Malta Local Custom Tips by Josibezz
Malta Local Customs: 134 reviews and 155 photos
Crowds watching the village fireworks.
Prickly pears grow very well in Malta. They are even making a liquer out of it called "Bajtra" which is what we call prickly pears in Maltese.
If you would like to know how to peel A PRICKLY PEAR have a look at this site:
Food in Malta may not rank as gourmet cuisine, but it is very reasonably priced and there are plenty of places to choose from.
High standards of cuisine were introduced to Malta by the Knights. Food came high on the list of priorities for this supposedly monastic and frugal order. To serve their tastes, chefs were shipped in from abroad, wine flowed in from France and ice was imported from the snowy peak of Mount Etna, on the island of Sicily.
Foreign influences still play a major role in Maltese cuisine. The island’s close proximity to Italy has inevitably determined its favourite dish of pasta; the British left their mark in the form of roast beef, apple pie and fish and chips.
The real local dishes, however, have the unmistakable stamp of the Mediterranean. Essential ingredients are the local herbs and vegetables, such as sun-ripened tomatoes, green peppers, marrows, aubergines and artichokes. Made into bulky Maltese soups, and eaten with the local crusty bread, these make a more than adequate meal.
Maltese bread (hobz) is very crusty on the outside and soft inside. According to a national newspaper survey the average daily consumption is a kilo of bread per person! If you taste the real thing, made by traditional methods (as still used in Qormi) you will probably understand why.
MALTESE BEAN DIP - BIGILLA
The preparation for making 'BIGILLA' actually takes longer than the actual process of cooking it. What you need to buy is the dried bean we call it 'Ful ta' Djerba'.
This type of bean is small, brown and very dry. Soak the beans a day before the cooking.In the meantime change the soaking water quite often.
Once the soaking is complete, drain the beans from their water and rinse under running water. Now boil the beans in a pressure cooker or normal pot. The duration of the boiling varies according to your soaking process as well as your pot. It should take 30 minutes if using a pressure cooker. Should you be boiling in a normal pot than the boiling will take up to 45 -- 50 minutes but if the beans are well soaking this time should be reduced. Once the beans are placed in the pot, just about cover them in water since this water will not be drained after the cooking is over.
Cooking time is complete when the beans appear to start melting and the water would have taken the dark brownish colour. Should you be using a pressure cooker, stick to the exact cooking time given above.
Now blend the beans in a food processor adding salt and pepper to taste. You can also add a small chili pepper to spice up the dish. Add a generous helping of garlic and parsley and whiz the whole thing up. Place the mixture into a tray or plate to cool and spread it out evenly. If the paste seems liquidy don't panic, the excess water will be soaked up once the beans start to cool.
Now chop some fresh garlic and parsley very finely and spread them over the dish. Drizzle a generous helping of olive oil and serve cold. This dish can be stored in the fridge of weeks if kept in an air tight container.
Bigilla can also be made with the large type of dried bean however the smaller ones are used in the original recipe. It is important to buy your dried beans in small amounts since the beans will double in size once soaked. Just as a rough indication, 200gr of dried beans will give you up to 6 portions of dip. Enjoy!
Peeled Maltese Prickly Pears
Prickly Pears is an August fruit favourite by the locals. Named for its pearlike shape and size, this fruit comes from any of several varieties of cactus. Its prickly skin can range in color from green to purplish-red; its soft, porous flesh (scattered with black seeds) from light yellow-green to deep golden. Also called cactus pear, the prickly pear has a melonlike aroma and a sweet but rather bland flavor. It's extremely popular in Central and South America, the Mediterranean countries and southern Africa, and is slowly gaining favor in the United States and England.
Prickly pears are available in during the summer season and the locals can buy them at the markets or from the fruit and vegetables shops. Choose fruit that gives slightly to palm pressure. It should have a deep, even color. Ripen firm prickly pears at room temperature until soft. Store ripe fruit in the refrigerator for up to a week. Prickly pears are usually served cold, peeled and sectioned with the seeds removed.
The best way to enjoy the prickly pear though, is to hold the fruit down with a fork. Using a sharp knife, cut off both ends of the fruit and make incisions lengthwise down the fruit thus making it easy to peel the fruit with your fingers.
For the Maltese, the practice of their religion is as natural as it used to be for a now secularised western world. Churches abound (365 places of worship are maintained on the islands); the church building and parish activities remain at the core of village life; and parish rivalries (not always of the good natured sort) amaze foreigners and delight the Maltese.
From late spring to early autumn is "festa" season. For a few days (and centred on a weekend), each parish celebrates its saint with religious processions, food and fireworks. Here is where the rivalry is most clearly seen. The more spectacular (and costly) the show, the 'better' the parish/the stronger the saint. What could be more obvious?
Irdieden displays are mainly staged on the eve of a particular feast being celebrated. Displays usually start at about 23:00. All shows normally start with a wheel of one meter in diameter. This is a notification to all spectators that the display is about to commence.
Normally, a wheel consists of six drivers tied in sequence to the circumference of the wheel. The wheel also has a few lances fixed to the inside so that while the wheel spins, beautifully colored designs will be formed. One wheel lasts about a minute. After these come the mechanical and mechanized wheels.
In Malta it is an old tradition that fireworks displays accompany our numerous religious feasts all over the island. The festa season kicks off with the feast of St. Publius just after Easter Sunday, and ends with the feast of St. Leonard in mid-September. Firework preparations commence in mid-October when the local temperature starts to drop. In Malta there are about 33 licensed fireworks factories. One of the traditions in fireworks is what is normally known as Catherine Wheels or Irdieden. These type of wheels are very popular and are presently being constructed in large forms. There are Irdieden of nine meters diameter and even larger. These constructions are fixed to wooden masts which are then fitted into holes in the ground of the village square.
No visit to the Islands between May and September would be complete without seeing a village festa in full swing. It's a chance to catch a slice of Island life close up and be part of a tradition that stretches back to the 16th century. Two words define a Maltese village festa: saints and fireworks. The week-long festivities celebrate the parish patron saint. The celebrations themselves end in the grand finale of a firework display. Along the way, there is plenty of brass band music, peeling of bells and street life. The Maltese Islands are well known for their splendid fireworks. At around 10pm, starts the fireworks display, known as the 'giggifogu' a corruption of the Italian 'giochi di fuoco', meaning literally 'fire games'
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