Time to Indulge: Malta Chocolate Festival 2016

During the sovereignty of the knights of St. John, the village of Hamrun was used to store cocoa beans in the area known as tas-Samra.

Today Hamrun hosts the island’s Chocolate Festival and this year this indulgent event will take place on Saturday evening on the 22nd October 2016, in the ‘old’ city centre of Hamrun and in Joseph High Street (Strada Rjali). These areas will be the beating heart of the festival where visitors will undergo the ultimate chocolate experience. Chocolate lovers will find a treasure trove of information, but above all will be pampered, surprised and seduced. Themes range from pleasure and creativity, to passion and gourmet tasting, health and wellness.

Taste & Enjoy
The Hamrun Chocolate Festival will be the festival of sweet sins… The taste sensations that chocolate makers offer at dozens of stands seduce the public and submerge them in an atmosphere of indulgence and pure enjoyment.

Fair chocolate
Consumers are finding it increasingly important to know what route an end product exactly follows. Chocolate is no different. They want to know whether the cocoa beans were processed under fair social and ecological conditions. The Hamrun Chocolate Festival is not only about enjoyment and indulgence but also about fair trade.

Fascinate & discover – Imagination & choco-arte
During live demonstrations top chefs, bakers and chocolate makers let visitors discover chocolate creations and recipes that they can try out themselves. Attention will be paid to the wide variety of ’creative applications’ with chocolate. This year’s some innovative ideas with unique attractions:

Main Attraction
Imagine … a 12-foot model of the Titanic made entirely of chocolate! Imagine no more,

Remember the old Maltese Bus? We’ll bring tradition to the chocolate festival featuring a 5-foot model of the traditional Maltese bus, made of chocolate. A truly magical and nostalgic experience!

Chocolate painting on canvas
Choc tattoo
Chocolate Sculptures
Chocolate Body painting
Chocolate History
Cocoa Painting
Chocolate Centre Piece Competition
Various Duo Bands, Bands and Entertainment

Beauty inside and out
Chocolate is used increasingly in beauty products and for a healthy lifestyle. Chocolate massages, chocolate packs or cocoa therapies are just a few of the treatments that could be presented to the public. Chocolate’s role in a healthy and balanced diet is also given an important place at the fair.

The perfect match
Chocolate with a nice glass of wine, a big chocolate fondue with fruit. The Hamrun Chocolate Festival will show you how chocolate can be deliciously combined with other delicacies.

Chocolate for kids
All the while children can have creative chocolate fun in a special children’s corner where they can paint, have fun and experience chocolate in a different way…

A Frenchman in Gozo

In this 2-minute video, Frenchman Remi Jennequin works with short-film director Federico Chini to give a you tongue-in-cheek perspective of the small Mediterranean island of Gozo.

Jennequin takes it to complaining, perhaps in ways stereotypical to his co-nationals, but ultimately manages to portray a quaint and rather realistic picture of Gozo.

Play the short film and let us know what you think.

Book your Holiday Villa with Swimming Pool in Gozo

Mgarr turns red during Strawberry Festival

The annual strawberry festival has once again attracted hoards of locals and tourists to the quiet farmers’ village of Mgarr. The otherwise calm village square turns red with fresh strawberries and other food and drink items with strawberry as their main ingredient. The red, ripe hand-picked fruit attracts thousands of visitors to taste not just the fresh fruit, but also the tasty pastries, pancakes, waffles, ice-cream, sorbets, milkshakes and the much sought-after delicate strawberry wine.

We also spotted a pizza with strawberries on one of the stalls surrounding the village Church.

Visitors enjoyed their Sunday outing followed by lunch in the square or a picnic in the rural area, close to the gorgeous Gnejna Bay.

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Malta Village Holidays recommends staying at the following properties to explore and enjoy Mgarr and the surroundings:


Recipe: Maltese bread with tomatoes, olives and mint

Hobz Biz-Zejt – Slices of Maltese Bread seasoned with olive oil, fresh tomatoes, olives, capers and Mediterranean herbs make a favourite snack for locals but also for all the visitors who get curious about our cuisine and wish to take back home a taste of our Island.

A loaf of Maltese Bread (or any salted, crusty white bread such as  Casalinga, Ciabatta or Sourdough bread)
4 ripe tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Green Olives
Fresh mint
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Optional Ingredients
Pickled onions
Tinned tuna in oil

1. Drizzle some olive oil onto a plate
2. Slice bread thickly and dip one side of each slice into the oil.
3. Slice tomatoes in half then rub the cut side over the bread until its red.
4. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, topped with sliced olives, capers and fresh mint.

Discover the taste of Malta

Maltese cuisine is the result of a long relationship between the Islanders and the many civilisations who occupied the Maltese Islands over the centuries. This marriage of tastes has given Malta an eclectic mix of Mediterranean cooking. Although the restaurant scene is a mix of speciality restaurants, there are many eateries that offer or specialise in local fare, serving their own versions of specialities.

Traditional Maltese food is rustic and based on the seasons. Look out for Lampuki Pie (fish pie), Rabbit Stew, Braġioli (beef olives), Kapunata, (Maltese version of ratatouille), and widow’s soup, which includes a small round of Ġbejniet (sheep or goat’s cheese). On most food shop counters, you’ll see Bigilla, a thick pate of broad beans with garlic. The snacks that must be tried are ‘ħobż biż-żejt’ (round of bread dipped in olive oil, rubbed with ripe tomatoes and filled with a mix of tuna, onion, garlic, tomatoes and capers) and pastizzi (flaky pastry parcel filled with ricotta or mushy peas).

Bread and fresh produce on displayA trip to the Marsaxlokk fish market on Sunday morning will show you just how varied the fish catch is in Maltese waters. When fish is in abundance, you’ll find Aljotta (fish soup). Depending on the season, you’ll see spnotta (bass), dott (stone fish), cerna (grouper), dentici (dentex), sargu (white bream) and trill (red mullet). swordfish and tuna follow later in the season, around early to late autumn, followed by the famed lampuka, or dolphin fish. Octopus and squid are very often used to make some rich stews and pasta sauces.

Favourite dessert delicacies are kannoli (tube of crispy, fried pastry filled with ricotta), Sicilian-style, semi-freddo desserts (mix of sponge, ice-cream, candied fruits and cream) and Ħelwa tat-Tork (sweet sugary mixture of crushed and whole almonds).

Malta may not be renowned like its larger Mediterranean neighbours for wine production, but Maltese vintages are more than holding their own at international competitions, winning several accolades in France, Italy and further afield. International grape varieties grown on the Islands include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Carignan, Chenin Blanc and Moscato. The indigenous varieties are Ġellewza and Ghirghentina, which are producing some excellent wines of distinct body and flavour.

The main wineries organise guided tours and tastings. Depending on the season, tours cover the entire production, from the initial fermentation through to the ageing process. They also include wine history museums and opportunities to taste and buy a variety of vintages.

A Summer Night in Gozo

The fishing village of Marsalforn is the most popular resort on the island of Gozo, with something for everyone, a beach to relax and ample opportunites for sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling. During the Summer months the village attracts not only tourists on holiday, but also many Gozitans and Maltese who seek this village to relax and unwind.

A popular sight at Marsalforn are the colourful Maltese fishing boats scattered around the bay. The local fisherman are very proud of their boats and you can always find one at the harbour being refurbished or repainted.

The promenade winds its way all around the bay, where until late in the evening people stroll to take in the sights and wonderful views of the sunset. The air is fresh and it is the perfect way to end a hot Summer’s day. The bay is also well equipped with restaurants featuring local cuisine at its very best. Most venues are open air and perfect to enjoy the fresh breeze in the evening whilst sipping a glass of white wine.

On a typical warm Summer evening, take a walk from Marsalforn Bay around the promenade to Xwejni Bay, heading towards Wied il-Ghasri, where along the way you will be able to see scores of salt pans that have been dug out of the soft limestone and used for harvesting sea salt as part of a centuries-old Gozitan tradition.

The Singular Taste of the ‘Gbejna’

One of the staple ingredients in the Maltese cuisine is the traditional ‘Gbejna’ – a small round cheese made from sheep’s milk. The small cheeses – known as Gbejniet – are usually bought right off the shepherd or local village convenience stores, and are seasonal.

The preparation of the cheese requires the milk to take the shape of the cheese hurdle which traditionally was made of dried reeds. These are then dried in a well ventilated area, protected by a special mosquito net.

Ġbejniet are prepared and served in a variety of forms: fresh (friski or tal-ilma), sundried (moxxa, bajda or t’Għawdex), salt cured (maħsula) or peppered (tal-bżar). The fresh variety have a smooth texture and a milky flavour and are kept in their own whey in a similar manner to mozzarella. The sundried variety have a more definite, nutty almost musky taste, and are fairly hard. The peppered variety are covered in crushed black pepper and cured, after which they may be stored in oil or pickled in vinegar. Their sharp taste becomes more piquant the more they age and they also develop a crumbly texture.

Ġbejna is an important element in a number of dishes such as soppa tal-armla. It is often added to pasta dishes or soup to enhance flavour as a pizza topping or the filling for ħobż biż-żejt.

Gozo’s traditional bake at the Maxokk

Visiting the island of Gozo is a must when on Malta. The sister island may be visited in a day, but spending few days on the island will grant you access to the ways of its people, the villages, the sites and also their food.

Gozo, being more rural, offers a exquisite rural cuisine with some typical dishes that are unique to the island. One of these specialties is the Gozo Ftira – a flat-bread baked with a variety of fresh ingredients that at first glance may resemble to a pizza.

Maxokk Bakery is one of the very last few bakeries that still bake the traditional Ftira.  This is a small family-run wood-burning bakery located in the village of Nadur on your way to Ramla Bay. Most locals visiting Gozo have the Maxokk as their must-stop for their lunch or snack.

You may opt for the typical Goat Cheese Ftira or the one with Maltese Sausage as topping. If you prefer fish, there’s Tuna and Anchovies or else a vegeterian Ftira with mushrooms, bell peppers, olives, onions, basil, tomatoes and potatoes.

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[like-gate]Grab a Ftira and some beers/drinks from around the corner and enjoy a sea-side picnic down in Ramla Bay

Try the traditional Goat Cheese or Maltese Sausage varieties.

Book your accommodation at one of our Villas in Nadur



A Traditional Easter in Malta

Malta, being almost entirely Catholic, has strong religious traditions that are mostly evident during Holy Week and Easter.

In this period of the year, even those less devout, get immersed in the local traditions that revolve around the Catholic feast of Easter.

The festivities for Easter start with Carnival, a 3-day fun fair before a lengthy 40-day lent period where devout Christians fast and refrain from eating meat. Following Carnival, the Church celebrates Ash Wednesday as the beginning ceremony for Lent.

On the Friday preceding Good Friday, all the villages around the island are engulfed under the solemn mood to commemorate Our Lady of Sorrows. The village slows down until it comes to an halt in the early evening. With the last rays of sunshine, the statue of Our Lady exits the village Church, followed by a procession around the local streets.

The mood transforms into a joyous one on Palm Sunday as every village celebrates the entrace of Jesus into Jerusalem as He was welcomed by the community. On this day, it is a tradition for the Parish Priest to bless pets and domestic animals on the village square.

The following Thursday, known as Maundy Thursday, the religious community starts preparing for the passing away of Jesus Christ. The whole island is in mourning, lights are out and villagers hang crosses out of their balconies and windows to add to the atmosphere.

On Good Friday the entire island comes to a still, with most of the local people participating in the traditional Good Friday Pageants – a picturesque procession recounting the life of Jesus Christ with actors in costumes and huge statues being carried on shoulders.

On Easter Sunday, the religious community gathers in Churches all over the island to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, usually followed with the traditional running with the statue – a group of men running down the village square with the (heavy) statue of the Risen Lord on their shoulders. The celebration ends at home, with the family around the table savouring a traditional roast lamb.

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The most followed Good Friday Pagants are those in the villages of Zejtun, Mosta and Zebbug.

On Easter Sunday do not miss the running with the statue of the Risen Lord in Isla.

During this period, volunteers from social clubs and religious groups in most villages organise static displays of the Last Supper. Not to be missed

Taste the  Figolli (traditional Easter almond cakes), Prinjolata (traditional Carnival cake) and Kwareżimal (traditional Lent cookie)