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The Air Malta In-flight magazine

DECEMBER 2016 issue 48 local • LIFESTYLE • food & drink • business • EVENTS


Issue 48



LOCAL p. 10 ..... malta & gozo in numbers Facts and figures about the Maltese Islands.


p. 14 ..... An Island for all seasons Gozo is much more than meets the eye.

p. 25 ..... High-flying dentistry: Missing Molars Dr Jean Paul Demajo offers his expertise.

p. 38 ..... Christmas in Gozo We offer a roundup of the best events and sights of Christmas festivities in Gozo.

p. 52 ..... Exploring the Islands

FOOD & DRINK p. 56 ..... Feasting in the Past Ever wondered what celebrations were like in days gone by?

p. 29 ..... Out and About Who’s been seen and where they’ve been spotted.

p. 30 ..... What’s Happening in Malta A roundup of events happening in Malta and Gozo this month.

p. 61 ..... Tidings of comfort and joy

Fancy discovering the islands? Here’s what to look out for.

p. 68 ..... A happy Christmas in Malta ‘Tis the season of hearty food and good wishes.

This year’s celebrations at the Valletta Waterfront are set to impress.

p. 64 ..... Malta’s Crib tradition

p. 80 ..... Restaurant & bar Guide

p. 62 ..... Historic double-event at the Vatican

There can hardly be a Christmas celebration in Malta without a crib.

Thinking about eating out? Here are this month's picks of top local bars and restaurants.

Malta showcases its Christmastime traditions overseas.


LIFESTYLE p. 18 ..... Maltese Christmas Traditions While Christmas is definitely an international celebration, Malta still retains a number of traditions that are unique.


p. 22 ..... When the Maltese come home There’s no place like home – how to spot an eager Maltese on your flight.

p. 26 ..... Bavarian beers, Christmas Markets and fairy tale castles Munich turns into a winter wonderland each year.

p. 46 .... 10 things Malta wants for Christmas


p. 84 ..... air malta news A round-up of this month's news.

p. 17 ..... Christmas and birthday rolled into one Casino Malta enjoys a double celebration this month.

p. 90 ..... interview Il-Bizzilla talks to Conrad Grima, Cargo Coordiantor.

Dear Santa, this is what’s on our list this year.

p. 45 ..... See clearly without glasses – whatever your age

p. 92 ..... Flight and Company information

p. 72 .... The charm of Maltese villages

We catch up with Andrei Camenzuli, Clinic Manager at the Saint James Hospital Eye Clinic, B’Kara.

p. 94 ..... destination information

In Maltese villages, villagers have mastered he art of enjoying the simple things in life.

p. 76 ..... Ghosts of Christmas Past We speak to people from two generations to find out what Christmas was like during their childhood.

p. 71 ..... Don’t take a holiday from waste management The average Maltese resident generates 0.68kg of waste per day.

All you need to know about flying with Air Malta.

Planning a trip? Take a look at all of Air Malta's flight routes and code-sharing routes here.

p. 96 ..... electronic device information All the info you need with regards to phone, laptop and tablet usage onboard.

w w w. h o q . c o m . m t BECAUSE YOUR HOME M AT T E R S



starting from €290,000

This amazing South facing project will enjoy total privacy having its own private service road that leads into a 3-level underground private carpark. Its location is just over 400 metres from the town centre. All amenities are available, from nearby shopping centres to fine dining, cafés and bars. Trips to the nearby sandy beaches


MELLIEHA Għadira, Golden Sands and Għajn Tuffieha as well as to the 20-minute ferry crossing to Gozo, are all reached within minutes. Each unit is approximately 225sqm and will have 3 double bedrooms, open plan kitchen/ living/dining, terraces with unobstructed views and interconnecting underlying car park.

Call our offices for more info.

Homes of Quality, 211, Tower Road, Sliema Tel: +356 2342 0000 UK Tel: +44 (0) 871 711 8994 Mob: +356 9947 4340 Email:



...taste Malta The Air Malta In-flight magazine

DECEMBER 2016 issue 48 local • LIFESTYLE • food & drink • business • EVENTS

Meet the Team Editorial and Sales Content Factory Executive Editor Dana Bonello

Contributors Air Malta Casino Malta Edward Bonavia Francesca Balzan Helen Raine Marie Benoit Ministry for Gozo Nino di Natale Steve Hili Tina Anastasi Valletta Waterfront Veronica Stivala Victor Paul Borg ON THE Cover Christmas lights in Republic Street Valletta. Photo by Jason Muscat Photography Chris Davies Victor Paul Borg

Business Development AND PROJECT CO-ORDINaTOR Renata Vella Design TBWA\ANG Art Director Jeff Fabri Designer Berthrand K. Pisani

Would you like to be featured on il-Bizzilla? For advertising opportunities and restaurant listings, get in touch with Renata on (+356) 2142 4924 or For anything related to editorial or photography, contact Dana on

The publisher, authors and contributors reserve their rights with regards to copyright. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or copied by any means without the written consent of the publisher. Editorial features and opinions expressed in il-Bizzilla do not necessarily reflect the views of Air Malta, the publisher, or the editorial team. Both Air Malta and the Publisher do not accept responsibility for commercial and advertising content. Although the authors and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information in this magazine was correct at press time, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause. Special thanks to the Malta Tourism Authority, Air Malta and for the provision of photographic material. Printed in Malta by VelPrint Ltd. All magazine rights are reserved by Air Malta PLC.



Aim high and think big

At Betsson our data is a true competitive advantage. This data has become as valuable as our 21 brands themselves. But what do we do next? You’ll know. You’ll use the latest tools, techniques and technology to ensure we’re always improving things for our customers. Our development teams are large, so there’s career progression and learning opportunities, a wealth of projects to work on and people to learn from. We want to hear your voice, your ideas.

It’s time to switch on


From the CEO... Merħba. We welcome you on board this Air Malta flight. It has been an interesting year for all of us at Air Malta. This year we have started operating to Palermo and moved to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. We have also announced the appointment of Network Airline Services as our Total Cargo Management (TCM) service provider, signed a code-share agreement with Czech Airlines, and successfully went through the IATA Operational Safety Audit. We also successfully organised unique experiences on-board like the ‘Party in the Sky’ where two DJs spinned the decks at 39,000 feet on the way to Ibiza and ‘Sky Kids’ - the first ever special in-flight entertainment for young children. Throughout the year we have also launched various great offers, including an innovative rewards scheme giving discounts to our customers if pre-selected events are correctly guessed and an exclusive offer to registered students studying in Malta or abroad offering them extra weight allowances. Above all we have maintained our Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives assisting Inspire, Hospice (Malta), Europa Donna (Malta) and the Malta Community Chest Fund to continue with their sterling work amongst the Maltese community. We are also proud that we have maintained our commitment not to cancel any services irrespective of any incident that impacted airline operations. Yes, we are a small airline, yet we endeavour to always continue offering that little bit extra to our guests. For more information about Air Malta and our flight schedules please visit and www.facebook. com/AirMalta and join our newsletter mailing list to receive offers directly in your inbox. Please do give us feedback about your experience with Air Malta and what we could do better. Visit www.airmalta. com/wearelistening to answer a few short questions and you can get 10% off your next Air Malta flight. It really only takes 2 minutes! Wherever you are flying with us I hope you have a great flight! Thank you for choosing Air Malta. As our welcomed guest we hope to see you abroad another one of our flights soon. In the meantime on behalf of all staff at Air Malta we wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season. Joseph Galea, Acting CEO Air Malta

From the Editor… And as the year draws to an end, I cannot help but look back with a smile. 2016 has been a very challenging year for me, however it has taught me to listen, to think before I speak, and above all, to appreciate every moment. Of course, like most these days, I find myself living at an insanely fast pace. I’m constantly working and at times, find it hard to spend enough quality time with those who matter the most. It is for this reason that I have chosen to dedicate this Christmas issue of il-Bizzilla to those nearest and dearest; to my mother, father, and sister, whose constant support inspires me to carry on; to my friends, who have been through life with me and are still standing by my side; to our business partners, advertisers, and clients who have trusted in our capabilities and make every day’s work worth its while; to the team members of each and every formidable team I collaborate with throughout the year for always teaching me something new; to the staff at Air Malta for their fantastic disposition, and finally, to you dear readers, for being an essential part of this incredible journey. Thank you for keeping the dream alive. Best wishes to you and your loved ones, and of course – happy holidays!


‘The best name in Malta property’


HEAD OFFICE (+356) 21 31 0800 ST.JULIANS (+356) 21 31 0088 VALLETTA (+356) 21 31 0088


Price: €1,395,000 - Ref: FA600401

Price on request - Sole Agents - Ref: DV600032

A magnificent APARTMENT in a prime location in Sliema ■ Spacious accommodation spread over 250m2 ■ Fantastic sea views & a large front terrace ■ Elegant open plan sitting/dining room - ideal for entertaining ■ 4 bedrooms ■ 3 bathrooms (2 en suite) ■ Large fully-fitted kitchen & utility room ■ 2 underlying car spaces (one lock-up) ■ 2 store rooms measuring 40m2 ■ Lift access ■ Set in a block with only one apartment per floor ■ Close to the seafront & all the best restaurants & shops ■ Air-conditioning throughout

Unique DETACHED VILLA perched on the cliffs with commanding sea views of Ramla Bay (voted one of the top 10 beaches in the world by The Telegraph) ■ Built on a plot of 4,000m2 with beautifully landscaped gardens ■ Large swimming pool with terraces & entertaining area ■ Private drive with palm trees ■ Hallway ■ Kitchen/breakfast ■ Living/dining ■ Large sitting room with incredible views ■ 5 bedrooms (all en-suite) ■ Solar panels ■ Large parking area & shaded car-port ■ Water well ■ SOLE AGENTS



Ready to-move-into bright & spacious double-fronted HOUSE OF CHARACTER located in the heart of this sought after village ■ Impressive entrance leading to a beautiful original staircase ■ Living/dining room ■ Fully fitted kitchen with small internal yard ■ Cloakroom & guest toilet ■ Spacious converted cellar with stone vaulted ceilings ■ 2 bedrooms (master has walk-in wardrobe) ■ Bathroom ■ Roof terrace with possible space for a small plunge pool ■ This property has many original features including wooden beams & Maltese floortiles

St.Angelos Mansions - A beautifully finished SEAFRONT APARTMENT enjoying spectacular harbour views of Valletta, Kalkara Bay & the surrounding bastions ▪ Set within this prestigious lifestyle development which also has been granted Special Designatated Area (SDA) status ▪ Close to all the local amenities ▪ Hallway ▪ Sitting / dining room ▪ Fitted kitchen / breakfast ▪ 3 bedrooms ▪ 2 bathrooms ▪ One underlying car space included ▪ Lift access



A stunning 5th floor SEAFRONT APARTMENT located on the prestigious Tower Road in Sliema ▪ Highly sought after location & close to all amenities including the popular promenade ▪ 2 double bedrooms ▪ 2 bathrooms ▪ Separate kitchen / breakfast area with quality appliances ▪ Open-plan living & dining area leading onto a front balcony with magnificent sea views ▪ Car space included in the price

Newly renovated DETACHED VILLA with breath-taking sea views towards Gozo & Comino ▪ Bright living spaces including double reception & dining room ▪ Living room ▪ Sitting room leading out onto spectacular terrace with infinity swimming pool ▪ Fully fitted kitchen ▪ 4 bedrooms (including a guest suite on the ground floor) ▪ 3 bathrooms ▪ Study ▪ Drive & carport ▪ Surrounding gardens ▪ Viewing essential to appreciate the location & views

Price: €330,000 - Ref: HC600097

From €3500 monthly - Ref: FA600409

Price: €450,000 - Ref: FA07548

€3500 monthly - Ref: DV600033

▪ Collect your free copy of our leading Real Estate publication from the exit of the arrival lounge ▪ ▪ The Perry Letting department offers a wide selection of both prime commercial and residential properties for lease ▪

The Maltese Isles

in numbers Passengers carried onboard air malta flights:

It has been said that numbers speak louder than words – we’ve put together a few to give you a better idea of what to expect from our small, idyllic, Mediterranean archipelago.

50,754,711 since 1st April 1974

us s ta r t a b


tonnes of potatoes exported annually

320 Monuments in valletta

flew the equiva len lta a m

f to


e k to

unesco 3 declared world heritage sites






The old maltese currency (lira) was used for

182 years

times to the moon and back

349,386 the maltese drive on the left

14km long/7km wide

The number of licensed vehicles in malta

travel distance to cross the island by car

supporting our customers At Bank of Valletta we are proud to support our business customers to grow locally and internationally, to expand their operations and to finance major projects. We understand that a supporting and long term relationship helps businesses to grow as they continue to invest in the Maltese economy.

your success is our goal

Bonnici Bros. Contractors Limited & MDM Costruzioni Generali s.r.l. T/A BM Tunnel Joint Venture National Flood Relief Projects


Issued by Bank of Valletta p.l.c., 58, Triq San Ĺťakkarija, Il-Belt Valletta VLT 1130



By Kevin Buttigieg

Christmas is the particular time of year when Maltese homes come into their own. We basically all flock towards the home base, whoever that home belongs to. This is typically family time, friends’ time, a time for coming together and enjoying that time to the max. Basically, an excuse to touch base with the people who count in our lives. Being in Malta during this season provides a very unique experience. The Maltese celebrate it in full extravagance, not only because it is the happiest of Christian celebrations, but also because it brings together families, friends, colleagues. It is about shopping, partying, wining and dining. And decorating indoors and out, dressing up to the nines and being all over the place, as frequently and as expansively as possible. There will be Christmas concerts to visit, children’s concerts, Pantomines and Christmas shows, none of which must be missed out on. On such a small island, Christmas rounds to visit parents, grandparents, in-laws and all the extended family become thoroughly possible, all in one day. Handing out gifts and watching to check if you gave the right gift to the right person all becomes that much simpler if grandma decides to take over and prepare a scrumptious family lunch for Christmas day. And inviting all the family, nonetheless, even if it means somebody will get to sit on a stool at table, just because the chairs have run out. Typically, it will be something grandiose, with an abundance of food that the guests will be unable to eat and finish in one sitting. Because we Maltese do not do things by half measures. But, one thing at a time. Let us start looking closely at the very start of this festive period. We do not wait until December to get ready. We prepare ourselves, because, for one thing, gifts must be well thought out and shopped for, even as early as the end of summer sales if need be. And every body gets a gift, from the new baby nephew, to the neighbour across the landing, from the maid to the gardener and the old lady running the local grocery shop. The assigned cooks will start planning their baking and cooking early on, to make sure they stock up on the right ingredients, especially if a bulk purchase must be made. This will explain queues at the supermarkets with shoppers buying 30 packets of tea biscuits, and other such absurd-looking multiple purchases. Typically the shopping bag at this phase of cooking preparations will include those very same tea biscuits, lots of pressed dates, raisins, mixed dried fruits, some bottles stout and plenty of flour, pasta, and the inevitable paper napkins. Since the Maltese have inherited a strong English culinary influence, Christmas menus tend to be slightly overwhelming, and in fact most foreign visitors on a first time ever to Malta will witness Christmas puddings sitting next to traditional

Maltese imqaret (date wraps), treacle rings, roast turkey and Italian styled ravioli, chocolate logs and baked timpana. Indeed we love to eat lavishly, and every self-respecting menu will be prepared with much forethought and care. Apart from the actual menu, one must think of the table decorations, and not only. Houses are decorated up to the nines with the required, tinsel, glitter, fake or real Christmas trees, fairy lights on every window, hundreds of stars, jolly looking elves, angels and of course Christmas Father figurines. As early as October, those who decide to have a nativity crib will see to the cultivation of the ulbiena talmilied. The earlier the seeds are planted, the longer the growth of this plant, slowly and quietly in some dark corner of a hidden cupboard, only seeing light when it needs to be watered. The long tresses are traditional complimentary decorations, naturally grown and especially beautiful when used in abundance around the crib. It is not considered ethical to start decorating too early especially since November is the month devoted to the remembrance of the departed, however many will turn on the fairy lights early, just because they love Christmas so much. And then there is the religious aspect which spills over in the lives of people. There are the children’s processions around villages, carol singing, midnight mass, the altar boy’s message for Christmas. People will tend to shop exorbitantly but also dig deep in their pockets to give to the needy, to share the good times and the good food. Most people will hope the weather turns nippy, which it generally does around Christmas day - a sure sign that winter has truly arrived and the coats will be made good use of. In short, it will be more of an excuse to feel the need of homeliness and being together during this very unique holiday season. If you are in search of your new home in Malta or Gozo, RE/MAX Malta has such a vast range of traditional Maltese homes, that you will be literally spoilt for choice. These are the kinds of Maltese homes that allow the celebration of Christmas in an unparalleled way and RE/MAX can surely find the right home for you and your loved one... ... Just prepare those fairy lights will you?

MALTA: TRADITIONAL LOCAL HOMES For Sale: Townhouse in Zejtun An immaculately presented, distinctive period town house located on the outskirts of town boasting a private manicured tumuli of mature garden also enjoying a pool area. Property comes with extensive use of marble and solid hardwood floors and high quality building materials, making this property spotless and dry. Layout comprises of a large entrance hall with lateral rooms, a large living area, separate dining room, library, study, a most lavish kitchen extending onto the courtyard through a glass conservatory while enjoying the beautiful garden. Upstairs one finds five bedrooms (main with powder room, a massive walk in wardrobe and larger than usual en suite), a large terrace and multiple guest rest rooms.


Ref : 240071057-523

For Sale: Townhouse in Lija Beautiful double fronted TOWNHOUSE, built in the 1800’s, set in the heart of this lovely small village. Modernised and expertly converted to high standards. Upon entrance one finds a lovely arched hall, family room on the right hand side (which may easily be converted into a study/office) an additional formal sitting room, birth room and an open fire place, separate dining room with a wooden staircase leading to an underlying authentic arched cellar, large kitchen/breakfast area & guest toilet. On the first floor one finds the sleeping quarters comprising two double bedrooms, one of which enjoys a large sun terrace overlooking the central courtyard and main bathroom.

Price: €760,000

Ref : 240091005-1891

For Sale: House of character in Kirkop This HOUSE OF CHARACTER retains many traditional features as well being renovated to include other comforts. The property consists of two floors and a roof. Set on the ground floor is a hallway leading onto a kitchen, a dining room, internal yard, a bathroom and the first floor leads onto the back yard with a pool. On the first floor one finds four bedrooms and bathroom. The roof has a washroom and full roof for one to make use of.

Price: €680,000

+356 9966 3322

Ref : 240061049-272


An Island for all Seasons 01

Gozo, Where Christmas comes to Life The island of Gozo, at Christmas time, is a very special place to be. The Christmas celebrations start on the 3rd of December. Every village in Gozo is alight with activity as enthusiastic volunteers decorate village streets and prepare intricate cribs – truly remarkable work that adorns Gozo’s small villages with the warm Christmas spirit. Be there for the illumination of the Christmas lights in Victoria’s main street, choose your favourite activities from a brimming calendar and end the festivities by witnessing the arrival of the three Kings, on the 8th of January 2017. The programme of Gozo’s Christmas festivities includes various spiritual, cultural and fun filled activities for everyone’s delight. Be lulled by the beautiful choir voices, at the first international choir festival that Gozo will host between the 9th and 10th December. The main focus of the Christmas programme continues to be the Bethlehem f ’Għajnsielem Live Nativity Scene which promises to bring the timeless Christmas story to life, for an authentic Christmas experience.

01. Cycling in Gozo/Chris Davies 02. Bethlehem F'Għajnsielem/Għ

For a roundup of all the cultural calendar on offer, take a look at our Facebook page Christmas In Gozo or visit (www. Gozo promises to be the joyful destination you need this Christmas.

Cycling on the Island of Gozo Cycling on the island of Gozo has become increasingly popular with locals and visitors alike. The island has a great deal to offer the cyclist, from rough walled alleyways and off-road tracks to long smooth roads where you can really pick up a good rhythm. Gozo is symbolised by the three hills, and even though the highest point is just 450m, there are a great number of cycling routes offering physical and technical challenges, as well as a brand new cycle route that circumnavigates the island. Mountain biking is at its best in Gozo in the mild winter months from October to May, when temperatures are mild and the island is a lush green carpet of wild flowers and scented herbs. If you don’t mind working up a sweat, however, Gozo welcomes cyclists at any time of year.

Church Street, St Paul’s Bay, Malta 2157 3759 - 9926 6999

MALTA - BUDAPEST Malta: Ix-Xatt ta’ San Ġorġ, Saint Julian’s +356 2759 3301 +356 9999 3301 Hungary: Erzsébet krt. 43-49, 1073, Budapest +36 1 479 4000

Corinthia Hotel St. George’s Bay, Saint Julian’s 2728 3342 - 7728 3342



Christmas and Birthday rolled into one at Casino Malta this month



his month marks the 1 st anniversary of Casino Malta, Malta’s largest and most exciting casino...and it's celebrating its birthday in style. With an event calendar to keep you on your toes throughout, and with its Happy Hour at the bar, offering two for one drinks every Monday to Friday between 6pm and 10pm – you’ll find it hard not to have a great time! At 3000m 2 , Casino Malta is the largest casino on the island and boasts the largest number of gaming tables and slots. It has also successfully developed the gaming experience in Malta, offering a more luxurious but also fun and exciting experience to all those who enter by featuring top quality events, performers and entertainment. Throughout the month of December there will be daily draws including cash prizes, and all draw participants will also automatically enter into the big final draw with large cash prizes which will be given out on the casino's birthday on the 23 rd December. This big birthday bash promises lots of surprises and is definitely not a date to be missed. Whilst focusing on client service, Casino Malta has created a new scene for tourists and locals alike. Although focused on gaming, they have created a venue packed with entertainment open to anyone looking for a different way to spend their day. From live music to the sports bar area, and much more you’ll surely find it can suit you too!

- 3000m2 of tables and slots - 285 slot machines - 2 electronic roulette tables - 29 casino and poker tables - Sports Betting - 2 bars, including iconic 10 meter long ‘Eden Sports Bar’ - Live and interactive lighting - free parking for all players - Free welcome drinks for new visitors - wireless internet - open 24/7 December Event Calendar: Friday


Step&Co band Live



Xs5 band Live



Dj Armand



Larissa & Band live



Alison White – Cabaret Show



Desi Campbell Live



Dj Alessia De Martino



Brian Role - Magician



Carols Live



Desi Campbell Live



Xs5 (before midnight) Dj Armand (after party)

Find Casino Malta in St. George’s Bay, near the InterContinental hotel and opposite the Bowling Centre. For more information, visit or contact us on +356 2371 0555



Maltese Christmas traditions While Christmas is definitely an international celebration, Malta still retains a number of traditions that are unique to its little shores. Veronica Stivala dons her Christmas hat and does some yuletide exploring.


obody can deny that Christmas has become an international celebration. People around the world put up Christmas trees, send Christmas cards with robins and snowdecked houses on them, and children from across the globe wait earnestly for the arrival of Father Christmas. And yet, even though Father Christmas most definitely doesn't forget the children of Malta, there still remain a number of yuletide traditions specific to the island and the Maltese, and which the I proudly keep up year in, year out.

The crib Malta’s rich Catholic background understandably plays a strong part in one of the most important feasts in the Catholic calendar. The feast, which ultimately has its roots in the celebration of the birth of Jesus, is marked by the setting up of different cribs. In addition to a prettily adorned Christmas tree, most households will also set up one of these nativity scenes. At its most basic, the crib comprises statues of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus in a manger. The statues, made out of plastic or wood and, which, depending on your taste, can go on to feature characters and animals such as the Three Kings, an angel, a shepherd and his sheep, and other farm animals. It is also not surprising to find entire



And if that wasn’t enough, some take their creativity quite literally by setting up and participating live cribs, which often even feature a real baby

scenes, with caves, inns, and the countryside constructed out of papiermâché in the homes of people with a creative streak. And if that wasn’t enough, some take their creativity quite literally by setting up and participating live cribs, which often even feature a real baby. A mention must be made of the epic live crib, dare I say 'nativity world', that has become a staple feature in Ghajnsielem in Gozo. Sprawling some 20,000 square metres, the live crib here features some 150 actors who take visitors back in time to a Judea of 2,000 years ago.

younger and more elderly patrons, a lot of these masses are actually held at midnight. A traditional feature of the mass that marks the birth of Jesus is what is called the priedka tat-tifel (the boy’s homily or sermon). Often decked in an altar boy outfit – a long black or brown robe, with a shorter white robe over it – a young boy will recite by rote an entire homily related to the story of the nativity. Apart from being an attraction for churchgoers, it is an honour, of course, for the boy and his family to be chosen to speak in front of the entire congregation.

Christmas eve

Another common tradition associated with midnight mass are the treats that follow. While Christmas nights in Malta are never white, and increasingly less cold, this does not keep the Maltese away from tucking into hearty winter

Christmas Eve is a special time for the Maltese as many flock to midnight mass. While some masses are held a bit earlier in order to accommodate



food such as sugar coated mince pies and mugs of steaming hot chocolate, spicy mulled wine or imbuljuta (for which see below!).

Speaking of which, as if Christmas lunch wasn’t indulgent enough, the Maltese traditional lunch takes things up a notch or 10 with its starter – timpana.

Culinary delights

This is essentially baked macaroni in a pastry case. Think a juicy Bolognesestyle sauce stacked in-between towering layers of penne or macaroni, and all coated in crusty pastry. Be careful, you’ve still got another five courses to go!

Who can talk about Christmas without talking about its culinary treats? While these are now available all year round, the Maltese honey rings, or qagħaq tal-għasel, were originally a treat made only at Christmastime. The sweets come in small or larger versions, but are essentially a mixture of treacle wrapped in a delicious sweet pastry. To be more precise, the dark filling is actually something called qastanija, a by-product of honey. The rings are rather delicious and serve as a welcome counter to the richer flavours of the festive season.

We’ll end on a sweet note, with that drink that is Christmas in a mug: Imbuljuta. This lovely drink is made with cloves, cinnamon, chocolate, and orange and tangerine rinds as ingredients and, of course, chestnuts. The drink is not to everyone’s tastes, but, if you like it, as I do, you may just have to ration yourself an amount lest the next person returns to an empty pot!

as if Christmas lunch wasn’t indulgent enough, the Maltese traditional lunch takes things up a notch or 10 with its starter – timpana

When the Maltese come home There's something special about going home for the holidays. Steve Hili explains.


he Maltese get everywhere. Obviously everyone knows about the massive communities in Australia and Canada. And of course the Maltese have had a large presence in London for years, whilst loads of us work in Brussels and all around the E.U... But that is just the tip of the iceberg.

And there is no place like home.

I have lived in far-flung places before, places like Namibia and Cambodia, and, even then, I was never ‘the only Maltese in the village’. We’re all over the place you see, living this strange hybrid Maltese-foreign existence, embracing local cultures but still yearning for pastizzi.

So excited, that you can spot us a mile off.

Because moving abroad is a ‘thing’ we do. Whether it be to study for a bit, to try to further a career for a couple of years, or to permanently set up a new home, people leave the rock all the time. And of course most Maltese love their new life abroad. Fitting in, getting on, and enjoying it to the max. But no matter how far you roam, Malta is still special. Malta is still home.

Which means that when the Malteser abroad (like me) gets the chance to visit the motherland for a holiday…they get so excited. Extremely excited.

And this, ladies and gents is how you spot a Maltese person going home…

1) We will be at the airport EARLY. The Maltese person going home will have been humming the national anthem for a week, and daydreaming about hanging out on a beach for months even if we are going back in the middle of winter. Malta means friends, family, and fun. It means letting our hair down and enjoying the familiar. And no matter how happy we are in our adopted land, the Malteser coming home cannot wait to get back. So much so that we can generally be found at the airport an average of six hours before our gate is announced,



waving our passports about, and bouncing off the walls whilst singing the Maltese Eurovision entry for that year.

2) We try to eavesdrop on Maltese conversations Being a Maltese ex-pat means that you don't get to speak or listen to the wonderful Maltese language as much as you would like to. And we miss it. Because there are so few of us, our language is an incredible part of who we are; it makes us feel special, like we are part of some secret club. There is absolutely nothing like hearing Maltese being spoken in a shop in the middle of rural France or on the Piccadilly line in London, but whereas when that happens it is wonderful surprise, when you are at the airport, it is different feeling. It is the first taste of home. Hearing the lingo makes it official. And as soon as you hear those first words, (no matter what those words are) you cannot help but start grinning like an idiot.

3) We want food Once on the plane, the happy ex-pats coming home are in such a good mood that we want to talk. Even to complete strangers. We are happy to chat about anything of course, but at some point the conversation HAS to turn to food. Maltese bread, imqaret, qassatat. And it is at this point that the conversation becomes so much more…intense. Because no matter where the ex-pat is living, nothing beats Maltese food. And now that we are almost back, we can almost taste it. Please excuse the slobbering.

4) We want to see When the pilot tells the crew to prepare for landing, we might very well squeal with delight. Like an excitable dog waiting to see his master, we want to see Malta again. Just to make sure that it is there! If we made the mistake of booking an aisle seat, this is the moment where we try to stretch our necks and grab a glimpse of the island. If we are sitting by the window we cannot stop ourselves from gently pressing our face against it and gazing out. Our eyes might even be a bit moist at this point. But that is probably just because of some plane-hayfever or something...

5) We might just clap The plane lands. And we cannot hold it in anymore. Upon landing we are buzzing so much that we might just clap the pilot for a job well done. Even if we don’t actually clap, any eagle-eyed observer might see a little twitch of movement in our hands – a trait passed down from the 80s generation of Maltese flyers. And with that, the Maltese expat is home. Watch as we rush through passport control, collect our luggage, and sprint out of the airport to be welcomed by our families whose first question is always, inevitably ‘Did you miss Malta?’ To which we answer nonchalantly ‘Not really’.



High-Flying Dentistry: Missing Molars to injury these upper over-erupted teeth would on closure of the anterior teeth, take up the space of the missing lower posterior teeth not leaving any space for the dentist to replace the lower missing teeth.

Intra-oral Before and after placing 4implants and 6 posterior teeth


re you one of those patients missing your molars on one or both sides of either your top or bottom jaws‌. or both? If so, how long have you missed out on chewing on your back teeth for? Missing your molars is a very common scenario, which often goes untreated for a very long time. This is mostly due to the fact that, in most individuals, these teeth aren’t visible with the normal aperture of the mouth.

Effects of lack of posterior teeth: 1. Tooth-wear: Biting and having to chew on just the front teeth leads to tooth-wear. Over a long period, these front teeth lose height and appear very smooth as they are being overused. 2. Tooth fracture: These anterior teeth are far weaker than their posterior neighbours, resulting in micro-cracks which may lead to tooth fracture and/ or de-coronation (breaking the crown of the tooth leaving just the roots). 3. Tooth mobility: Teeth are supported in their sockets thanks to the gingival tissue, in particular to the periodontal ligament fibres attaching them to bone. If teeth are under excessive stress then this ligament suffers and, with time, teeth start moving, resulting in tooth loss. This may also cause the teeth to

drift outwards, splaying themselves and increasing the spaces between them. 4. Tooth pain: Overloading of the anterior teeth may result in them dying off, requiring root canal treatments and further prosthetic work. 5. Bone loss: Loss of posterior teeth in either jaw results in bone loss as the bone does not receive a stimulus due to the lack of tooth roots. Over a long period, the volume of bone loss may be very large. This would mean that, if implants are planned, bone grafting would be required, increasing the element of surgery for the patient and complexity for the dentist. 6. Tooth migration: Missing teeth would cause present teeth to drift into the resultant space creating odd contacts on chewing, excessive tooth-wear facets as well as inconvenient food packing around the remaining teeth. Upper teeth often over-erupt into the space of the lower missing teeth due to lacking their antagonist to chew on. Over a number of years these upper molars may completely descend into the space of the lower missing molars causing traumatic biting onto the gum. These upper teeth would also appear very long, exposing their roots reducing their aesthetics. Adding insult

Dr Jean Paul Demajo Dental & Implant Surgeon Trained in London and now working in private practice in Malta.

7. Dento-Facial aesthetics: Cheeks tend to collapse inwards resulting in poorer aesthetics giving rise older looking appearance. 8. Digestive problems: Chewing our food mixed with our saliva is the first stage of digestion. If food is not chewed but gobbled instead, this may result in indigestion and acid build-up. Patients, who lack posterior teeth, also stir away from eating certain foods resulting in a lack of nutritional intake. The list goes on and on. It is never too late to replace your missing posterior dentition both with removable or fixed teeth. The repercussions are serious. Take action now and ask your dentist for advice!

A Case Study (see photos above) A young man has lost his right six posterior teeth - three upper and three lower. This scenario only allows him to chew on his left side overloading his remaining teeth. It was decided to place two upper and two lower implants to replace three teeth in either jaw. His dentition is now fully functional and balanced. He can now chew on both sides.


Bavarian beers, Christmas markets and fairytale castles


hen you think of a holiday in Munich the first thing that comes to mind are stout Germans in lederhosen clutching great tankards of beer at the Oktoberfest. And while this is a great source of amusement – and merriment – for beer lovers and avid travellers alike, there is so much more to this German city than Bavarian beer. With Christmas just around the corner planning a trip to one of the world’s best Christmas Markets is a must.

made from almonds and plums don’t put you into the Christmas spirit then the 30 metre tall Christmas tree lit by 2,500 candles surely will. Gluhwein (German mulled wine), bratwurst, gingerbread, sugared almonds and baked apples will keep you warm through the winter chill.

Christmas market

For a glimpse at the darker side of Christmas, take part in the sinister Krampuslauf, Krampus Run, where the counter to Santa Clause – Krampus – runs through the streets scaring both children and adults.

Any trip to Munich will have to include a visit to the Christekindl Markt, their Christmas market in the heart of the Old Town. The first market was held in 1642, though has seen a surge in popularity since 1972. If the 160 decorated booths selling Bavarian wood, traditional toys, bees’ wax candles and chimney sweep figurines

There are free Christmas concerts on the balcony of the Town Hall and inside a Heavenly Workshop for kids where they can do arts and crafts and bake Christmas cookies.

Marientplatz Marienplatz, or Mary’s Square, is the heart of Munich. Dating back to the 12th century this was where you’d find all


the medieval markets, celebrations and tournaments. Today it is a meeting spot for locals and tourists alike. While you’re there be sure to see the New Town Hall, almost 100 metres tall and elaborately decorated with hundreds of statues, turrets and arches. Be sure to be there at 11am or noon when the 100-year-old carillon in the Glockenspeil – the tower in the New Town Hall – chimes. 32 life-sized figures re-enact historical Bavarian events, with a golden bird that chips three times to mark the end of the show. On the other side of the square, the Old Town Hall which dates back to the 14th century but was rebuilt after it was completely destroyed in the Second World War now houses a toy museum with a collection of unique, historic toys from Europe and the USA. The golden statue of the Virgin Mary on top of the Mariensaule was erected



in 1683 to mark the end of the Swedish invasion after the 30 Years’ War and dominates the centre of the square.

Dachau concentration camp memorial Ten miles north of Munich is Dachau, one of Nazi Germany’s first concentration camps, which would later serve as a model for all camps throughout the Third Reich. Built in 1933, it was operational for 12 years and saw 200,000 people from 30 countries imprisoned there, more than 43,000 of who died in the camp. You can expect to walk the “path of the prisoner", from the iron gate with the cruel inscription Arbeit Macht Frei which translates into work will set you free, to the shunt rooms where prisoners were stripped of their belongings as well as their identities. You will see the original prisoner baths, barracks and the crematorium as well as extensive exhibitions and a monument by Yugoslav artist and holocaust survivor Nandor Glid.

Deutches museum The history of science and technology has a home on an island in the river Isar that runs through Munich’s city centre and sees 1.5 million visitors every year. You can see the first electric dynamo, the first automobile, and the laboratory bench where the atom was first split. Other highlights of the museum include exhibitions on astronomy, transportation, mining, printing, and photography. Kids will also have a great time in this museum. At Kids’ Kingdom they can sit behind the wheel of a real fire engine, fly in the air or play a giant guitar.

Englischer Garten Englischer Garten, the English Garden, is Munich’s answer to Central Park – it’s just bigger. Munich’s green lung is the perfect place to get away from the city without actually leaving the city. Great

for picnics in the summer and walks in the winter, this is the perfect place to get a lungful of fresh air and even some quality local food.

Neuschwanstein Take some time out of your city trip to be drawn into a fairytale. The castle of Neuschwanstein, which was the inspiration behind the Cinderella castle in the Disney world, was the refuge of the shy King Ludwig II. Made king at just 20 years old, King Ludwig II suffered a crushing military defeat just two years into his reign. Instead of facing his disappointments head on, the king immersed himself in a world of fantasy, building a number of castles and culminating in Neuschwanstein on the rugged hilltop with a stunning backdrop of the Alps where he withdrew from public life. Seven weeks after his death, this castle in the sky – at 800m above sea level – was opened to the public and now sees some 1.4 million visitors a year.

Article Credit - Malta Today

Air Malta offers direct flights between Malta and Munich with a current frequency of 8 weekly flights. Visit for more information.



out and about Here's what's been going on, who's been seen, and where they were spotted around Malta last month.

Le Méridien launches its festive season programme

01. General manager Alex Incorvaja together with the hotel’s sales and reservations teams. 02. Paul Fleri Soler, Mr and Mrs Ray Buttigieg, Anna Farrugia, Alex Incorvaja – General Manager 03. Marquita Spiteri – PA to the GM, Alex Incorvaja – General Manager, Warren Zahra, Debbie Zahra

Le Méridien St Julian’s Hotel & Spa, St Julian's



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19th November – 9th December


Malta & Gozo A festival not to be missed, with 17 concerts by world-renowned musicians. Some of the greatest music written for the organ will be performed in chapels, churches, basilicas and cathedrals that showcase some of the Maltese Islands’ most stunning architectural and artistic heritage. The programme kicks off with a performance by the worldrenowned BBC Proms organist and conductor Wayne Marshall on the organ, together with Malta's most outstanding baritone, Joseph Lia. www. maltainternational

2nd December


Le Méridien St Julians Hotel & Spa This event, which is open to all, will feature international artists including: Simon Pink (UK), Carl Consiglio (Malta), Alessio Doveri (Italy), Vania Goshe (Bulgaria), Fallondrin (Sweden) Micko (Serbia), Clemens H. (Austria), Gulja Holland (Malta), Tijana Raskovic (Serbia) and Odltny (France). It will also include resident artists: Stiefnu (Malta), Federico Peltretti (Italy) Mark Mallia (Malta), Sallyanne Morgan (Ireland), Archer Charles (Malta). Live Jazz by Quintessential (Malta) and Violin by Inga Marcel (Lithuania). Fashion will be by Fly the Fly Vintage (Sweden) Jewellery by Dorianne Zammit Cutajar (Malta). It will be curated by Claude Camilleri (Malta). / International Art Collective IV



2ND – 4TH December

3rd – 4th December

Manoel Theatre, Valletta

MFCC, Ta' Qali

This unique event consists of five short acts of diverse musical genres and has been extremely popular since its inception in 1998. Founded by Jonathan Shaw and Nirvana Azzopardi and now in it's 19th edition, Teatru Unplugged is one of Malta’s longest standing annual events. Held within the classical setting of Malta’s national theatre, the Manoel Theatre, the contrast of pop, jazz, rock, folk and other genres being performed unplugged, creates a unique and fast moving event. This year’s performers include KazinSka, Nadine Axisa, Roundhouse Kick, Swing Nuages and Red Electrick. APS Teatru Unplugged is produced by Jon Shaw, with artistic direction of Renzo Spiteri and will be hosted by Jo Caruana.

The Malta Comic Con continues to be the most popular pop culture event on the Island and the biggest platform for Maltese creators to showcase their skills, sell their creations and interact with their fans. The continuous presence of some of the leading names in the comic industry, and up-and-coming creators form all over the world, continues to aid the development of the Maltese comic scene. The Malta Comic Con has also developed a reputation for being one of the most exciting destinations for a comic symposium and, each year, more creators seek to be part of this event. The intimate and friendly atmosphere prevalent at the Malta Comic Con ensures that our visitors can spend quality time with their favorite creators, who are always happy to chat, sign, sketch and create commissioned artwork for their fans. Complementing guests will be a number of up-and-coming creators from overseas, as well as a plethora of talented local creators.



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3rd – 4th December

YOUTH VILLAGE CHRISTMAS MARKET Sta Venera The Youth Village Christmas Market, hosted by Agenzija Zghazagh, is no ordinary event and a market that fits your taste. It will offer everything your heart desires. Adorned with decorations, festive live music, stalls which sell unique and genuine produce by young entrepreneurs, and much more. Do not miss out on the beautiful nativity scene and the magic of the season. Entrance is free.

3rd – 4th December

2016 WORLD CAT SHOW SmartCity Malta, Kalkara Appoximately 80-100 cats from all over the world are expected to attend this show. This is an all breed show, for which the MFGC is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to welcome a nice variety of breeds from all over the world. For this show, MFGC will be host to the Master Ring, the Double Master Ring, the Triple Master Ring, together with WCF Rings. The judges will include Elena Fedorenko (Russia), Marina Zhuravleva (Russia) and Tatyana Chernova (Latvia).

7TH – 11th December

Natalis Notabilis 2016 Sponsored by Bilom Group Rabat Celebrate Christmas in Malta in a magical setting at one of the island's most historical locations. Rabat's historic core shall be transformed into a Christmas wonderland, having over 60 stalls which shall consist of traditional German food such as Bratwurst, warm beverages including Glühwein and various artisan products. These will be complimented with the Maltese traditional Christmas cuisine, including the 'Imbuljuta' (Chestnut pureè/soup) and 'Qagħaq tal-Għasel' (Treacle/honey rings), some of which coming straight from the Franciscan Friary's oven. Iconic buildings within the area shall have their doors open for the public to visit while one must visit the various attractions including the Nativity Trail at the Franciscan Friary's secret garden, Santa Claus' House and traditional Maltese crib making exhibitions. Various buskers shall entertain the public while Christmas Carols and glittering lights shall accompany Malta's largest outdoor Christmas Market.

17th December

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis

Basilica San Paolo Fuori le Mura, Rome

Under the baton of principal conductor Brian Schembri, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra will be traveling to the ancient city of Rome to perform in the stunning Basilica of San Paolo Fuori le Mura. This concert will feature Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, one of his greatest masterpieces, with the full complement of the orchestra, soloists Jacquelyn Wagner, Eva Vogel, Daniel Kirch & Gerd Grochowski and the choir of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.This very special event is free to attend and is being organised by the Culture Directorate within the Ministry for Justice, Culture & Local Government, Malta. To reserve your seat, please contact the Culture Directorate on / +356 25674205.



9th December 2016 – 3rd January


Ghajnsielem, Gozo Bethlehem f' Għajnsielem is an animated nativity village spread over 20,000sqm of land. Bethlehem f'Għajnsielem promises a naturalistic reproduction of the environ of Bethlehem of 2000 years ago. On entrance, a map is given to all visitors to enhance the overall experience. Attractions include the carpenter and blacksmith's dwellings, the bakery, a market selling natural fruits, fresh fish and vegetables, a tavern, a local crafts area and a barn. Each dwelling is inhabited and animated by whole families, to remind everyone that Christmas is a celebration of the family. The tavern offers local food and wine. A picnic area will offer the unique surroundings for a family outing on Sundays while oil lamps will be distributed for those who want to visit Bethlehem f'Għajnsielem by night. Fresh water will be flowing by these structures via a small stream with various water features. The main attraction is certainly the grotto, with baby Jesus in the caring hands of Mary, assisted by Joseph, with a donkey and a cow close by.

11th December

RICHARD CLAYDERMAN – FROM PARIS WITH LOVE Mediterranean Conference Centre Born in Paris, France, Richard Clayderman comes from one of the world’s cradles of music. With recordings of over 1,300 melodies and the creation of new romantic styles, together with a repertoire combining his trademark originals with a mix of classics and pop standards, Clayderman achieved global success with record sales reaching 150 million. Richard Clayderman is also noted by the Guinness Book of World Records as being 'the most successful pianist in the world'. Richard Clayderman will be joined by his string octet, who will be showcasing years of achievement from his massive repertoire for those who enjoy the melodies of good music. www.cmcpromotions

12th & 13th December

16th December



MCC, Valletta This once-in-a-lifetime experience will be spread over two nights, featuring over 80 tracks from a few of the best Italian artists of all time. Both concerts will be hosted by Italian artist and TV personality Enzo Ghinazzi known as 'Pupo'. Fourteen fantastic Italian artists, performing over two nights, under one roof - surely a treat for this coming festive season.

Manoel Theatre, Valletta This recital by internationallyrenowned Maltese soprano, Miriam Gauci, and pianist Michael Laus, resident conductor of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, will start with a selection from Rossini's Serate Musicali, written when the composer, still in his early 40s, decided to retire from writing operas, after the Parisian success of Guillaume Tell. Liszt's settings of three of Petrarch's sonnets is incredible in the way that the composer managed to capture the meaning and colours of Petrarch's words with his then-avant garde harmonies and melodic lines. Wagner wrote the five songs based on poems by Matilde Wesendonk, the wife of one of his patrons, while he was working on Tristan und Isolde. In fact, Wagner himself described two of the songs as studies for Tristan. Together with Siegfried Idyll, the so-called Wesendonk Lieder are his most frequentlyperformed non-operatic compositions. The recital will finish exuberantly with Manuel de Falla's Siete Canciones Populares Españolas, seven songs which are based on colourful and traditional Spanish tunes.

18th December

THOMAS SMITH CHARITY SWIM Sliema December is a time for helping people in need and, through this event, Thomas Smith Group aims to raise as many funds as possible in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund. The location is traditionally off the pier in front of the Plough and Anchor Pub, Sliema. Registration starts at 09.30am, with Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, the President of Malta, expected to launch the Christmas charity swim at 10.30am. Each participant may fill in a registration form prior to the event, highlighting the donation s/he managed to collect. Family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, are urged to help sponsor swimmers in order to help them raise funds. /ThomasSmithChristmas CharitySwim

31st December


Valletta Following the success of the last few years, Malta now boasts of a New Year’s Eve national celebration just like every country. This year the festive atmosphere will be organised throughout much of Valletta. The organisers believe that nothing compares to national celebrations on New Year’s Eve, especially since there is something magical about that night where everyone is in a joyous and festive mood. Their idea is to highlight this magic and festive atmosphere through a series of high-quality entertainment activities at various strategic spots around the capital. Bring the Christmas season and the year to an end with a spectacular finale!



MADE IN MALTA Looking for local products? Then you've come to the right place. By purchasing authentic Maltese products, manufactured by skilled craftsmen using the finest materials, you are contributing towards keeping these skills alive on our Islands, and taking home something truly Maltese.

Charmingly Local Kinnie, Malta’s own favourite soft drink, is a unique tasting bitter sweet soft drink with orange flavouring and aromatic herbs. Kinnie is best enjoyed ‘neat’, with a slice of orange and lots of ice. Highly refreshing, it is also an excellent mixer and goes well with a number of alcoholic drinks and a variety of cocktails. These distinctive characteristics have made Kinnie Malta’s own favourite soft drink, loved by the local population and tourists alike ever since it was launched locally in 1952. Over the years, in keeping with evolving trends in lifestyles and health awareness, a zerocalorie version, Diet Kinnie, was introduced. Other variants in the Kinnie portfolio today include Kinnie Zest – a sugar-free variant with an added touch of orange flavour, and, more recently, Kinnie Vita, a mid-calorie beverage which uses only natural sweeteners and contains just half the sugar and calories of a regular soft drink.

Mediterranean Ceramics When in Malta don’t miss the opportunity to see true craftsmen at work. The artisans at Mediterranean Ceramics will amaze you with their artistry and passion. In their Ta’ Qali studio you can admire the detailed and artistic execution of volcanic stone table-tops and many other useful and decorative pieces. The designs on these unique pieces are alluring – and anything, from table-tops to kitchen counters, lamps, plates and dishes, can be produced to your own dimensions and design. Mediterranean Ceramics have crafted this bespoke tradition into a true art. Visit the Ta’ Qali Crafts Village studio/shop, or the shop at the Valletta Waterfront. Have part of Malta in your home – worldwide delivery is easily available to add a dash of affordable art to your surroundings.

Mdina Glass Head over to Mdina Glass at Ta’ Qali Crafts Village to see the glassmakers, free of charge. While you’re there, check out the wide range of unique, practical and decorative handmade glassware including these brand new Pineapple Candlesticks, ideal for Christmas. Mdina Glass offers a wide range of other festive decorations including handmade baubles, Christmas trees, angels, cribs and more. And while you’re in Malta this Christmas, be sure to pay a visit to the stunning 7 metre Mdina Glass tree at the entrance of Valletta throughout December.

The Kinnie range is now available online at with free home delivery being offered to UK residents. Never has ordering Kinnie been more convenient and user friendly, so place your order now for Malta’s very own favourite soft drink! Go on – Have a Kinnie!

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Christmas in Gozo WORDS AND PHOTOS BY Victor Paul Borg


hristmas in Gozo is singularly focused on Christianity. The sister island is markedly more religiously conservative than Malta, and Christmas traditions remain ubiquitously and manifestly Christian. And that makes Christmas in Gozo unique in its manifestations – if you plan to visit, below is a roundup of the best events and sights of Christmas festivities in Gozo.

Christmas Cribs The making of cribs as a model reconstruction of the nativity of Christ is a traditional craft, and Gozo remains a stronghold for all types of cribs. Modern cribs can be abstract in an artistic sense, reconstructed of unorthodox or unusual materials and populated with biblical figures in liberally artistic rendition. Yet it’s the traditional manifestations of cribs that still predominate: typically built of stones, they make use of moss to mimic


grass and branches of hardy bushes to represent trees, and are populated by clay figures. Some artisans now use more innovative materials – polythene has, in recent years, become popular, fashioned by partial or controlled burning to disfigure every piece of polythene into shape as a building block – and the statues of biblical characters that feature in cribs are also increasingly creative, either carved or moulded, using materials such as wood or clay, and also lately making use of wooden frames with swappable limbs that are then dressed up in cloth. In mechanised cribs, the figures are made to move partially or laterally, and the liveliness of these cribs is further enhanced by multimedia surrounds: the more sophisticated cribs feature background music and running commentary that is synchronised with lights coming on and off in a way that leads the viewer through the story of Jesus’ birth. The best and most numerous cribs open for public viewing are found in the town of Xagħra. The ‘Għaqda Milied fix-Xagħra’ usually publish a map


marking all the cribs open to the public, which you can download from their Facebook page ( ghaqdamiliedxaghra)

Live Cribs A concept that emerged in Italy has now spread to the Maltese Islands, and the largest one is now held in the town of Ghajnsielem in Gozo, where biblical scenes associated with Christmas and traditional artisans are recreated in wooden buildings by actors dressed in period apparel. The focal point is the manger scene in which a real baby is held by his mother (dressed as Mary) and Joseph in a suitably rickety and cave-like barn complete with animals (cows, donkey, sheep). The rest of the reconstructions recreate workshops of traditional craftsmanship – a carpenter’s adobe, a blacksmith, a bakery, a tavern (which serves mulled wine and drinks and features live music), a market (which actually sells vegetables), a weaver (which makes yarns of wool from bulk cotton), and so on. The setup in Ghajnsielem has



become increasingly commercialised and jollified, and it attracts dense crowds. Other smaller live cribs come and go – there has been a good one held in Nadur in recent years, set up in an old house.

Midnight Mass Although every parish church in the Maltese Islands holds a pompous midnight mass on Christmas Eve – the mass usually starts at midnight and goes on for an hour or more – the versions in Gozo are better attended and, the atmosphere in town more solemn. Churches would be packed out with most of Gozo’s able inhabitants, and in the main churches – particularly in Rabat (Citadel and St George’s Square) and Xaghra – midnight mass is a sumptuous and magnificent event involving singing by choir, the burning of incense, participation of the parish’s entire troupe of priests and altar boys,

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and other rituals of a High Mass. The church would be especially decorated, with silverware adorning the altar, and crystal chandeliers flooding the interior with light. Joining the flocks, if not for the mass itself then for the spectacle, would immerse you into the Christmas spirit of Gozo.

Window Décor Many Gozitan households put up lavish Christmas displays behind the windows of their front rooms, or elsewhere on the façade of their home, visible from the streets outside. Displays come in many varieties: some are brash alien imports (such as figures of Santa Klaus or snowman) while others are indigenous and Christian (such as figures of biblical characters associated with Jesus’ birth in a cave). The traditional biblical figures


are charming, and they recreate the nativity scene – a statue of naked Jesus surrounded by a conf luence of figures which usually includes the Madonna, St Joseph, a cow and a donkey, and the Three Kings. These displays give the long and frigid nights of Christmastime a touch of light, warmth and intimacy, setting the atmosphere for the merriment and family festivities over Christmas.

Other Treats and Events: Different towns organise a potpourri of other events and shows. A programme is published by the Ministry of Gozo or the Gozo Culture Office (the programme was yet to be published at the time of writing). Noteworthy events include an excellent annual choir concert inside the Xaghra church, parades with Jesus in the

manger held in various towns, as well as the singing of Christmas carols in the streets of Rabat. Also look out for bazaars held in some parishes where traditional Christmas cakes may be on sale – delectable indigenous cakes include Qagħq tal-Kavatelli, made by working the dough with orange zest and honey, then formed into balls and baked; Xkumvat, which consists of strips of pastry flavoured with anisette, deep fried and then topped with sweets bought from shops; and Torta Tal-Marmurat, a cake made from almonds and chocolate. Confectionaries do not normally stock these cakes in Gozo; with the exception of the Qagħq tal-Għasel (or Honey Rings in English), a loop-shaped cake stuffed with either honey or treacle – this former Christmastime treat has become ubiquitous in confectioneries and even supermarkets all year round.

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See clearly without glasses whatever your age The new Femtolasik treatment is relatively painless and its results may be experienced almost instantly, positioning it at the forefront of sight corrective procedures. Dana Bonello catches up with Andrei Camenzuli, Clinic Manager at the Saint James Hospital Eye Clinic, B’Kara.


n September this year, Saint James Hospital launched its ophthalmic centre of excellence after relocating to new purposely designed and equipped premises in B’Kara.

Over the years, the Eye Clinic has garnered a robust reputation as an industry pioneer, consistently introducing the latest technological advancements to the Maltese islands, with the latest being the Femtolasik laser treatment. “This procedure is one of the most advanced types of laser correction," Andrei explains. “Additionally, its faster than surface treatment, leads to immediate visual recovery with none of the pain associated to its predecessors." Eligible candidates include those over 18 years of age, are myopic from -1.0D up to -10.0D, hyperopic from +1.0D up to +4.0D, or astigmatic from +4.0D up to -4.0D, giving individuals the unique opportunity to see clearly once again without the aid of glasses or contact lenses. Andrei explains how whereas various types of laser treatment majorly lead to the same results, this newer technology is associated with significantly less pain or discomfort as well as almost immediate visual recovery. “Most patients will experience recovering almost 95% of their vision within the first 24 hours. This means that patients are able to resume their daily lives, including attending work, the very next day," he explains. At this point I am mostly intrigued, but cannot help but wonder how safe the procedure actually is. “Lasik is by far the most commonly performed refractive laser procedure worldwide. It

is a very safe and reliable procedure. With the advent of the femtosecond lasers, the creation of the corneal flap has become accurate and safe eliminating certain previously encountered risks when done using manual techniques," he reassures me. This is the only such laser on the Island and is the result of an investment of over EUR 1 million. But of course, the proof is in the pudding. For this reason we’ve asked a past patient to detail her experience, here’s what Marlene Abela, 49 years old, had to say: “I had been reading about laser refractive surgery for the past 6 years or so, when I recently came across the article about the new Femtolasik corrective surgery being carried out at Saint James, I decided to take the plunge and undergo the procedure around two months ago. I am proud to say that today I enjoy perfectly clear and unaided vision. My presenting refraction was Right eye +3 D and Left eye +2D. Interestingly, my vision is hyperopic (I am long sighted), and surgery was unavailable to my condition before the advent of the Femtolasik. I have nothing but praise for my treating doctor, Mr Melvin Gouder and his team. They were exceptional throughout, talking me through the surgery and keeping me at ease during this short procedure. I am the type of person who would generally shudder at the thought of a needle, yet I am proud to have finally mustered the courage to go through with this surgery. If I could do it, then anybody can!"

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10 Things Malta wants for Christmas WORDS BY Tina Anastasi




ear Santa, Apart from a few hiccups, we’ve been good this year. Would it be too much then to ask of you the following for Christmas?

1. Winning The Eurovision The annual Eurovision is a Maltese obsession that always seems to lead to nowhere. And quite frankly, we are sick and tired of shouting at our TV sets every time a country doesn’t give us any points just because we have no real neighbours. Thus, nothing would make us happier (or more smug) than being given the honour of winning the Eurovision and having nowhere to host it #minordetails.

2. National Pastizzi Day So what if Malta is one of the countries with the most public holidays in the European Union? One more won’t hurt. Pastizzi are probably Malta’s most popular traditional savoury snacks and a huge part of our culture. I suggest declaring national pastizzi day somewhere between January and March since nothing terribly exciting falls happens in these months, apart from carnival in Gozo.

3. Less Traffic Or at least, the patience to deal with the uncontrollable road rage that comes with it.

4. Green Spaces We would love a few more trees and places to be antisocial for a while without having to leave the country, that is. Ah, the smell of silence!

5. More Cafés With Lactose-Free Milk Because the struggle is real.

6. Portable Humidity Regulator Sporting afros and having the cold penetrate our bones isn’t our idea of fun.

7. Weather Consistency Sure, we may have 300 days of sunshine a year but for the other 65, that might mean anything ranging from sunny in the morning to thunderstorms in the afternoon and five minutes of ice in the evening. We therefore ask of you, dear bearded old fella’, for weather consistency; so we don’t have to wear three seasons of clothing in one day.

8. Umbrella-And-Dry-Socks Vending Machines For all those times it starts pouring out of the blue and you’ve left your umbrella at home because it was sunny when you left. Or that amazing moment in life when your umbrella turns inside-out because of strong winds and you end up absolutely drenched, down to your socks.

9. Air-Conditioned/Heated Bus Stops This will not only encourage more people to opt for public transport and in turn, alleviate traffic (wish #3), but who wouldn’t like to sit their buttocks on a heated bench while waiting for the blessed bus to arrive? That’s right, absolutely no one.

10. More Parking In Sliema/St Julian’s Driving round and round in circles looking for parking would give the leadong F1 driver carsickness or at best, a strong sense of déjà-vu. Thanks Santa. We promise to qualify in the next football tournament.

Lovin Malta is an online publication celebrating the island of Malta – its people, events, culture and news. It is the go-to source for a taste of real life in Malta. Visit:

CHRISTMAS TIME AT WORK With Christmas just around the corner, it’s getting to that time of the year when talk in the office turns to the inevitable Christmas events and perhaps the plans for next year. We’ve met the HR Team of Tipico today; this is what they have to say.

HR Marketing (Jonathan Pace, Stefan Kamberovic) These events aren’t just about getting everyone together for a jolly! What does a company intake from such activities? Our biggest month for events; December. This month unites us with some of our colleagues from abroad as they come to Malta for our annual Tipico & Partners Conference, the Christmas Party, a number of Corporate Social Responsibility events, Poker tournament and others! This triggers to have better consistency on the vision of the company, showing appreciation for the work done by employees and helping entities who continuously seek for help. Probably, the most hectic but the best two days of the year!

What are your plans for Employer Branding? Version 2.0 for Tipico Careers is on the way! Let’s speak again this time next year, showing you what we’ve been up to!

Talent Acquisition (Manuela Abela, Corrina Galea, Nicole Galea) In order to sustain their plea, talented people seek out opportunities to grow and flock from one organisation to another. In order to meet this environment what does Tipico offer within its structures? One of Tipico’s strengths is definitely our employees and this is why ‘We invest in our People’. Our dynamic recruitment process ensures that we only hire not only the most qualified for the role, but also the best culture fit for the team. On top of that, we also offer competitive salaries and a whole range of benefits as standard, including relocation assistance, health and dental insurance, gym bonuses and many social events throughout the year, both company wide and by department. These are unique selling points for Tipico, making us one of the most sought-after companies to work for within our industry.

HR Business Partner (Eoin O’Toole) The role of an HR Business Partner is slowly being implemented by a number of progressive companies. How can one determine the effectiveness of this role? I would agree that the more progressive companies have moved on from the traditional HR model and now act to provide balanced strategic and operational HR partnering support to employees and management alike. In my opinion the effectiveness of a HR Business Partner can be measured through their ability to act as a creditable advisor to the management teams whilst always remaining close to the heartbeat of the business, the employees. It is also imperative that we are seen to be a Business Catalyst, supporting the company and its employees through change while adding value when appropriate.

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Talent Development (Agnieszka Grabara, Liza Schranz)

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What are the plans for learning and development in the new year?

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personal development are extremely important aspects to keep in mind for the coming year.

Department: Customer Operations Location: St. Julians, Malta

In the new year, the focus will be to increase the amount and quality of internal and external trainings in order to improve technical, as well as soft skills. Talent Development will make use of a variety of new channels to deliver trainings, such as a new HR System and the introduction of micro-learning, which will allow us to adapt

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to the needs of different departments. With

HR Team - Malta

an exchange program already in place, we also

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aim to launch globally to all Tipico locations.

Location: St. Julians, Malta

HR & Payroll Administrator (Ruby Muscat) Christmas is all about joy and gifts. How does Tipico contribute to this believe within its ever growing resource structure? Tipico is a great believer in keeping its employees happy and motivated throughout the year, especially at Christmas time. Since we have many different nationalities working for Tipico, we give extra holidays to all the staff to allow people from abroad to travel back home.

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In addition to this, we always make sure that December is a festive time packed with lots of fun

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activities company wide. From the employee conference, various charity events and two separate

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Christmas parties - these are attended by all our staff globally who reunite in Malta. One thing we always look forward to is the goodie bag full of innovative gifts and of course to reunite as One Team!

Director of HR (Kevin Norville) What makes Tipico a dynamic work environment rather than a company based on sole compensation?

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Department: Marketing Location: St. Julians, Malta

Here at Tipico we invest in our people. The investment takes shapes in many ways; from offices with a view to personalized development plans to fresh fruits and nuts in the office. We sincerely try to make the workspace and work life comfortable and to meet the employees’ needs for professional growth and job satisfaction. At the end of the day, we know happy employees make happy customers and that’s the HR team’s aim.

Find out more about working for Tipico at


A guide t

Maltese dwejra




san lawrenz




victoria kercem munxar sannat


nadur ghajnsielem mgarr





xemxija st paul’s bay

mgarr Dragonara Casino, St. Julian’s, Malta Open 24 hours. For free transport kindly call: (+356) 2138 2362




to the little

e Islands

Portomaso Business Tower, St Julian's

st paul’s island

Visit tipico– for career opportunities





st julians sliema gzira attard

san gwann




Palazzo Homedes, 80 Strait Street, Valletta


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the three cities

qormi rabat



marsascala zejtun




zurrieq birzebbuga



Discovering malta & gozo

Exploring the islands Despite its diminutive size, the Maltese archipelago is bursting with historic sites, idyllic spots, culture and tradition. The Maltese Islands are like nowhere else. Here you’ll find fossil-studded geo formations, prehistoric temples, intriguing diving opportunities, and a richly woven history of remarkable intensity. Here’s a handy guide on what to look out for during your stay.

The Red tower, Mellieħa MALTA Fort St Agatha has taken on its more common alias due to its brightly coloured walls. Built towards the middle of the 17th century, the bastioned watchtower formed the sixth addition to the Lascaris towers.

Sliema Promenade MALTA Ġgantija Temples GOZO Did you know that the Ġgantija Temples are older than the pyramids of Egypt? Explore the Neolithic temple complex found in the village of Xagħra [Sha-rah] in Gozo. The Ġgantija Temples are the earliest example of megalithic temples in Malta.

Chill at one of the many cafés, or take a leisurely stroll along this broad seafront promenade that links the bustling shopping centre of Sliema, to the cosmopolitan nightlife of St Julian's.


Discovering malta & gozo

The Three Cities MAlta Birgu, Bormla and Isla are collectively known as the Three Cities. These cities had their names changed by the Knights of Malta and are, today, known as Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea respectively. Despite their picturesque winding streets, and impressive harbour views, the Three Cities are surprisingly off the tourist radar and offer visitors an authentic opportunity to soak up local life.

The Azure Window, Dwejra GOZO This enormous natural limestone arch is found by the shores of the quaint village of Dwejra [Dewy-rah] in Gozo. Known also for its charming Inland Sea, Dwejra bay is home to one of the most spectacular scuba diving spots in Gozo. We recommend visiting at sunset.

LOWER Barrakka Gardens, valletta MALTA Valletta MALTA Colloquially known as ‘Il-Belt’, Valletta is the capital city of Malta that was built during the rule of the Knights of St John. This baroque city is speckled with neo-classical and modern architecture and has been declared Europe’s Capital of Culture 2018.

Created in 1775, this public garden is one of the most beautiful parks in Valletta and was originally created as a recreational area for the Knights of St John. The garden includes several statues and breathtaking views of the Grand Harbour.


Discovering malta & gozo

Paceville, St Julian's malta The St Julian's nightlife district is heavily populated with nightclubs, bars, pubs and restaurants. It is considered one of Malta’s largest party areas and is popular with locals and tourists alike.

mdina malta Formerly known as Città Notabile, this beautiful medieval walled town served as the island’s capital until 1530. This majorly pedestrian city displays an interesting mix of Baroque and Norman architecture, including several palaces that, today, serve as private homes.

mosta dome malta Dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady, the colloquiallyknown 'Rotunda' is a Roman Catholic church in the centre of Mosta. It is currently the fourth largest unsupported dome in the world, and the third largest in Europe.

Ċittadella GOZO Also known as the Citadel, this small, fortified, recently restored city is found at the heart of Victoria in Gozo. All its fortifications, including the medieval epicentre, are intact. A number of historic buildings are located within its walls making it a definite must-see in Gozo.

Discovering malta & gozo


blue lagoon and santa maria bay comino Take a short boat ride to Malta’s tiniest island, Comino, and enjoy the glittering aquamarine waters of the aptly-called Blue Lagoon, or the secluded Santa Maria bay. Popular with snorkellers and divers, this tiny paradise welcomes a large number of visitors each year.

Blue Grotto, Qrendi Malta Located along the south coast of the island, the Blue Grotto comprises a number of sea caverns that are known for the mesmerising natural display of sunlight and reflections in the water. Daily boat visits to the caves are available throughout the year, weather permitting.

Marsaxlokk Fish Market malta The popular Sunday market in the fishing village of Marsaxlokk [Mar-Sa-Shlock] is a main attraction for both tourists and locals interested in buying fresh fish and seafood caught earlier on that same morning. A number of seafood restaurants are also found here.



Feasting in the past WORDS BY Francesca Balzan


s our thoughts turn to parties and feasts, lavish sit-down dinners and over-abundant Christmas lunches, do we stop to think what celebrations were like in the past? Can they inspire our Christmas tablescapes this year? Utterly biased though I may be, one of my favourite table settings is that of the dining room at Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum in Mdina.


Palazzo Falson is the erstwhile home of the artist, philanthropist and art collector Captain Olof Frederick Gollcher (1889-1962). The building itself is of great historical importance as its origins date to the early 13th century making it one of the oldest homes – and certainly the only one open for public viewing – in Mdina, the ancient capital of Malta. The Museum, now under the management of Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti, is crammed with antiques collected by Gollcher. The collection is wide-ranging and eclectic, and includes everything from antique furniture, to silver, to rugs, to paintings and so much more. All of which makes for a rather lovely setting for a dinner party.




So back to the dining room and what makes this particular table so special? For starters (sorry) the glassware is a very special set specially commissioned by the family to a Venetian firm in the early 20th century. Emblazoned with the family crest of Bruno (important Maltese ancestors of Gollcher) the entire set, numbering around 70 glasses in various sizes for wine, water and other drinks, is reminiscent of Renaissance goblets and decorated with gilding. The table is set with an abundance of silver flatware (forks, knives, spoons), silver plates and most notably some highly important silver objets d’art. These include a beautiful covered jug intended for claret, and wrought in Malta in the Grand Master De Rohan (r. 1775-1797) period, testimony to the skill, taste and refinement in the art of silversmithing in Malta at the time. Coupled with this is a small silver nef (galley) on a stand – this is a decorative piece used at table redolent of the medieval past when these precious miniature galleys were used to hold the salt at table. Antique rugs, family portraits and still lifes surround the table with more opulence. This is truly a feast for the eyes and is just one example of the many period rooms that can be viewed at Palazzo Falson. We won’t be using the table at Palazzo Falson for Christmas lunch, but I might just use it as inspiration for my own table on Christmas day.

In addition to viewing the dining room and touring the house, a temporary exhibition on snuff boxes is presently open and free for viewing at Palazzo Falson.


01. The silver claret jug made by silversmith Gioacchino Lebrun in 18th century Malta 02. The dining room at Palazzo Falson 03. A goblet from the collection of Venetian glasses commissioned by the family

Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum, Villegaignon Street, Mdina Tel No: (+356) 2145 4512 Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10.0017.00hrs (last entry 16.00hrs) Closed Mondays, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Find us on Facebook, Trip Advisor and Instagram

DRAGONARA CASINO, ST. JULIAN’S, MALTA. OPEN 24 HOURS. FOR FREE TRANSPORT KINDLY CALL: (+356) 21382362 Entry Requirements: Maltese must be over 25 years old. Foreign nationals must be over 18 years old to enter the casino and proof of ID/Passport will be required on first visit.




Tidings of Comfort & Joy at Valletta Waterfront


he historic Valletta Waterfront destination, located in the scenic Grand Harbour, combines food, retail and entertainment outlets within a maritime hub. The small chapel of the Flight to Egypt by the Holy Family further creates a unique ‘village’ ambience. As from 3rd December, Valletta Waterfront takes on a Christmas Village feel with a mix of décor, music, food and activities related to this magical time. A Christmas tree - of a height of over 35 feet will be set up in the central part of the promenade. A variety of free activities are planned underneath the tree and along the whole promenade: Christmas bands, children's choirs, cribs, stalls and more. Santa can be found in his workshop and, together with his helpers, will be available for photo opportunities. As throughout the rest of the year, on weekends and public holidays there will be free children's

entertainment. Our little guests can enjoy free activities including: balloon modelling, face painting, crafts, games, colouring-ins, meet and greets with all-time favourite characters, puppet shows, bouncy castles and more. Season’s specials are planned with a baubles’ balancing display, giant gift Tetris, a 'light-up Rudolph’s nose' challenge and a fun candy cane blowing machine. Twelve outlets located along the Valletta Waterfront promenade provide a variety of dining experiences for any type of event or party. From a quick after-office drink to an elaborate meal, Valletta Waterfront has that perfect venue, with a wide variety of menu options that can be customised to one’s taste and budget. Browse the shops for interesting gifts from jewellery to books, handmade ceramics, local glass and more. End the year with a bang and join in the New Year 2017 celebrations: entertainment for the old and young will be provided throughout the night on the 31st, with live bands and roaming children's animation. At the stroke of midnight, there will be an aerial fireworks display coupled with confetti on the Valletta Waterfront promenade, overlooking the historic port and fortifications.

This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the balmy Maltese winter weather – with inside seating and heated outside areas for colder days, whilst joining in with the Christmas cheers and celebrations.

Getting to Valletta Waterfront • Valletta circular bus (133) from the main bus terminal. • Valletta Waterfront features on most hop-on hop-off buses’ routes. You will be dropped off a few metres away. • The Upper Barrakka lift. It is also possible to combine the ticket for the lift with the ferry crossing across the Grand Harbour to or from The Three Cities. • Electric cabs are available from just outside Valletta. • Taxis to the Valletta Waterfront are available to and from your accommodation. • Parking is also convenient. One may park on the quays, starting from €3 flat rate, in the Atrium parking located in the middle of the promenade, or free of charge on the road itself. • Berthing space for your boat is available at the Laguna Marina on request.

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witch on any Italian television station at Christmastime and you will find that one of the most frequent and atmospheric shots features St Peter’s Square, with the basilica as a backdrop and a life-size crib in the foreground next to the Vatican obelisk. As most of you will know, each year an Italian Dioceses produces a new crib to be exhibited in this instantlyrecognisable space. Established by Saint Pope John Paul II in 1982 this tradition will see an interesting development this year since, for the first time, the Vatican City State will be collaborating on this project with a foreign country. I am delighted to report that this Christmas the crib will be from Malta! Following a series of positive talks between Government, the local Curia, the Vatican Secretariat of State and the Governorate of Vatican City State, the Culture Directorate, in collaboration with Heritage Malta, and with the participation of the Archdiocese of Malta and the Office of the Principal Permanent Secretary (OPM) published a call for the design and build of an artistic crib. The call specified that the structure of the crib was to take due consideration of Maltese cultural landscapes and their indigenous characteristics, including vernacular architecture and traditional crib figures as well as local flora and fauna. Preference would be given to natural materials and indigenous manufacturing techniques, including papier mâché. The works submitted were awarded points according to established criteria and after a rigorous selection process, the work of Manwel Grech from Gozo was chosen. As specified in the call, results were transmitted to the Vatican who confirmed the choice made by the Evaluation Committee appointed by the Minister responsible for Culture. The local evaluation process was managed by Government in collaboration with the Maltese Curia. The chosen work will be assembled in St Peter’s Square during the first week

01. Manuel Grech/Joe Grech 02. Brian Schembri 02

of December and will be inaugurated in a traditional ceremony organised by the Events Coordination of the Governorate of Vatican City State on the 9 December. The crib will remain in place until the 8th of January, after which it will be brought back to Malta for eventual exhibition in a public space during subsequent Christmas periods. In order to celebrate this special collaboration between Malta and the Vatican Government, in agreement with the local Curia, is organising a concert of sacred music on Saturday, 17 December 2016 at 8pm at the Papal Basilica of San Paolo Fuori le Mura in Rome. The concert will feature Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Mass in D major (Op. 123), better known as Missa Solemnis, performed by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of acclaimed conductor Brian Schembri. The National Orchestra shall be joined by four world-famous soloists: soprano Jacquelyn Wagner; alto Eva Vogel; Tenor Daniel Kirch and Bass Gerd Grochowski, as well as by one of Italy’s best choirs, the Coro dell’ Accademia di Santa Cecilia. Entrance by the general public to this concert for which the Holy See’s highest dignitaries, together with Maltese and Italian high officials will be invited will be free. Attendance to the concert by the vulnerable sectors of Roman society is also being encouraged

through collaboration with the Holy See and Caritas Roma. Chosen after discussions with the Holy See, the Missa Solemnis has a direct relevance to present times. In fact, at its heart, Beethoven conceived of this work as an expression of humanity, the Divine and nature, also reflecting our fear of war and our longing for internal, as well as external, peace. In a world ravaged by conflict, this programme aims to highlight the essential role of music in conflict prevention, peace building and reconciliation amongst people of different backgrounds, beliefs and cultures. This monumental work shall also, undoubtedly, draw attention to the skills of our National Orchestra which has developed into one of Malta’s strongest cultural ambassadors and whose work is garnering praises from international reviewers. To quote, “As national assets go, the Malta Philharmonic is a jewel in the crown. Between Brian Schembri, their charismatic principal conductor and artistic director, and Sigmund Mifsud, their no-holds-barred executive chairman, a man who turns dreams into reality, they’re an orchestra that believes nothing is impossible." [Ateş Orga – 2015] Both the process related to the crib, as well as the concert’s production, are entrusted to the Culture Directorate, headed by Catherine Tabone.



Married in Malta on 5 September 2016

Hannah & Matt


ur picturesque idea of an alfresco wedding in the sunshine at a unique venue became a reality this summer on the beautiful island of Malta. Sarah Young and her team, together with her high quality suppliers brought our wedding design to life creating a magical day for us and our guests. "From our initial enquiry, Sarah Young and her team were a pleasure to deal with, being available to answer questions, discuss ideas and give honest guidance around the clock. "On meeting Sarah, we were impressed by her professionalism and attention to detail. We felt confident that she could make anything possible for us and she shared the passion for our special day. "Our wedding ceremony was held in romantic baroque gardens, with an alfresco reception held on a balcony overlooking the sea. Sarah and her team went out of their way to ensure the day went to plan, no small detail was missed. "The majority of our guests stayed in Malta for at least a week, they enjoyed exploring the historic sites, fabulous restaurants and enchanting blue seas. "Sarah and her team exceeded our expectations and created an exclusive fairytale wedding which we and our families will never forget."



T Malta’s crib tradition WORDS BY Edward Bonavia

hinking of the Christmas crib (presepju) takes me down memory lane. It brings back childhood recollections. I remember when, as a young boy, I would accompany Guzeppa, my grandparents’ helper from Siggiewi, to a furnace in her street where she used to live to bring gargazza known as slang to our house for crib building. Together with her and the rest of the family we would build the crib (presepju) on one of the tables we had in our house in Valletta. The Siggiewi family who had this furnace, which in actual fact was used for the production of bread, used to be very willing to give us the material for the crib for free. Kelinu (Nicholas in Maltese) the father of the Siggiewi family, would always encourage us to build nice cribs and remember the true spirit of the festive season of Christmas. Maltese cribs (presepji) are indeed part of our local culture. You cannot visit our beautiful islands during the Christmas

season and not visit one or two exhibition spaces where these cribs are displayed. Most of these cribs are handmade and require a lot of dedication and artistic precision to make them while some others are even life-size cribs. If I were to suggest an example of a lifesized crib of a certain standing, I would without hesitation, go for “Bethlehem f ’Ghajnsielem" which is held in Ghajnsielem in Gozo during December. You will be able to see for yourself how the place is transformed into a nativity village with volunteers reconstructing this nativity story. A perfect Christmas atmosphere for anyone willing to taste a re-enactment of the story of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today visiting cribs is very popular. Many Maltese enthusiasts work for months creating their own crib to exhibit in their home or at an exhibition or to showcase in local society activities. I must say, some are indeed very artistic



Back at home, our crib was made with simple materials, such as a wood base, chicken wire to hold the structure and covered with papier-mâché made with floor glue

and one has to be gifted and creative to make them so elaborate. Even at school, many children are taught through craft lessons how to make cribs and other Christmas decorations. So, say, some five weeks before Christmas, children prepare flat containers with cotton buds and sow wheat (qamh), vetch (gurbiena) and canary seed (skalora) covered with soil or cotton, which they leave in dark corners until nicely grown to decorate in front of the crib. Back at home, our crib was made with simple materials, such as a wood base, chicken wire to hold the structure and covered with papier-mâché made with floor glue. We would then let the crib dry for days before painting it with bright powder colour. This used to be my father’s job and he, who would always try to include Jerusalem city as the back scenery, including various caves, valleys, hills with waterfalls and streams as additional features. Our crib would in no way compare with the first nativity scene decorated with expensive figures from Sicily. As children, we would fork out some money (extracted from the pocket money given to us weekly by our grandmother) buy the main biblical characters; Baby Jesus in a cradle ( fil-maxtura) placed between Our Lady and St Joseph, with the donkey and a cow placed on either side at the back of the cave. The angels, the shepherds with their flock, and the sleeper figure (ir-rieqed) were bought for us by Guzeppa our helper , who loved Christmas traditions to bits. By today’s standards, our crib was not that elaborate or detailed. Ours, for example, would not feature mechanical parts and moving figurines. Talking about figurines, the first artistic ones were rather expensive and beyond the ordinary man’s reach. So, necessity being the mother of invention, one devised one’s own methods of making “pasturi" using clay, shaping what looked more often than not very rugged figures, only ready to be painted to define the face, hands and clothes. Only the more enterprising, yet still not that talented, would seek to create plaster moulds into which soft earth clay was pressed to produce figurines.


Regretfully, by the early end of the mid20th century, cribs were somewhat less popular and thought of as being oldfashioned. It had to be Saint George Preca, Malta’s first canonised saint who founded a society for the instruction of religious doctrine which itself started building hundreds of cribs for the children that attended first Holy Communion classes at their centres in every village. This helped , in no small measure, to revive the tradition of the crib in the majority of Maltese households. Although the idea of the crib (presepju) is not a purely Maltese tradition, as it is spread all over Europe if not the world, over the years the Maltese crib has developed its distinctive features with families giving it their personal touch and exhibiting it in their homes or even in windows. At Christmas time, churches are embellished with lights and


nativity cribs. During the year, even when Christmas is still ‘far away’, a recognised group of crib enthusiasts get together to discuss various aspects of the crib, listen to lectures about its history in Malta and abroad, watch demonstrations on crib building, and hold an exhibition of works by their members. I myself did visit one of these exhibitions in St Francis Church, Republic Street, Valletta, and was more than impressed. On a final note, today I do not set up my crib any longer. Times have changed. Perhaps I’m too snowed under with work. Getting down to building a crib is too laborious a task. Actually, I should be ashamed of myself in this regard. I wonder what the cribenthusiast Guseppa would say today if she knew that, today, I much prefer visiting a crib exhibition rather than building one myself.




SLIEMA €1,550,000


Ý Forming part of the prestigious development, Tigne Point Ý Spread over 177 sqm Ý Entrance hall Ý Fully equipped Kitchen including Siemens appliances Ý Living / dining area leading onto a spacious front terrace with sea views Ý Two bedrooms Ý Two bathrooms (one ensuite) Ý 2 parking spaces Ý Highly finished including parquet / marble flooring, intelligent lighting, motorised blinds.


Ý Located in Senglea , one of the Three Cities Ý Magnificent 16th Century Palazzo Ý Floor area 477 sqm Ý Two separate entrances Ý Wide Hallway Ý Imposing staircase Ý Cellar Ý Ideal as a boutique hotel Ý Unconverted.

ST.JULIAN’S €877,000


Ý Within the exclusive and sought after Portomaso development Ý Spread over 150sqm Ý Kitchen / Living / Dining Area leading onto a large front terrace with magnificent marina / open sea views Ý Three double bedrooms Ý Two bathrooms Ý Utility room Ý A car space Ý Fully furnished.


MELLIEHA €1,000,000


Ý Situated in the sought after residential area of Santa Maria Estate Ý South facing Ý Built on a plot of 500sqm Ý Living room Ý Kitchen leading onto pool & sundeck area Ý Four bedrooms Ý Four bathrooms Ý Two box rooms Ý 5 car garage Ý Fully furnished.




Ý Situated in the heart of Sliema Ý Unique 400 sqm duplex penthouse Ý Kitchen / living / dining area Ý Four bedrooms Ý Three bathrooms Ý Pool with surrounding decking / lounge area enjoying spectacular grand harbor views Ý Highly finished and fully furnished.


48, Erin Serracino Inglott Street, Iklin, Malta ¨ (+356) 2258 4000 ċ (+356) 9999 9983




SENGLEA €475,000





Ý Located 5 minutes away from St Julian’s promenade Ý Brand new, highly finished & fully furnished Ý Spacious kitchen / living / dining area leading onto a front balcony with distant sea views Ý Three bedrooms Ý Two bathrooms Ý Optional garage available.


65, St George's Road, Spinola Bay, St Julian’s, Malta ¨ (+356) 2258 4010 ċ (+356) 9999 9983



A Happy Christmas in Malta WORDS BY Nino di Natale


f you have decided to leave hearth and home and fly out to a foreign land for Christmas then there are few places that can beat Malta. A staunch Catholic country with century old traditions coupled with the more recent British influence most of everything you will find in in both Nordic and Latin countries you will find here, bar the snow.

The religious side of Christmas, which is after all what it is all about, is still very evident and full of enthusiasm, especially in the villages far away from the the hotel and commercial scenes of modern Malta. Christmas Eve processions with the Baby Jesus are held in most villages as boys carry the Statue through the streets whilst the local brass band follows playing jovial Christmas carols Midnight Mass in one of the Cathedrals of Mdina or Valletta is a beautiful experience , a feast for the eyes, a delight to the ears a feeling of happiness and love bring warmth to the soul. The churches welcome all as long as one is prudently dressed, then again the evenings are chilly. The other side of the Reformation, St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Valletta has a resident choir which excels itself year on year with a magnificent carol concert which is usually held each Sunday before Christmas.



The chances of a warm, dry and sunny Christmas are high indeed – I am touching wood as the English would, as I say this, with my first and fourth fingers in a horn-like sign in the Italian tradition – and this is of course what adds warmth and splendour to one’s holiday. On Christmas Day the majority of Maltese spend the day with family, meeting up at the matrimonial home or at one of the brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles, where all participate in preparing enough food for a Grand Master’s banquet, tables burgeoning with so many dishes all competing for pride of place. Many restaurants close for the day. If I were visiting on Christmas day I would certainly head out for the countryside maybe up towards Buskett, the little wood outside Rabat then on to Dingli cliffs for an unforgettable walk with truly breath taking views over the sea to the smallest of the archipelago’s islands Filfla. Pick up a snack in Rabat and while you’re at it pop into one of the band clubs there at around noon which will be buzzing with locals all falling over each other to buy rounds of whisky and beer with glasses filling the long bar counters already crowded with plates of Mize’, little nibbles ranging from



beans with garlic to stewed snails. Band club bar atmosphere takes some beating especially on a festive occasion.



01. Ftira is baked in a traditional wood burning oven 02. Timpana – A traditional Christmas dish 03. Maltese oranges are considered to be amongst the best and abundant during December 04. Gululu on the water’s edge in pretty Spinola Bay

Christmas food in Malta is influenced by our Sicilian cousins 60 miles to the north as much as our British colonisers who occupied the islands for close on 170 years. This means that you will find Timpana – the most luxurious of pasta dishes en croute - and exquisite together with almond sweets,Turkey and Christmas pudding. Another excellent option is fish, weather permitting. Being so close to the sea and eating fish is a good omen to seeing in the New Year. Some restaurants like Gululu, the casual Maltese diner in St. Julian’s cook up some typical dishes during this period. Located by the water’s edge in pretty Spinola Bay on fine days one can bask in the winter sun until sunset enjoying various specialities like sfineg tal-bakkaljaw (salt cod fritters), zaqq tal-fenek (rabbit belly braised in wine and garlic) or a crisp ftira overflowing with olives, capers and melted goat’s cheese. Il-Milied it-tajjeb lil kulħadd – a very Happy Christmas to all!

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Don’t take a holiday from waste management


he average Maltese resident generates 0.68kg of waste per day while a tourist is likely to produce 1.25kg per day (NSO, 2009). Generating twice the amount per capita, the tourism and hospitality industry, while a major player in and contributor to the Maltese economy, is also a considerable waste generator. A good number of 5 and 4 star hotels have taken onboard sustainable management practices. The ECO Certification Label administered by the Malta Tourism authority requires that: •

• •

Waste is measured and mechanisms are in place to reduce it; where reduction is not feasible waste disposal has to be carried out through a licensed waste contractor. A waste separation and management scheme for recyclable wastes is in place (minimum of 3 of the following: glass, plastic, paper, metal, organic waste). Batteries and waste oils are recycled in accordance with current environmental legislation. The hotel is guaranteeing the final destination of goods with CFC or similar in accordance with current environmental legislation. A licensed waste contractor is used to dispose of hazardous waste. The hotel is minimising its use of disposed and consumable goods

This national scheme aimed at ensuring the environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural sustainability of the hospitality industry in the Maltese Islands, was launched by the Malta Tourism Authority in 2002 and has been recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Third party audits are carried out every two years. For a full list of hotels which are eco-certified, visit

Going the extra mile Building on the practices which are mandatory for Eco Certification, the more keen operators are embarking on additional waste related initiatives. One hotel, for instance, separates its hazardous waste and compresses all cardboard in preparation for recycling and export. Water dispensers and waste separation receptacles are to be found everywhere, and are accessible by both employees and guests. Another establishment which takes its responsibility as a producer of waste seriously has adopted minimizing waste as part of its mission statement. The hotel doesn't stop at separating glass, paper, metal, plastic and batteries but provides waste separation containers for hazardous waste, organic waste and by products such as edible oil. The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) has also been very proactive in driving the philosophy that waste is to no-one’s benefit. Through its Environmental and Sustainability SubCommittee it has spearheaded various initiatives over the years to bring together hotels and the sharing of best practices. Such sustainable approaches are beneficial to all and should serve as inspiration for

other entities to introduce better waste practices in their establishments. Green initiatives are recognized by various local and international bodies and can add a competitive edge to the product offering.

Do Your Bit Whilst in Malta, make sure that you subscribe to the waste management policy of the hotel where you are staying. If you have opted for self-catering accommodation, you can also contribute to saving recyclables from going to landfill by taking them out on the right day in the right bag. Keep the area in which you are residing clean by adhering to the local council’s waste collection schedule which may be found at mt/calendar-map/ The Don’t Waste Waste campaign is a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about good waste management practices. The Campaign shall be organizing seminars for hotels, citizens and businesses to get the message across that all can contribute towards achieving the country’s environmental targets. We are all part of the same chain, no matter what hat we are wearing: resident, tourist, businessman, employer, employee or student. Your contribution will make a difference.



The charm of Maltese villages WORDS BY Marie BenoĂŽt


n Maltese villages the villagers have mastered the art of enjoying the simple things in life and could not care less what is happening in Las Vegas. There is no trace here of the anonymity afflicting big towns. Everyone knows everyone else. As you go round from village to village you will find that each has a core but also new districts as it expanded. Still, each village core has its own distinctive ambience. The pjazza is the centre stage and provides a focal point for those who have the time to sit on one of its benches and, in winter, enjoy the sun. It is a backdrop for real life events. It may strike you as odd that, among the number of villages, only a few derive their name from a saint, strange in such



a Catholic country, whose people are still deeply attached to the faith preached to them by St Paul the apostle. One reason for this is that a good proportion of the names preceded the advent of Christianity, while others derive their name from the domination of the Arabs. The old houses stand out for their simplicity and character. Some are elegant with their wooden balconies, Persian shutters, delicate wrought-iron balconies, a little niche with their favourite saint or a statue of Our Lady, the occasional quoin and quirky house names, usually a combination of the Christian names of the couple who own it. Most villages look very much alike. The parish church, usually baroque and magnificent, provides a startling contrast to the low, flat-roofed houses grouped tightly around it. It is a lovely surprise to suddenly come upon a church around the corner of one of the meandering streets which characterise the Maltese village. This surprise has been spoilt in some villages where a straight avenue has been created leading to the church. Much of the richness of the villages is not revealed to the casual eye. The greenery of courtyards and walled gardens is

imperceptible. What a contrast between the simple exteriors and often elaborate interiors of these homes. The Maltese are almost obsessively house proud. They give vent to their creativity inside their homes. A glimpse through a window on a summer’s evening, or an open door on the day of the village festa, often reveal interesting interiors. Until recently villages remained comparatively compact. Each presented a maze of streets and houses huddled together. There were often no pavements. This tortuous pattern in the core of the village allows the possibility of a surprise around each corner. All year the villagers lead a wellmannered existence, mostly indoors, but in summer they let off steam and a great deal of fireworks on the day of their village festa. There is a strong community spirit with the parish priests as leaders, helpers and a social service in their own right. Here neighbour helps neighbour. There is a gentleness, a tranquility about these places. You can almost hear a moonbeam coming through your window. Many small villages in ancient Malta and Gozo, especially if they were

The Maltese are almost obsessively house proud. They give vent to their creativity inside their homes


close to the coast, never survived as they were difficult to defend from maurauding parties and corsairs. Those who lived in them could not be protected from pirates and often ended up enslaved by Turks, Infidels. Saracens, call them what you will. A sad fate for any Christian. In the piazzas, except on hot summer afternoons, there is always a group of men talking, exchanging news and trying to put the world, or at least the village, to rights. There is no hurrying and scurrying. People move with the tide of life. They seem to be content with their lot. The Maltese character somehow seems more authentic in these villages.


The churches and chapels were mostly built with donations and sometimes it is the men in the village who have set to work to build them in their spare time. Cupolas, statues, celestial figures, richly embroidered church vestments‌. Each church the same but different. There are church societies which cater for the needs spiritual and sometimes temporal as well of women and girls. Apart from caring for church vestments and floral arrangements they find in these societies a certain organized companionship. Religion has provided a focus for many lives and has given solace to the hungry, to the poor and to the sorrowful and

In the piazzas, except on hot summer afternoons, there is always a group of men talking, exchanging news and trying to put the world, or at least the village, to rights



afflicted. The lives of the villagers are often modest, frugal but not destitute. Most men meet in the winebars and cafés which have a regular clientele of friends and neighbours who spend hours talking, playing cards and drinking tea (in a glass), a soft drink or wine with an eye on the TV, usually watching football. You don’t see these villages on a package tour from the tinted glass of a coach. They are far from the madding crowd and the well-worn tourist path. However, many of them still look ready to be photographed in colour for a travel poster. In these villages there is a sense of the nation’s past. They are an oasis in an increasingly regimented world. They retain that feeling of timelessness. Malta’s villages will appeal to you if you are beguiled by the seductive charms of gentle decay.



The Ghosts of Christmas Past


hristmas in Malta has a long, mostly Catholic tradition. We spoke to four Maltese people from two generations to find out what they remember about the celebration and, from playing with hazelnuts left by the Baby Jesus to drinking champagne at nine years old, how it has changed over the years.

Joe Sultana Eminent ornithologist Joe Sultana, 77, is a founding member of BirdLife Malta and lives in Gozo. He explains that the Christmas of his youth was very different from today. “In my childhood there were no Christmas trees, cards, turkey or cake." Religion took centre stage and decoration was minimalist. He says, “Everything was focused on the birth of Baby Jesus. We set

up a traditional crib at home. It consisted of a small cave, surrounded by wild thyme branches to look like trees and small clay or wax figurines representing Baby Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, as well as a cow and donkey." Presents, if you got them at all, were small. Joe says, “At school, we got crayons, a drawing book or a few sweets which the teacher distributed. The classroom was decorated with coloured paper streamers." Christmas Eve was when much of the action happened. “On Christmas night, before waking us up for the midnight mass, my parents put some hazelnuts, sweets, an orange and a qagħaq tal-għasel or treacle ring-cake under our pillows, to make us believe they were brought by Baby Jesus. My mother admonished me that if I wasn't a good boy, Jesus would

WORDS BY Helen Raine

not bring me anything good. There was no Father Christmas in my time." Some of Joe’s favourite memories are of food. He says, “My father, like the other villagers, raised chickens and rabbits. The Christmas meal consisted of my mother’s chicken soup and a large capon (cockerel) with potatoes and onions, which was taken to the village bakery to be roasted. For dessert, we had a treacle ring-cake each." Games were played with whatever was on hand. Joe says, “On Christmas Day, the boys put three hazelnuts together and another on top and called it a ‘castle’. After drawing lots to see who started first, we tried to hit the ‘castles’ with a hazelnut from three metres away. Each time one hit a ‘castle’ and brought it down, one would take the hazelnuts. “Our Christmas is a far cry from today",



he says. “Life was quite simple but we were still used to be overjoyed at Christmas time.

Jackie Laferla Animal Welfare advocate Jackie says that Christmas in the ‘60s and ‘70s was a time of abundance both spiritually and physically. “We lived 150m away from the Stella Maris Church in Sliema. I so looked forward to Midnight Mass it was a euphoric experience. The highlight was singing the Maltese Christmas carol: Ninni la tikbix iżjed. (Little baby don’t cry any more.) There was another advantage to the Mass it technically finished on Christmas Day. Jackie says, “Afterwards, my brothers and I opened our new presents. My greatuncle Edgar would give us mounds of unwrapped toys. I remember playing a game with huge coloured wooden pick-up sticks. One Christmas, my parents gave me a red bicycle, which I sped around on in the quiet streets of the 70s.

Mercifully, I was spared the dreaded faħam u xaħam tradition. That means ‘coal and animal fat'

She celebrated at her grandparents’ home in Sliema, Villa Paradiso. “I would walk there, relaying Christmas cheer to neighbours. The Christmas tree in the marble hallway always appeared just snowed on; I remember the fragrance of the needles each time we stepped on them. My brother and I would do our rounds, cheek-kissing uncles whilst stuffing our pockets with monetary gifts. My Grandad would roast fresh almonds which we would eat warm with a glass of champagne (even at nine years old). I looked forward to Louis Armstrong’s voice and Gerswhin’s music." The day revolved around food. Jackie says, “Christmas lunch was a long, glamorous affair; the mahogany table sat 16 people, under a huge chandelier. The star dish was naturally roast turkey (Grandad bred his own). For dessert there was a trifle, pudding and exquisite chocolates. We’d crack walnuts and hazelnuts (I became dextrous with the nutcracker at a young age). Once when I was 12 I was invited to puff on my Grandad’s cigar, a memorably toxic experience." Jackie finishes by saying, “I feel very blessed to be able to celebrate

Christmas with my parents to this day. Merry Christmas!"

Raphael Vassallo For Raphael, 45, a columnist with MaltaToday, the first Sunday of Advent served as the starting pistol for the season - the Christmas decorations went up at home and in the street. Raphael’s family participated in the uniquely Maltese tradition of ġulbiena (grains such as wheat or rye). He says, “The planting of the seeds was an elaborate ritual performed by my mother. She would place them on soaked cotton wool in tinfoil oven trays." In a dark cupboard, the seeds grew into “tangles of long, brilliant white stalks". The trays would be placed around the crib and the Christmas tree. Ġulbiena was also grown in five ‘choir-boys’. Raphael explains, “Their heads were made from scooped out hard-boiled eggs, with faces painted on. While the ġulbiena was in the cupboard, I was under strict instructions not to open the door; otherwise, the stalks would turn green. Needless to say, those egg-shell choirboys often had a punk look. He says, “Mercifully, I was spared the dreaded faħam u xaħam tradition." That means ‘coal and animal fat’ but Raphael adds, “I later learnt that xaħam was added by my grandfather, who had a fondness for rhymes. A lump of coal would be given as a wrapped ‘present’ to any naughty child." The words were usually uttered only as a threat but Raphael recounts, “There was one Vassallo child who was so utterly incorrigible that they resorted to the real thing. The child’s cries were so alarming that it spelt an end to faħam u xaħam in our family." The most traditional element of his childhood Christmas lunch was the timpana (macaroni with a Bolognese sauce). Raphael says, “It was brought out of the oven, and upended so that it slid out of the dish face down onto a plate… and then turned upright, in a single movement that required considerable skill. It would then be carried triumphantly into the dining room to applause."



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In terms of Christmas today Raphael says, “One thing I feel is different, is that sense of expectation. There was something magical about the build-up to it until a few years ago. The lights all came on at once, Christmas carols started much closer to the event and shop-window displays before Advent were unheard of. Today, the buildup is longer… and anything that is overstretched is bound to feel less genuine. But that might also be down to a change in perspective on my part." Raphael notes that, traditionally, the external trappings of Christmas in Malta are mostly the stuff of Northern Europe (holly, fir trees, snow and mistletoe). “That’s ironic", he says, “because Malta’s natural environment is far closer to the real setting than the Northern European traditions. As a child, I remember singing ‘Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh’, with no idea what a ‘sleigh’ was. All the same, the sudden appearance of ‘snow’ on Maltese window sills… even if it is just sparkly tinsel… adds an aura of otherworldliness, as though Malta ‘borrows’ the imagery of snowy winters just for Christmas … and somehow it works."

Winston Bartolo Winston Bartolo is 85 and lives in Xemxija. He was born in Malta, but emigrated to Australia when he was 19, only returning in his later years. He says of Christmas in the 1930s


and 40s, “We always had plenty of food on the day because we had a grocery store. I don’t remember being short of anything. My mother made chicken and sometimes turkey, but not everyone could afford turkey." He remembers his mother going to L’Imbordin to buy turkeys from the farmers which she then sold in their shop. “Turkey was something special", he says. “Not everyone had pudding or dessert either. It was very different from today, although Malta was well off compared to other countries. I sometimes got sweets, but not everyone did." He first experienced Christmas pudding in Australia. During the war, he says, “We had it pretty tough. Malta was scarce of everything. Sugar, butter… everything was rationed. My family was responsible for distributing rationed food all the way from Manikata, to San Martin and Pwales. There wasn’t much at Christmas time." Like Joe, Winston had most of his presents provided at school by the church. He says, “We used to get hand-made wooden toys; often they were animals for the crib scene. It was very hard at that time in Malta, because almost everyone had big families - 8, 10, even 15 children. It wasn’t possible for the parents to buy them all toys." He never felt hard done-by though “We enjoyed ourselves just the same" he says.



Restaurant GUIDE bugibba Indian Breeze Restaurant for Granny’s Fusion Triq il-Korp tal-Pijunieri, Bugibba T: +356 2157 5501 Situated in Bugibba’s main square, Granny’s Fusion is a quaint, family-run restaurant that focuses on traditional continental and Maltese dishes. Indian Breeze Restaurant for Granny’s Fusion offers a truly authentic experience with original Maltese cuisine, served by friendly hospitable staff in a warm atmosphere. Some of the traditional dishes are rabbit, bragioli, stuffed calamari, fresh fish and charcoal-grilled prime cuts of fillet, all fresh and prepared by the local Maltese chef. This, accompanied by a crisp bottle of local wine, creates a wonderful dining experience at a great price. They serve fresh fish daily. Granny’s Fusion also offers Indian dishes prepared to perfection by their Indian chef. Both exterior and interior dining available. Full English breakfast at €2,95 (including: rashers bacon, eggs, large beef sausage, baked beans, grilled tomato, toast and butter and complemented with a mug of tea or coffee) is also served.

MDINA de Mondion Restaurant The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux, Misrah il-Kunsill, Mdina T: +356 2145 0560 E: W: w / Set atop Mdina's centuries-old bastions, within the Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux and awarded the runner-up for the best boutique dining hotel in the world, the de Mondion offers a unique fine dining experience, enhanced by truly spectacular panoramic views of the island from the terraces and charming features served in elegant surroundings. Consistently rated amongst the top restaurants in Malta for its cuisine, refinement and excellence, the de Mondion promises discreet yet impeccably-attentive service allowing patrons the time and privacy to savour the cuisine, the company and the view. With exquisite cuisine combining the finest seasonal produce with innovation and expertise to create tantalising dishes, the ‘award winning’ kitchen brigade have and continue to delight the palate of a multinational clientele. Group lunches are available on request. They also welcome enquires for private functions and special celebrations. Booking recommended.

Palazzo De Piro – Xpresso Café & Bistro Palazzo de Piro, 3 Triq is-Sur, Mdina, MDN 1131 T: +356 2010 0560; +356 2145 0560 E: W: Set within the magnificent 18th century Palazzo de Piro Cultural Centre, located in Malta’s Silent City, Mdina, Xpresso Café and Bistro is an elegant spot for casual dining, snacks, coffee, afternoon tea or simply a get-together with friends. The talented Brigade of Chefs makes use of the fresh produce from nearby valleys and slopes when producing their seasonal menus. Through close co-operation with local growers and producers, Xpresso Café and Bistro seeks to showcase the freshest and best the region has to offer through a menu of healthy dishes. With magnificent views of the Malteseislands, fine architectural heritage and a passion for culture and art, Xpresso Café is the perfect place to enjoy the history of Malta, its rich culture and its culinary delights.

Trattoria AD 1530 Misrah il-Kunsill, Mdina, MDN 10150 T: +356 2145 0560 E: W: The Trattoria AD 1530 at The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux in Mdina is a charming eatery that prides itself on serving traditional and tasty food typical of the word 'trattoria'. Strategically situated in one of the old squares of the Silent City, with the beautiful and imposing Vilhena Palace directly opposite and the magnificent 17th century Palazzo of The Xara Palace on the other side, the Trattoria's idyllic location is simply perfect for indoor or al fresco dining. Trattoria AD 1530 is the ideal restaurant for every occasion and is open for coffee, lunch, dinner, snacks and afternoon tea.



MOSTA TA’ MARIJA RESTAURANT – EST. 1964 Constitution Street, Mosta T: +356 2143 4444 F: +356 2141 8181 E: W: Awarded as the Best Maltese Food Restaurant for the 10th year in 2016, Ta’ Marija doesn’t just serve Maltese cuisine, they create dishes with what is locally traditional but then add their own signature flavours of sumptuousness. For an evening of culinary delights sprinkled with a lot of liveliness, head to their Folklore Dinner shows held every Wednesday and Friday evening, which start with strolling musicians playing mandolins and guitars, who belt out the sweetest of Maltese song with assured merriment in the making. After your delicious dinner, the charming Maria Muscat will present the folklore show in a variety of languages, featuring six dancers who lure you into a jovial story of Maltese history told through dance. At some point, you or your special guest could be hand-picked to make their moves on the dancefloor so that you too, can make history of your own unforgettable night! And it is not quite over till it’s over... after the show Ta’ Marija’s dancefloor remains lit up so that you and your party can dance the night away to all-time favourite songs. Locals enjoy it every time too, so this night is aimed for their esteemed foreign guests as well as their ever-loyal local friends. Transport from and to your holiday accommodation can be arranged in their all inclusive package. Who says you can’t dine, dance and sparkle all in one place?

NAXXAR LUNA Palazzo Parisio, Victory Square, Naxxar T: +356 2141 2461 E: W: Set in the historic surroundings of a noble family’s 18th century palazzo... LUNA, the restaurant at Palazzo Parisio, is a sumptuous dining experience and an opportunity to sample international cuisine with a Mediterranean twist. During the winter months the trendy Parisian style interior is your backdrop and, as the weather warms up and the bougainvillea blooms, hidden away from the reality of everyday life the gardens are opened for guests to dine al fresco from early morning, with breakfast served from 9am, to lunch served from noon, to their famous quintessentially English Afternoon Tea from 3pm through to the crystal and candlelit night time dining. LUNA – in all its forms – offers relaxation in understated luxury, excellent service and culinary delights. They promise each and every one of their guests an albeit brief but enjoyable sojourn. Booking recommended.

SLIEMA Margaret Island 71, The Strand, Sliema T: + 356 2748 3280 M: + 356 9935 5210 E: Margaret Island is a little island in the Island offering something different and unique at the same time. Our restaurant can present the most popular traditional delicacies of the Hungarian kitchen just like Goulash soup, Steak „Budapest" style, Chicken „paprikash", Gipsy roast, Beef stew with cottage cheese pasta and pickles or desserts like Sponge cake Somló style just to name a few. Our guests can choose from a wide selection of excllent, beautiful wines coming solely from great wine regions of Hungary. And the original Hungarian fruit brandy, „pálinka" is also worth trying! The restaurant is situated on the Strand of Sliema, close to Sliema ferries, and shopping area of the suburb just overlooking Valletta and Manoel Island. Our seating capacity is 80 seats inside and 50 seats outside in two cosy terraces. We have an open kitchen, playground for kids, bathrooms accessible for the disabled and mommies with strollers as well. Hungry for Hungary? Modern, relaxing interior, attentive, polite waiters, unbeatable chefs from Hungary are looking forward to welcoming you!

Ta’ Kolina 151, Tower Road, Sliema T: +356 2133 5106 M: +356 9942 4877 E: Ta’ Kolina is a quaint, family run restaurant on Tower Road (one of Sliema’s most popular spots) and has been opened since 1974. Ta’ Kolina is a typical Maltese restaurant with its traditional Maltese limestone interior and décor. A set menu comprising of traditional Maltese food offers a choice of five local starters; five main courses; dessert & coffee for €20. There's a unique à la carte menu with some 20 starters from €4.50 to €7.50, and 20 main courses from €11 to €24 to choose from. Ta’ Kolina offer a variety of fresh fish, rabbit, steak and many more traditional dishes. A wide selection of the best Maltese wines are available ranging from €6.50 to €25 per bottle. All in all this restaurant provides its guests with the true taste of Maltese cuisine at a reasonable price.



Ta’ Kris Restaurant & Maltese Bistro 80, Fawwara Lane, Sliema T: +356 2133 7367 M: +356 9984 7713 Set in one of Sliema's oldest bakeries, Ta' Kris is all about providing a genuine mix of affordable Maltese and Mediterranean dishes in a homely fashion and rustic surroundings. Ta' Kris offers a varied menu of traditional Maltese food such as bragioli, rabbit, octopus stew, bebbux (snails), balbuljata (corned beef hash), baked lamb, to daily specials, pasta dishes, a selection of fresh fish on a daily basis and mouth-watering steaks. Ta' Kris also offers take away service and special menus can be designed for all occasions. Ta' Kris opens from Monday to Sunday, from 12.30pm till 11pm. Booking is recommended.

ST Julian's Dubliner Bar & Restaurant Gorg Borg Olivier Street, St Julian's T: +356 2136 7106 This cosy, traditional Irish pub in St Julian’s invites all to a casual and friendly atmosphere to kick back and enjoy a jovial treat straight from the green lands of Ireland. The weekday menu, served on the second floor restaurant and boasting exceptional views of the bay, covers everything from traditional Irish and British pub food to international cuisines. Alternatively, visit The Dubliner simply to enjoy the atmosphere of the surrounding bar whilst indulging in a hearty pint of Guinness with friends. The Dubliner provides patrons with a haven from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding area, where one can sit back and have a great meal or simply relax with friends.

Electro Lobster Project 32, Main Street, Balluta Buildings, St Julian's T: +356 2735 7357 W:


A treasure of a place, nestled within the historic beauty of one of Malta's most eye catching buildings. Delicious food, stunning decor, an enviable selection of premium liquors, and a rich calendar of events throughout the year is what makes us truly unique. Our specialty is lobster, the rest of the menu is classic Sicilian, with lots of fresh fish, quality meats, and vegan and vegetarian options. Our bar snack menu is a regularly changing international fusion of small dishes. Join us on the terrace outside to explore our Get Decked menu, with happy hour prices between 3pm and 7pm every day. Enjoy mouth watering bar snacks, signature cocktails made with in-house infused spirits, our ELP gin tonics and boosted lemonades, great wines, and daily changing spirit offers on our shaded terrace overlooking the bay. Our dedicated, passionate and experienced kitchen and waiting staff will make sure your ELP experience will be a memorable one.

WATERBISCUIT St. George’s Bay, St Julian's T: +356 2376 2225 E: Waterbiscuit, located in the heart of St. George’s Bay, is at the forefront of the Maltese culinary experience with delicious and innovative dishes for all to enjoy. Waterbiscuit, stylishly set on two floors, offers a gastronomic experience that will delight all with healthy, delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners. It is a truly contemporary location ideal for a business rendezvous, social gathering, casual dining or a night out.Breakfast promises to provide a wakeup call with a creative à la carte menu boasting six different types of Eggs Benedict, the signature dish of Waterbiscuit, ideal for those who wish to indulge in a truly unique breakfast experience. Waterbiscuit also allows patrons to lounge at the bar throughout the day and night with a variety of coffees, cocktails and wines that will tease the senses; the atmosphere is relaxed and offers a delightfully glamourous feel.

The Avenue The Avenue, Gort Street, Paceville, St Julian's T: +356 2135 1753 / 2137 8731 W: This award-winning restaurant has been a household name for over a decade and remains a regular favourite. Its versatile menu, friendly service and well-pitched prices all contribute to The Avenue’s strong appeal. Best known for pizza, freshlyprepared pasta or grills, or you could opt for succulent poultry and fresh fish – the menu is not only versatile but portions are generous. The Avenue started off 20 years ago as a snack bar and today encompasses three different sections, all with different character and décors: the arustic-styled room, the elegant ‘Valentino’ section and the more informal and colourful segment. This venue is popular with locals as it’s good value for money. In fact, looking through the large, glass windows, one can see the place is always bustling with people and life. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Includes two hours free parking at the Portomaso car park all week. Delivery service to the surrounding areas is available.



Zest Hotel Juliani, 25, St George’s Road, St Julian's T: +356 2138 7600 E: W: Zest’s Asian fusion menu will take you on an exciting culinary journey. Get swept off your feet with delectable dishes from Balinese curries, Indonesian noodles and Japanese teppanyaki to French lamb sous vide. At Zest, no attention to detail is spared including the décor and design that elevates one’s dining experience from ordinary to extraordinary. Original architectural details and attractive features, including an open wine cellar and a live-cooking sushi bar, are sure to leave a lasting impression. Zest also enjoys the added bonus of an open-air terrace overlooking romantic Spinola Bay, for which reservations are highly advised—only 14 seats are available in this exclusive location.

Ta' Xbiex The Galley Ta’ Xbiex Seafront, XBX 1028 Ta’ Xbiex T: +356 2131 8801 E: The Galley Restaurant overlooks the stunning Marsamxett Harbour, enjoying spectacular views of the Valletta skyline. Adjacent to the Royal Malta Yacht Club and yacht marina, this stylish restaurant offers staple popular dishes and seasonal specials, including premium meats, fish, pasta and light snacks at lunch time. The venue interior emulates a beach house with good, natural light and soft furnishings, and the atmosphere is casual and comfortable. There is ample parking space available, and with good proximity to neighbouring Sliema and Valletta it is well serviced by public transport. The Galley is especially popular on weekends so booking is recommended.

BARS & NIGHTLIFE ST JULIAN's Saddles Pub & Wine Bar Main Street, St Julian's W: Situated in the heart of St Julian's, Saddles has been established for over 38 years. Considered a central meeting place, start your evening on a perfect note in a friendly atmosphere. A big screen is available for sports and you can enjoy an ice-cold pint of Guiness on the terrace. The first floor is a cosy wine bar popular for organised parties and you can have a tasty cocktail or a genuine glass of wine on the balcony with views. Open all day long. Wi-Fi available all day.



EVENTS & NEWS FROM malta's national airline

Malta’s National Football Team Flies Air Malta PHOTO BY Paul Zammit Cutajar


ir Malta recently hosted the national football team players and members of the Malta Football Association on its flagship flight KM100 to London’s Heathrow airport. The team played against England at the glorious Wembley Stadium as part of the qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup 2018. England-Malta was always going to be a mismatch but the Maltese team produced a gallant performance to restrict their superior opponents to just two goals.

Visit for more info.



Air Malta assists The Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation


ir Malta will again be assisting The Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation during the months of November and December. During these months, Air Malta Cabin Crew will be collecting funds on board the airline’s flights towards this cause. The Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation is an organisation aimed at promoting solidarity among people living in Malta. The Foundation provides financial, material and professional support to people experiencing difficulties because of severe chronic or terminal illness, including cancer, disability, poverty, unemployment or lack of resources, without any form of discrimination. Joe Galea, Acting Chief Executive Officer said, “Air Malta is a proud supporter of the MCCFF. As an airline we strongly believe in our corporate social responsibility and throughout the years we have assisted thousands of people to travel abroad for medical treatment. Our aircraft can carry both stretcher cases and incubators for new born babies that require urgent medical treatment abroad. The MCCFF works hard during the year to support thousands of people who rely on the generosity of the fund to help families passing through difficult times. We are happy that with the help of our guests we can continue assisting this fund with its commendable initiatives." This campaign forms part of Air Malta's Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives whereby the airline supports organisations that work hard in the Maltese community. As Malta's national carrier, Air Malta is the only airline flying from Malta that fully supports the local community in all possible ways. No other airline operating to Malta provides continued support to voluntary and non-governmental organisations like Air Malta. This initiative is also being supported by Sky Gourmet, the airline's catering provider.



Lily celebrates her first holiday flying Air Malta


er name is Lily Da Silva and she celebrated her 4th birthday on October 13th in Malta, her first holiday abroad. To celebrate this eventful day Air Malta made sure to make her flight unforgettable. Upon departure from Cardiff Airport our crew presented young Lily with a personalised gift and Captain Cedric Fenech Azzopardi welcomed her into the cockpit upon landing in Malta. Her father Jay commented, "I can't even begin to say how grateful I am for what you did for Lily. She loved every second, thank you so much". Happy Birthday Lily from all at Air Malta. We hope to have you on board very soon!



wenty one members from the Try family flew on Air Malta’s KM101 from London’s Heathrow Airport recently, on their very first Malta holiday.

The trip reunited 3 generations to celebrate Grandma Fiona's 80th Birthday. When contacted daughter Tammy said, "Thank you so much Air Malta. We are so excited to be in your beautiful country. The whole family has come together, including my eldest daughter who has flown 30 hours from New Zealand to be there too!" Air Malta congratulates Fiona on her birthday and augurs all the Try family a happy holiday on the Maltese Islands.

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Air Malta and NAS Organise Cargo Operations Workshop

One of the two groups just after the workshop together with John Gilfeather Sales Director Network Airline Services (4th from left)


ollowing the appointment last June of Network Airline Services (NAS), a global leader in the field, as Air Malta’s Total Cargo Management (TCM) service provider, the two organisations organised a day workshop for staff to discuss improvements in cargo operations efficiency. The workshop entitled, "A Proactive Approach to the Cargo Operations", discussed increased competitiveness and the importance to increase efficiency, lower operational costs, more efficient use of all resources and improving staff retention by promoting innovation and team problem solving.

The workshop also discussed how business models, especially in the cargo sector are changing and the need to continuously improve and innovate existing services or launch new ones. Commenting on this workshop Aldrin Cassar, Air Malta’s cargo operations agent, one of the workshop's participants, said, "This has been an interesting event where we were given the opportunity to discuss improvements in our business and voice our recommendations to increase opportunities. Such seminars are a great opportunity to challenge the status quo and continue developing our services to the benefit of the cargo community."

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Air Malta and the MTA participate in the World Travel Market Air Malta and the Malta Tourism Authority attended the World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry to meet industry professionals. Air Malta formed part of the Visit Malta stand hosted by Malta Tourism Authority. PHOTOS BY Malta Tourisim Authority

01. Maltese food displayed on Malta's stand by Victor Aquilina 02-04. The Visit Malta stand 05. Her Excellency, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta together with her husband Edgar Preca, Pauline Coleiro Air Malta Key Accounts Executive and Giovanni Costa - Air Malta Market Manager, UK & Ireland. 06. (from left) Joe Cababie - Sales Representative Flight Directors, Giovanni Costa - Air Malta Market Manager, UK & Ireland, Gavin Gulia – Chairman Malta Tourism Authority, Pauline Coleiro - Air Malta Key Accounts Executive, and Victor Mifsud - Air Malta Charter Operations Executive. 07. (from left) H.E. Norman Hamilton - Malta’s High Commissioner to the UK and Joe Galea, Air Malta’s Chief Executive Officer. 08. (from left) Joe Cababie - Sales Representative Flight Director (1st left), Giovanni Costa - Air Malta Market Manager UK and Ireland (2nd left) discussing business opportunities with a client. 09. Her Excellency, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta together with Maria Micallef – Air Malta Chairperson.













il-bizzilla talks to Conrad Grima Cargo Coordinator

How long have you been working with Air Malta? I have been working for Air Malta for almost 30 years. Three words that describe your job? Interesting, challenging and satisfying. What is the biggest challenge of your job? To meet strict deadlines and offer our cargo clients the best service possible. Do you have any hobbies?

My favourite spot in Malta is the Sliema front, its ideal for a walk along the promenade and perfect for a swim in the summertime.

Quite a few actually. Living on an island does have its perks and my favourites are all water sport related activities such as water-polo, swimming and snorkeling. When the weather gets cooler I enjoy frequenting a local fitness gym. Which is your favourite destination and why? My favourite destination is Britain as one can find a combination of entertainment venues such as historical sites and castles, beautiful parks, and great shopping establishments. Furthermore the locals are very friendly and there are no language barriers. What are your favourite spots or tips for anyone visiting Malta? My favourite spot in Malta is the Sliema front, its ideal for a walk along the promenade and perfect for a swim in the summertime.



Bernard Gallacher (left) was greeted by William Beck – Honorary President of the Malta Golf Association/Jason Muscat

Bernard Gallacher travels on Air Malta


ernard Gallacher OBE, the Scottish golf champion, was welcomed onboard Air Malta recently.

The golfer was in Malta to deliver a speech during a dinner to celebrate the 10th Anniversary from the founding of the Malta Golf Association. Champion of various golf tournaments, Gallacher received his OBE (The Order of the British Empire) in 1996. Following a cardiac arrest the golfer endlessly campaigns for more public defibrillators and is Golf Care Ambassador with his wife Lesley. In 2014, he received a Lifetime Achievement accolade at the Scottish Golf Awards. "I really enjoyed my visit to Malta. I loved seeing Malta itself so rich in history", Gallacher told Air Malta prior his departure to Heathrow.

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inflight information

FLIGHT & COMPANY information Survey: Customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance at Air Malta and we are always looking for ways to improve your experience. Visit our website to answer a few short questions.

Newsletter: Subscribe to our newsletter or like our Facebook page to learn about our promotions, with fares starting from as low as €44 including taxes. Visit for more information.

Alcohol consumption


Alcohol consumed at high altitude can have a stronger effect than usual. Cabin crew are legally empowered to refuse serving any alcohol to an intoxicated passenger and to anyone under the age of 18. In extreme cases, crew may also temporarily confiscate the passenger‘s own drinks so that the passenger would not become a nuisance to the other passengers and crew. Furthermore, Air Malta is bound by international regulations which prohibit embarkation or the carriage of drunken passengers. But once you are reading this article, Air Malta‘s Flight Safety Committee is confident that you are a law-abiding and exemplary passenger. Indeed, the cabin crew may need your assistance to restrain another passenger in the unlikely event that he or she may act irresponsibly during the flight. The consumption of one’s own alcoholic beverages inflight goes against Air Malta policy.

Smoking is prohibited from when you leave the terminal building until you arrive to the terminal building. Smoking is allowed in designated areas only. Smoking is not allowed during any phase of the flight and in any area of the aircraft. Should you be aware of a passenger who has smoked in the toilet during the flight, please inform the cabin crew immediately so that they can check for any undetected fires. The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) is also not allowed on board Air Malta flights. Similarly, the use of naked flames on and around the aircraft is also prohibited.


inflight information

Air Malta Fleet

Enhance your travel experience At Air Malta, we want our passengers to have everything they need to make their travel experience comfortable in one place. Here are a number of services that we offer that you may not have known about: Join our business cl a ss Upgrade to Air Malta’s Club Class for priority service. Members can make use of the special check-in counters for more leisurely and efficient boarding, enjoy access to the La Valette Lounge at Malta International Airport, and get more privacy with a separate inflight cabin area.

AIRBUS 319 Qty: 2 in fleet Number of seats: 141 Engines: 2 CFM56-5B6/P Maximum take-off weight: 73.5 metric tons

C a r ry mor e w ith you Are you worried about not being able to fit everything you need into your suitcase? Stop stressing out and check out our extra baggage service. Simply book your extra baggage online and get the most out of your trip! Visit for more details.

Overall length: 33.84m Wingspan: 34.1m Cruising speed: 834 kph Range: 4,815 km

Fly in comfort Enhance your comfort with extra legroom during your flight. This option gives you more space to relax in preparation for your trip! Visit or more information.

Get sport Y Are you passionate about a sport? We make it easy to travel and take your specialised equipment with you at very minimal cost. Visit for more details.

Qty: 6 in fleet

Groups We also cater for large groups who want to travel together. If your group is larger than 10 adults, contact our Group Bookings team for special rates that you can’t get anywhere else!

Number of seats: 168/180

Email for more information.


Engines: 2 CFM56-5B4/P Maximum take-off weight: 77.0 metric tons Overall length: 37.57m Wingspan: 34.1m Cruising speed: 834 kph Range: 4,055 km

W eb check in Skip the line and check-in before you get to the airport. You may check-in online before you get to the airport, up to 24 hours prior to departure up until one hour before your flight. Visit for more information.

destination information

finland SWEDEN


NORWAY • Oslo Stockholm



• Copenhagen



• Moscow

• Manchester

BELARUS • Bremen

• Berlin • Amsterdam London Heathrow • • Hannover HOLLAND • London Gatwick GERMANY • Brussels BELGIUM • Düsseldorf • Dresden


• Paris Charles de Gaulle Paris Orly •

• Frankfurt



• Munich


• Warsaw



• Vienna

• Zurich





Milan •

• Otopani


SERBIA • Sofia




• Budapest



• Rome • Olbia

BULGARIA • Istanbul



Palermo • • Catania


Larnaca •







Air Malta direct flights airport

• Abu Dhabi



Weekly Flights

Amsterdam Berlin Brussels Catania Düsseldorf Frankfurt London Gatwick London Heathrow Manchester

4 3 8 14 2 4 7 14 2


Weekly Flights

Milan Moscow Munich Palermo Paris Charles de Gaulle Paris Orly Rome Vienna Zurich

5 1 8 2 5 4 7 4 5

Code-shared RouteS Etihad Airways


Abu Dhabi Brisbane Melbourne Perth Sydney

via Brussels, Geneva, Heathrow, Manchester and Rome via Abu Dhabi via Abu Dhabi via Abu Dhabi via Abu Dhabi



• Sydney

Arlanda (Stockholm) via Munich Berlin via Munich Bremen via Munich and Frankfurt Dresden via Munich and Frankfurt Düsseldorf via Munich Frankfurt Hannover via Munich and Frankfurt Munich Oslo via Munich

• Melbourne

Emirates Larnaca

Meridiana Olbia Naples

via Rome via Catania

Czech Airlines Prague

• Perth

brussels AIRLINES Brussels Copenhagen


via Catania via Brussels

Swiss International Air Lines Zurich

Turkish AIRLINES Istanbul

Austrian Airlines Budapest Otopeni (Buc) Prague Sofia Warsaw

via Vienna via Vienna via Vienna via Vienna via Vienna


Electronic device information

Use of Portable Electronic Devices on board Tr a nsmit ting Porta ble Electronic Dev ices (PEDs)

Non-T r a nsmit ting Porta ble Electronic Dev ices (PEDs)

L a ptops a nd notebooks

Any devices that can send or receive data by wireless means, such as mobile-phones and tablets, may be used during all phases of the flight provided their transmit/receive capabilities (e.g. Bluetooth and Wi-fi) are switched off. Alternatively, if the device has ‘Flight Mode’ capability, this must be enabled. Such devices shall be safely secured in the customers’ hand (handheld) or a pocket during taxi, take-off and landing. Larger devices (e.g. laptops) shall be switched off and stowed away safely during taxi, take-off and landing. Accessories, such as headphones, must not obstruct access to the aisle. If the data transmission capability cannot be switched off (whilst the device is operating), the device itself must be switched off for the duration of the flight.

These could include, but are not limited to, items such as DVD players, electronic games, music players and personal cameras. Such devices shall be safely secured in the customers’ hand (handheld) or a pocket during taxi, take-off and landing. Larger devices shall be stowed away safely during taxi, take-off and landing.

Such devices may be used during boarding and during flight but not during taxi, take-off and landing. Any built-in data connectivity such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi must be disabled. These devices must be stowed away safely during taxi, take-off and landing since they could hinder an emergency evacuation.

A r e ther e times w hen I c a nnot use m y electronic dev ices?

C a n I use he a dphones?

Personal headphones can be used during all phases of the flight. However, we ask you to remove your headphones during the safety briefing. For safety reasons, customers sitting in an emergency exit row must refrain from using headphones during taxi, take-off and landing.

Under certain circumstances, your Flight Crew or Cabin Crew may ask you to switch off all Personal Electronic Devices. This may happen during automatic landings, low visibility takeoff or landing, or during emergency situations.

I should infor m the c a bin cr ew w hen …

… a passenger notices that his/her device is overheating. In such a case, the Personal Electronic Device must be switched off immediately and a member of the crew informed.

If you require more information, please refer to the table below which includes a list of Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) which can be used onboard Air Malta flights by phase of flight. Please do not hesitate to contact any member of our cabin crew if you have any further questions.



H a nd Held PEDs

(e.g. smart phones and tablets)

L a rger PEDS

(e.g. laptops and notebooks)


W i-fi, t ex t & phone c a ll f unctions





(when instructed by Flight Crew or Cabin Crew)





Taxi-out for Take-Off





Extended Ground Delay

During Safety Briefing Demonstration Take-Off Cruise Circa 10 minutes to landing (Cabin Crew PA)

Landing Taxi to Stand


The Island of Joy

St George’s Square traditional Chrismas market

Il-Bizzilla December 2016 Issue 48  

From local Christmas traditions, to food, drinks, shopping, and beyond. December’s il-Bizzilla takes a look at all things festive yet intrin...

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