the classic still uses the original recipe his parents came up with in 1968.

“Many years ago, I tried to modify the recipe. I was almost disowned from the family,” Caldarone recounted. “It’s like, don’t touch the recipe. Leave it as it is!”

The perfect cannoli, he says, has a shell with bubbles on the outside – crisp enough that the cannoli will break into little pieces at the halfway mark.

Savoca says the shop now sees the children of some of the shop’s original customers.

“They come from all over the city: Lasalle, Terrebonne, and West Island. Sometimes it’s an hour, an hour and a half drive to get cannoli,” Caldarone said.

To celebrate 50 years, the bakery made its own version of a birthday cake – a tower of cannoli.

It’s also selling them at half price for the rest of the month.