Easter treats in Malta

With Easter round the corner one can already see the typical Maltese specialties all around the Island in bakeries and shops. The Maltese love spending their Sundays with family around the table in good company and food. Below we shall be taking a look at some of our Easter favorites.

KWAREŻIMAL

Kwareżimal is a traditional Maltese sweet that is prepared throughout Lent. It is a biscuit of sorts finished with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of nuts. The original recipe was made vegan (of course without the addition of honey) as it contained no butter, milk or eggs in the mixture. Present day, some recipes opt for egg whites as it makes the texture lighter and fluffier.

QAGHAQ TAL-APPOSTL

Known in English as ‘Apostle’s Ring Bread’, this a specially crafted bread that is traditionally baked for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. It is found in bakeries and supermarkets throughout the Lenten time and is distinct due to its ringed shape and flavour. It is slightly sweet and topped with sesame seeds and almonds.

KARAMILLI TAL-ĦARRUB

These little treats are specifically made for Good Friday but can be consumed at any time during Lent. They are made from carob and have a hard texture. Karamilli tal-Ħarrub can be found almost anywhere in bakeries and vendors on the streets who sell a selection of traditional Maltese foods.

Nowadays, Karamelli tal-Harrub are often made using brown sugar but you can still find them with carob. They come prepared in square shapes and are eaten in moderation as the sugar content is quite high. They have a slight tang to them as they are also bursting with the flavours of many spices such as cinnamon, aniseed and cloves.

With Easter round the corner one can already see the typical Maltese specialties all around the Island in bakeries and shops. The Maltese love spending their Sundays with family around the table in good company and food. Below we shall be taking a look at some of our Easter favorites.

FIGOLLI

Perhaps everyone’s favourite, figolli is a much-loved Easter treat. They are often shaped into bunnies but are also commonly found in other variations such as easter eggs, butterflies, chickens or hearts to name a few. The dough itself once baked is buttery, slightly crumbly and highly addictive and to literally top it all off, coloured icing is iced atop to not only add colour and a pretty display but to also add a slight sweetness to the figolli. Chocolate and sprinkles are other popular toppings too, should you prefer. If that wasn’t enough to make you want to try a figoli ASAP, they also contain an almond paste filling that adds an even deeper flavour.

Holy Week and Easter in Malta

Typically, Easter celebrations in Malta last a long few days and have a strong religious significance also know as Holy Week.

The celebrations begin the Friday preceding Good Friday when a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows is carried in a procession through the streets of Valletta, the capital, as well as many other small towns and villages. This is the kick off of the Easter celebrations and is a wonderful experience.

Towards the end of Holy Week, the celebrations really kick up a gear on Maundy Thursday. This is when the Last Supper is commemorated and worshippers pay visits to seven ‘Altars of Repose’, all in different churches. ‘Altars of Repose’ are altars where the Communion hosts, which are consecrated during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday are placed, in preparation for Good Friday, and so form a crucial part of the Easter celebrations. The altars are beautifully decorated and offer a real visual treat, as well as the opportunity to reflect on the holiday and celebrations. Then comes Good Friday, a rather sombre affair, seen as a day of penance and is observed through veneration of the cross and processions in different locations, during which scenes from the Passion and Death of Christ are carried out. Although this may seem a gloomy day, it is a crucial part of the whole Easter experience in Malta.

Easter Sunday is a day of huge celebration, thus day starts with the ringing of the bells in churches to celebrate the resurrection. At mid-morning, a statue of the Risen Christ is processioned through the streets and carried triumphantly into the church. This is a day for celebration, fun and another crucial aspect… followed up by many traditions. It is a tradition to present children with chocolate coated Easter Eggs as part of the celebration, along the typical figolla, which is an almond filled pastry in the shape of a rabbit, lamb, heart or fish. Both of these are treats following the fantastic family feast which takes place after 40 days of potential fasting and no sweets.

The Easter feast is the pinnacle of the celebrations and is an occasion for the whole family to get together. Delicacies include kwarezimal, also known as ‘Lenten’ cookies, which are sweet, traditional cakes or biscuits, more common during the period of Lent, but also widely celebrated and enjoyed as an Easter sweet.

Due to the covid-19 restrictions, churches have been shut and no processions or religious ceremonies are being held during Holy Week this year.

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