Easter Sunday in Malta
Malta’s exciting Risen Christ statue Easter Sunday tradition is still going strong.
A symbol of joy, the run sees a group of men run through the streets carrying a massive statue of the Risen Christ and it is one of Malta’s most beloved Easter traditions.
Several towns took part in the tradition on Sunday. This video, taken by Matthew Farrugia in Senglea, shows a large crowd cheering on a group of runners as they sprint through a street with the statue before raising it high.
Happy Easter everyone!
article credits – Lovin Malta

https://www.facebook.com/LovinMalta/videos/962330915325694 

 

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.

Ainsley’s Taste of Malta

Thank you, Malta & Gozo, for a fabulous culinary journey 😊🇲🇹

A big thank you to you all for watching Ainsley’s Taste of Malta – I hope you enjoyed the series and all the delights that Malta has to offer (I know I did!).

Big love to all the people we met and filmed with – such generous, welcoming people and a joy to work with. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed being part of the show. 😊

All the recipes from Ainsley’s Taste of Malta are up on my website – link in bio. I hope you enjoy trying them at home xx

credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/C3IaNmoIm0L/?igsh=Yzg2bWY0N3hoZ2h4

 

Valletta’s Grand Master’s Palace restored to its former glory

After years of unprecedented logistical and restoration works, the Grand Master’s Palace – a gem in the heart of Valletta that can be considered the cradle of our nation – is once again welcoming visitors. This after the restoration phase of the interior of this historical and architectural site was inaugurated on Friday evening.

The Armoury has taken back its original place of 1605, in the former Parliament Chamber; the Piano Nobile corridors were restored; as was the Uccelliera, where there was the office of the Speaker; and a visitor centre was completed in the area known as Palazzo del Monte and the Orangere (which was the office of the Attorney General) and the place where in the past there was a small orange garden. Moreover, the courtyards of the palace, as well as the State Halls, were also restored.

In total, the restoration project of the Grand Master’s Palace will be executed through an investment of more than €40 million, financed by the Maltese Government with co-financing of 18 million by the European Union as part of the European Regional Development Fund.

In a speech during the inauguration ceremony, the President of Malta George Vella expressed the hope that this evening’s celebration is another chapter leading to a path of renewing knowledge and sustainability of the Maltese cultural heritage, of which this Palace is such an important part.

President Vella recalled that at the beginning of his Presidency he had to relocate his office, including all the staff, to Sant’Anton Palace. “Looking back, I do not regret the sacrifice that my staff and I had to make because over time I recognised the urgency for the restoration of this jewel that had significant damages,” stated President Vella

Referring to his regular visits to the Grand Master’s Palace during the works, the President thanked and saluted all those whose big or small contribution led to the execution of such a big and complicated project.

For his part, Prime Minister Robert Abela, in a speech during the inauguration ceremony, expressed the Government’s desire for this Palace to be more beautiful so that we can ensure that future generations, like our ancestors and ourselves, can enjoy it as well. He recalled his visit in 2020, when the world was facing a pandemic, and that on that day his message to the Heritage Malta management was one of courage, but also a message about the need for more work and investment so that once we overcome that difficult period, the world will find us ready to not only continue with our lives, but to be at the forefront in various fields.

“For us, culture and the protection of national heritage was not an exception. Instead of reducing investment, we increased it. Instead of slowing down, we increased speed. Today we are here in this transformed gem, a beautiful project that we also delivered. A gem among the many in this capital city that we are so proud of. We are dedicating national funds to such projects as the result of wise economic management. Because the economic results we achieve give us the power so that as a country we have the necessary resources to invest in all areas.”

Over forty artists, personalities and children took part in the reopening ceremony of the Grand Master’s Palace with works, some of which commissioned, for this evening.

The Palace will be open every day between 09:00 and 17:00. For more information visit: https://heritagemalta.mt/explore/grand-masters-palace/.

Read the full article here: https://president.gov.mt/en/the-grand-masters-palace-reopens-its-doors-to-visitors-after-an-extensive-restoration-with-an-investment-of-more-than-e40-million/
UNESCO recognises Maltese festas as an Intangible Cultural Heritage

The festa is a community event of religious origin held annually in village parishes across Malta and Gozo. The main festa season in Malta starts towards the end of April and runs until the beginning of October, with multiple events taking place in different villages. Community volunteers prepare the festa throughout the year and the event itself typically lasts a week. On the final day, a statue is carried in a procession led by the clergy and accompanied by members of the parish and marching bands. Festa weeks entail concerts, band marches, firework displays and bell ringing. Typical festa food, such as nougat, is sold from street stalls. The practice is transmitted informally through participation in the preparation and events. For instance, youth learn the stories and songs of the village and its sacred figures and how to participate in the festa by attending community events. Some parishes organise a children’s festa in conjunction with the church, and children carry a smaller statue through the town. Despite its increased secularisation, the festa remains an important part of cultural heritage in Maltese villages, uniting families, outsiders and local communities in a celebration of popular religiosity and local identities.

Five Enchanting Squares In The Maltese Islands

Malta is known for its stunning coastal landscapes, rich history, and charming towns and villages. Among this island nation’s many treasures, its beautiful town and village squares, or “pjazzez”, stand out as vibrant hubs of local life and culture.

Here are five of the most beautiful squares in Malta that you should explore during your visit.

St George’s Square, Valletta
Nestled in the heart of Malta’s capital city, Valletta, St George’s Square is a stunning example of Baroque architecture. It is lined with majestic buildings, including the Grandmaster’s Palace. The entire square exudes a sense of grandeur and history. This renowned square is both aesthetically pleasing and a social hub, as it hosts numerous events and concerts throughout the year including Valletta’s New Year’s Eve party. St George’s square is a perfect place to start your exploration of the capital’s historic streets.

Mesquita Square, Mdina
Known as the “Silent City,” Mdina is a fortified medieval town that transports visitors back in time. This small square is charming and serene, with its cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, and a well in the centre. TV enthusiasts will know this is the spot where several key Game of Thrones scenes were filmed.

Independence Square, Victoria, Gozo
The quaint island of Gozo boasts its own picturesque piazzas. Independence Square, also known as Pjazza Indipendenza, is the heart of Victoria, Gozo’s capital. It’s adorned with a beautiful fountain and surrounded by historic buildings within easy reach, including the stunning Gozo Cathedral. The square is a bustling hub of activity and a great place to soak up Gozo’s unique charm. Get up early, grab a te fit-tazza (tea in a glass) at a local bar and watch the world go by.

Pjazza San Nikola, Siġġiewi
Siġġiewi is a traditional Maltese village known for its agricultural heritage, and Pjazza San Nikola (St Nicholas) is its central square. Quaint houses, a statue of San Nikola and a lovely parish church surround the square. It’s a serene spot to experience the authentic Maltese way of life and take a leisurely stroll through the winding village streets.

St John’s Square, Valletta
Another gem in Valletta is St. John’s Square. It is home to the magnificent St. John’s Co-Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The historical facades and the impressive cathedral make it a must-visit destination for art and history enthusiasts. Inside the cathedral, you’ll find an incredible display of Baroque art and architecture and, of course, Caravaggio’s famous painting of The Beheading of St John the Baptist.

These five piazzas offer a glimpse into Malta’s rich history and culture while providing a tranquil and picturesque setting for visitors to enjoy. Each square has its unique charm, making them essential stops for anyone exploring the islands. You are sure to stumble across many more throughout your stay.

So, whether you’re sipping a coffee in Mdina, admiring the Baroque splendour of Valletta, or traversing the quieter streets of Gozo, Malta’s scenic squares are sure to leave a lasting impression on your journey.

Learn more about one of Malta’s most loved fruits: Bajtar tax-xewk

Bajtar tax-xewk (“prickly pear”) is a seasonal summer fruit that grows all over the Maltese islands. In the past farmers used the plant as a boundary planted near their field walls to keep intruders or other wandering livestock from entering their fields or between boundaries as a wind breaker.

According to many farmers this fruit is best harvested in the morning between August and September. During the peak of summer we can see the plant flowering with different magnificent colours which then would reflect the colour of the fruit.

Prickly pears are not just famous for their various colours but also for their health benefits. It contains magnesium, amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins C and B, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, potassium, and many other nutrients and is thus a good source of a considerable part of the daily need of many vitamins and minerals. Although in the old times it was also used as a fodder to pigs, the fruit is nowadays used for jams, liquors, syrups and also for cosmetics in Sicily.

Is-Suq tal-Belt: A historic covered market at Valletta’s core

Valletta is routinely referred to as a highlight by tourists and foreign expats getting to know the island. The sheer number of architectural gems, rich history and way of life in the capital city is appreciated by locals and foreigners alike.

While there are worries that Valletta is losing some of the rich cultural value it once possessed due to the closure of generations old stores and establishments, certain structures are a sign that refurbishment and renovation that respect the urban context can go a long way towards preserving Malta’s heritage, one being Is-Suq tal-Belt.

Situated right at the heart of the capital, the market, also referred to as the Covered Market, is a market hall that was first constructed in 1861 and is mostly constructed out of iron. Built in a Victorian style, the limestone exterior gives it a fine finish that fits perfectly with the rest of Valletta’s architecture.

Despite Is-Suq tal-Belt’s architectural beauty nowadays, the market and its building site have had quite a turbulent history, having previously been home to a square known as Piazza del Malcantone, which used to be part of a gallows parade of a guilty person, where they would be humiliated and tortured around Valletta, before being hanged in Floriana. Crops and goods were also sold in the square.

Afterwards, a marketplace in the Baroque style was constructed at some point during the rule of the Order of St John, yet this was demolished when the British took over Malta. Following that, plans for a covered market began in 1845, and the building was then constructed between 1859 and 1861, initially designed by Hector Zimelli, and completed by Emanuele Luigi Galizia.

The market then fell victim to bombs during World War Two in 1942, leaving a third of the building destroyed. While it regularly underwent repairs, including the construction of new floors, prompting it to thrive for a few more years, the building still fell into a state of decline.

However, after Valletta’s nomination for European Capital of Culture 2018, Government set out to regenerate a significant part of the capital city, including the market. Arkadia Co. Ltd was granted a 65-year lease of the building in 2016, and after around €14 million in investment, Is-Suq tal-Belt experienced heavy restoration, led by Italian architect Marco Casamonti.

Original elements of the building were preserved and restored, with sections of the building being converted into food markets, restaurants and stalls, leaving the upper level for cultural activities and events. Other parts which were added over the years were dismantled.

The market hall officially reopened to the public on 3rd January 2018, right on cue for Valletta 2018.

The building has a rectangular plan, featuring walls and arches made from limestone. On the other hand, the roof is comprised of cast and wrought iron decked in timber, supported with various iron columns. The basement and ground level of the market were inspired by the Mercado di San Miguel in Madrid, as well as the Boqueria market in Barcelona.

Its restoration has been applauded, however heavy criticism has been leveled against commercial tenants for putting up large signage blocking the building’s beautiful facade, while just last month the Planning Authority rejected plans for outdoor canopies.

Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/is-suq-tal-belt-a-historic-covered-market-at-valletta-s-core
Maltese Nights at Valletta Waterfront

The centre of Valletta turns very quiet when the last office workers and shopkeepers leave for the evening, and the only regular nightlife to speak of are events at the Manoel Theatre and St James Centre, plus a handful of bars.

However, one can take in the scenic Grand Harbour views and relive traditional Malta at the Valletta Waterfront every Thursday evening from 8pm.

The Valletta Waterfront combines food, retail and entertainment within a maritime hub, which for the past years has proved to be a highly popular destination.

For those in search of a relaxing time with good food and entertainment, the Waterfront’s many restaurants and bars cater for different tastes, with dining right by the water’s edge.

The establishments’ indoor dining areas are situated inside the tastefully refurbished, historical stores, originally constructed by Grand Master Pinto in 1752.

Today, ushering in a modern era, the iconic doors have been revived with an artistic impression of colour, representing the storage of goods from days past: blue for fish, green for produce, yellow for wheat and red for wine.

Patrons can go back in time through the Maltese islands’ history and experience traditional folk dancing, falconry displays, the terramaxka – a musical instrument which was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Maltese games, as well as battles between the Knights of St John and the Ottoman Turks, among other activities. The small chapel of the Flight to Egypt by the Holy Family further creates a unique ‘village’ ambience.

Maltese nights will continue every Thursday through to the end of September.

Article credits: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/maltese-nights-at-the-valletta-waterfront.726112
Maltese olive oil Bidni wins platinum award at International Olive Oil competition

Bidni Extra Virgin Olive Oil has won the Platinum Award at the renowned London International Olive Oil Competition, setting a new benchmark for Maltese olive oil on the international stage.

The Bidni olive, a variety endemic to Malta and virtually unknown to the world until two decades ago, was revived through the dedicated efforts of Sammy Cremona and later by the Grima family.

The Bidni olive tree is an early harvest variety, which property naturally protects the olive fruit against fruit fly infestations. The olives, small and concave with a deep purple colour when ripe, yield a distinctive oil with a noticeably peppery taste, owing to the fruit’s high level of polyphenols. The olives are cold-pressed within less than 24 hours of harvest, producing an extra virgin olive oil with an oleic acid percentage considerably lower than standard extra virgin olive oils. Today, the Grima family cultivates around 600 Bidni trees, producing approximately 500 litres of this extra virgin olive oil annually.

The London International Olive Oil Competition is one of the largest and most prestigious olive oil competitions in Europe, making this win a significant achievement for both the Grima family and MCA. As an accolade that sees hundreds if not thousands of competitors annually, the Platinum Award recognises the outstanding quality and distinctiveness of the Bidni Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

“It is of great honour to see the fruit of our work participate at this international event and receive such a prestigious award” says Immanuel Grima, who together with his father Joe cultivates the Bidni olive trees. “While we anticipate an increase in production as our trees mature, our focus will remain on quality and the nurturing of this endemic variety”.

“This award is a great honour and a confirmation of Malta’s potential in producing high-quality gastronomic products,” says Kurt Mifsud, founder of the MCA, which collaborates with the Grima family by managing the Bidni. “Our main aim is to maintain this high-quality level and continue to introduce people to this unique most likely endemic variety through our events and collaborations. In the coming years, we intend to participate in more competitions and we will continue to promote local products and varieties.”

Bidni Extra Virgin Olive Oil is available for purchase at several shops around Malta, including Master Cellars, Chocolate District, Bagel Hole, Il-Lokal, Veg Box, and the MCA website. Bidni also forms part of the Merill Rural Network, an initiative that brings together a number of farmers and artisans from all over the Maltese Islands.

Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/maltese-olive-oil-bidni-wins-platinum-award-at-london-international-olive-oil-competition
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