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APRIL/MAY 2014 €3 The official visitors’ guide of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association


Local band Firelight is Malta’s entry at the Eurovision Song Festival Major events in April and May

Identity Malta Creative artisanal projects that shine in local crafts competition


Property for sale, FOR EVERY pocket The freshest fashion trends this spring Rabbit Feast – the traditional

Cover Story

Meet several Maltese artists who are making a name for themselves your guide to events | fashion | eating & drinking | shopping



April & May 2014 EDITOR Isabel Depasquale PUBLISHERS Content House Group ADVERTISING Advertising Sales Executives Matthew Spiteri, Caroline Gauci Advertising Sales Coordinator Lindsey Ciantar - T: +356 2132 0713 PRINTERS Progress Press Ltd Art Direction & Design Box Design - T: +356 9949 1418

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12 Events

A list of the major events taking place in the months of April and May.

15 Cover Story

33 Identity Malta

Crafting a Name for Themselves – Sarah Micallef sheds light on four artisanal projects that have stood out for their innovative edge in a recent local crafts competition.

A Buzzing Music Scene – Several Maltese artists in the world of music are making a name for themselves locally and overseas. Martina Said catches up with four artists at the top of their game.


Content House Group, Mallia Buildings, 3, Level 2, Triq in-Negozju, Mriehel QRM3000 T: +356 2132 0713 E: W:

Guide Me is published every two months in Malta. The magazine is the official visitors’ guide of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. The publication is distributed free of charge in the individual rooms of three, four and five star hotels. Guide Me is also distributed for free from MTA offices in Malta and Gozo and at the La Valette Club within the Malta International Airport (MIA). It is also sold at leading newsagents in Malta and Gozo, including those at The Valletta Waterfront and at MIA.

23 Property

A Place in the Sun – Sarah Micallef scours the local property market to find out what’s for sale whatever the size of your pocket.

Photography Malta Tourism Authority, Joseph Agius, Fotoclassic, Brian Grech, Julian Hanford, Marc Hibbert, Kurt Paris, Rene Rossignaud and Reenie Wilkins

Cover picture Cover shot of Maltaborn Matina’s first release ‘Rise’ Photo: Julian Hanford, London

Editorial opinions expressed in Guide Me are not necessarily those of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association or of Content House Group and both organisations do not accept responsibility for editorial or advertising content. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publishers is strictly prohibited.


43 Fashion

52 Cuisine

Put a Spring in Your Step...With the Freshest Fashion Trends – Sarah Micallef lets you in on what you should be wearing this spring.

49 Where to Spend It

If you intend to shop in Malta, make sure to visit these shops.

Rabbit Feast – If you are after a taste of Malta, you should not miss a plate of rabbit meat. Martina Said traces the origin of this culinary tradition.

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57 Eating & Drinking Some tips on where to wine and dine.

69 Nightlife

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page 69

Setting the Music Scene Alight – Local band Firelight has just secured its spot to represent Malta at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. Jo Caruana meets band singer Richard Edwards before he heads off to Copenhagen.



Welcome to the Maltese islands!


54 APRIL-MAY 2014


his issue of Guide Me celebrates all things (and people) local – from artisans to musicians and the islands’ culinary heritage. You may have read about or, better still, heard internationally renowned tenor Joseph Calleja’s wonderful voice, recently nominated for a 2014 International Opera Award; you may have danced to the tunes of DJ duo Tenishia, currently among the world’s top 100 DJs; if you follow the UK music charts you may have followed Matina’s success with her first release ‘Rise’ as she shot to the UK Music Week Chart Top 30 only this March; and finally you may have watched little Gaia Cauchi win last year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest held in Ukraine. Our cover story pays tribute to these young, talented and energetic artists who are making the islands proud both locally and overseas. We celebrate a different art form in our ‘Identity Malta’ feature on page 33. We bring to the fore the projects of four artisans that have made it to the finals of a local crafts competition that aims at raising awareness of Maltese crafts. The projects are not just well-crafted; they are ingenious, innovative and creative. Guide Me also touches on several other subjects including helping you find your property in the sun no matter your budget (see page 23); letting you in on this spring’s top fashion trends (see page 43); tantalising your taste buds with the typically Maltese rabbit meal – the fenkata (see page 52); and introducing you to Malta’s ambassador for the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen this May (see page 69). Enjoy your visit

Isabel Depasquale EDITOR


C A L END A R OF EVEN T S 2 0 1 4 April 04-05 April Duruflé Requiem – Aptly scheduled during the time of Lent, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra joins forces with the Schola Cantorum Jubilate to present one of the most subtle and fluid compositions based on the Gregorian chant, but personalised by the colours, harmonies and rhythms of this deeply religious 20th-century musician. The Requiem, op. 9, by Maurice Duruflé was commissioned in 1947 by the French music publisher Durand and is written in memory of the composer’s father. Tickets are €10; concessions of €5 for students and senior citizens. Venue: Robert Sammut Hall, Floriana.

05 April Brian May and Kerry Ellis – Legendary Queen guitarist Brian May will be performing in Malta on 5th April, accompanied by the talented Kerry Ellis. The concert will be held in St George’s Square in Valletta and will be one of over 60 special activities held during 2014 to mark the 50th anniversary of the country’s Independence, the 40th anniversary of Republic Day, the 35th anniversary of Freedom Day and the 10th anniversary of EU membership. The concert starts at 8.30pm. Tickets can be purchased via

06 April Festa Frawli – The scenic parish square in the agricultural village of Imgarr will once again host ‘Festa Frawli’ – the annual Strawberry Fair which is now in its 8th edition and a much awaited fixture in the Maltese calendar. A constant supply of

freshly picked strawberries will be on sale throughout the day. A wide variety of desserts, snacks and beverages will be available, all made with fresh Imgarr strawberries, and professional chefs will also be preparing innovative strawberrybased gourmet dishes such as ravioli. Homemade strawberry wine, jams, conserves and other typical products will also be on sale.

06 April In Guardia Parade – The In Guardia Parade is a re-enactment that portrays an authentic event that took place regularly inside important military fortifications in Malta and Gozo. During the re-enactment, the soldiers and knights of the fort’s garrison – some 55 re-enactors – are kitted-out in their finest uniforms and perform a military drill demonstrating to the Grand Bailiff the garrison’s state of readiness in the event of a military threat. The show starts at 11am and lasts 45 minutes. It will be held at St John’s Cavalier (close to Couvre Porte), in Birgu (Vittoriosa).

12-13 April Malta Artisan Spring Fair – Enjoy a great family day out at the Malta Artisan Spring Fair, where you can browse through some of the best artisan creations by Maltese artists, including a selection of souvenirs, jewellery, home decor, toys and delicacies. During the day, there will also be kids’ crafts workshops, musical interludes and high tea and coffee to be enjoyed in the splendid surroundings of the 1930s ballroom of the Phoenicia Hotel, Floriana.

13 April Palm Sunday – This annual feast falls on the Sunday before Easter and commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his Passion, an event reported in the Gospels. The feast is celebrated in various localities around Malta and Gozo.

13 April George Cross Award Commemoration – On the occasion of the 72nd anniversary, the Malta Tourism Authority will be presenting a commemorative celebration that will recall this historic episode. The programme will start with the marching in of the Armed Forces of Malta Band, that will be carrying the George Cross medal into the President’s Palace and will then present a musical marching display. The Malta Police Band will follow with its own marching display inside St George’s Square, Valletta. The programme starts at 7.15pm and lasts around two hours. For further information call 2291 5440/1.

20 April Easter Sunday – Easter manifests itself in a festive mood with the Risen Christ, signifying the triumph of Christ over death. Tradition dictates that children take their Easter pastry (figolla) to be blessed in various parishes across the island.

25, 26, 30 April Malta International Fireworks Festival – The Ministry for Tourism and the Malta Tourism Authority will be organising the 13th edition of the Malta International Fireworks Festival.  Pyrotechnic displays will take place on Friday 25th, Saturday 26th and Wednesday 30th April. A number

For the full online Malta Calendar of Events please go to:

of Maltese and foreign fireworks factories will be participating in this competitive event, presenting spectacular pyrotechnic displays synchronised to music. The festival forms part of the anniversary celebrations of Malta’s accession to the European Union. 

MAY 01 May Labour Day – Labour Day is an annual holiday celebrated all over the world, recognising the economic and social achievements of workers. Popularly known as May Day or International Workers’ Day, the 1st of May is also a public holiday in Malta and Gozo. Activities commemorating this event take place mostly in Valletta. The date also coincides with the religious feast of St Joseph the Worker celebrated in the town of B’Kara.

03-04 May The Picture of Dorian Grey – Teatru Manoel and Moveo Dance Company present this extraordinary contemporary adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic ‘The picture of Dorian Grey’, featuring an international cast of dancers. Prices for tickets vary between €10 and €25, and may be purchased from Manoel Theatre in Valletta.

04 May Violin Recital – A series of concerts will be held almost every Sunday at 11am at the Music Room at St James Cavalier as part of its lunchtime concert series 2014. These concerts are 45 minutes long and will run until the end of June. This concert series seeks to showcase

performing artists in an effort to highlight local talent and to contribute towards the enhancement of the contemporary cultural scene in Malta.

11 May Spring Ricottafest – This festival will be organised in the village of Hal Kirkop by the Kirkop Local Council from 9am onwards. This rural event offers the opportunity to learn about the manufacturing of the local version of cottage cheese (rikotta) and to savour a variety of pies and sweets using this delicious soft cheese.

17-24 May Malta Design Week – Now in its second edition, Malta Design Week (MDW) has one simple premise: to celebrate, promote and showcase the best innovation and creativity of Maltese design. MDW will provide an opportunity for local designers to flaunt their creative talent in a venue and event that suitably adapts to subject matter. The event will take place at Fort St Elmo in Valletta.

18 May Alarme – Alarme is a military re-enactment that portrays the historic and turbulent tenure of Malta by French troops, following Napoleon’s landing and conquest of the islands in 1798. The re-enactment starts at 11am and lasts 45 minutes, and will be held at St John’s Cavalier (close to Couvre Porte), in Birgu. Tickets may be purchased at the gate.

24-30 May Malta Fashion Week – The Mercedes Benz Malta Fashion Week is a whole week of fashion events organised around Malta. This year, The Malta Fashion Week will be

centralised in the capital city, Valletta. Daily events will be organised in different venues, most of which hold a historical or cultural value. Most of the events are free of charge, but invites should be obtained beforehand. For more information about the invites or how to obtain invites, visit

31 May Malta International Food Festival – The town of Haz-Zabbar is once again organising The Malta International Food Festival, a culinary and musical event endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism and the Parliamentary Secretariat for Local Government and Culture. Zabbar will be hosting professional chefs who will be showcasing food from 10 different areas of the world and visitors will be entertained by Malta’s own best artists along with a number of international traditional acts. The event will run from 7pm onwards for one night only.


A Buzzing

Music Scene I

n a few years, Malta’s music landscape has made leaps and bounds. Martina Said catches up with established and budding artists who are making their mark in the local and international music scene.


principal roles, earned himself a Grammy nomination and been voted Gramophone Magazine’s 2012 Artist of the Year. His latest Decca Classics album, titled Amore and released last year, is his fifth solo recording for the prestigious label. His list of achievements is truly inspiring, but there are several landmark events that stand out among the rest. He’s sung with leading orchestras and at renowned festivals including London’s BBC Proms. After co-headlining 2012’s Last Night of the BBC Proms, he returned to the London festival last September for two performances to close the summer, including an open-air concert at Hyde Park. Joseph Calleja was also the featured soloist at the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Stockholm and was chosen by the President to perform a private concert for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Last year, he had the privilege of meeting US President Barack Obama and

gave a surprise performance at the 2013 Kennedy Centre Honors in Washington – the highest awards in the US given to individuals who made a significant contribution to American culture through performing arts. Complementing his celebrity status and his love for his homeland, Joseph Calleja was appointed Malta’s first Cultural Ambassador in 2012. Upon receiving the invitation, which he said came as a surprise, Calleja said “it’s nice to be recognised in your country and I love Malta. My summer concert on the island is a tribute to this beautiful island and its people who I am honoured to call compatriots.” ➜

Photo: Brian Grech

oseph Calleja is undoubtedly among the finest talents that has taken his country’s name far and beyond. Blessed with a powerful, clear and deep voice that has got him compared to the likes of Enrico Caruso and Luciano Pavarotti, he has easily become one of the most sought-after tenors in the world today. He has graced many stages across all corners of the earth – from New York’s Metropolitan Opera and Los Angeles Opera in the US to the Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin and London’s Royal Opera House among many others. He’s recently been nominated for a 2014 International Opera Award in the Reader’s Choice category, which will be presented on 7th April at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Among other performances across the globe, he is also due to return to the Metropolitan Opera in New York later this year for its 2014-15 season. At just 35 years of age, he has performed a notable number of






J duo Tenishia made milestones last year ranking among the World’s Top 100 DJs in the DJ Mag poll for the third consecutive year. The annual poll is based on public voting and it is estimated that around 35,000 DJs from around the world compete for a place in this prestigious poll.


Earlier in 2013, the Maltese duo closed the Trance Stage at Europe’s biggest dance festival, Tomorrowland, held in Belgium. Joven Grech, 32, and Cyprian Cassar, 30, the two DJs that make up Tenishia, have been immersed in music from a young age and both consider their careers as DJs something of a passion. “My career started when I was only 15,” says Joven. “I joined a community radio station called Radju Kottoner, quickly followed by my first local club residency, when I caught the attention of the DJ of the club I attended regularly.” Cyprian’s experience with music began at the age of 10, when he was introduced to the piano, and had already passed several piano grades by age 16. “I then started going to clubs and dance music events, and got into current music genres much more than the orchestral piano pieces I was learning at piano lessons. Aged 20 I met Joven at a bar, and after meeting and trying new sounds at my studio we decided to start producing together, which is when Tenishia was born.” Besides having a blast together, the two have succeeded in things that they only dreamed about back when they first began. “Little did we know we would be called on stage by the number one DJ worldwide, Armin Van Buuren, while he played our track or that we would get to play at some of the world’s biggest events like Tomorrowland. We’re also proud that we’ve successfully released an album, organised our own concerts and made it into the World’s Top 100 DJs list, and climbed up to 50th position.” They recall some of their fondest memories to date: “our recent gig in Hanoi, Vietnam,” says Joven “with over 300,000 people attending was not just incredible but also an honour for any DJ to play for such a huge crowd.” Cyprian agrees, but considers playing at Tomorrowland festival to be one of his top experiences. “It is surely one of the best-organised events in the world – everything you see is fully branded reflecting their fable theme; even cups and pizza bases!” Among their many plans this year, Joven and Cyprian are determined to release as many great and original tracks as possible, some of which are collaborations with big vocalists in their genre of music. “We also just got a USA DJ Visa, and are now licensed to perform in America where the market is booming at the moment.” ➜









Palazzo Parisio One of Malta’s not-so-hidden Treasures.

Visit Palazzo Parisio in Naxxar. A Unique 19th Century Maltese Aristocrat’s Private Residence & Gardens with a delightful Garden Restaurant, Luna.

House & Garden Visits: Daily from 9am until 5pm Luna the Restaurant - Lunch & Tea Room: Tuesday to Sunday 9am until 6pm. Dinner: Wednesday to Saturday 7:30pm until late.

Luna The Restaurant - Tea Room - Boutique Gifts - Audio Guided Tours

2 9 , V I C T O R Y S Q U A R E , N A X X A R - M A L T A • W W W . PA L A Z Z O PA R I S I O . C O M

Photo: Marc Hibbert, London




alletta-born singer Matina shot to fame this March as she raced straight into the UK Music Week Chart Top 30 with her first release ‘Rise’, which broke into the Upfront Club Chart ahead of numerous other major acts. Matina began training in classical singing at the age of 12 and gained experience performing locally on national television, as well as with her father Paul Borg’s band, Versatile Brass, which gave her the opportunity to perform for the President of Malta, the Minister for Tourism and Culture, at the Vatican City for Pope Benedict XVI, and to Prince Edward. “I moved to London when I was 17 to further my studies,” says Matina, “and while in the UK, I started developing my song writing skills and joined several function bands. In 2012 I signed a record deal with a London based label, Coast, and am working hard towards my dream pop career as Matina.”

Photo: Julian Hanford, London

The talented 21 year old considers completing a Vocal Degree with Honours at the age of 19 to be a highlight of her journey, followed by being chosen from a tough audition and signed to Coast record label. “Singing comes so naturally to me I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m very focused on this exciting new project, using all my new skills from the Academy of Contemporary Music and working extremely hard in the recording studio.” Her music has made it to the Music Week Club Charts and various other charts in the UK and Malta. She says that seeing her name listed among massive international talent is very rewarding and is eagerly anticipating the imminent release of her second single. “It’s really upbeat, fun and perfect for the club dance scene. The thought of finally being able to bring the tracks recorded in the studio to life is going to be hard work but so much fun.” She’s also

keen to perform before a local crowd sometime soon – “these are exciting times for Malta and there will be opportunities for me to perform my new music to a really fun home crowd.” In spite of her steady string of achievements, however, Matina likes to keep her feet firmly on the ground. “It is good to dream and aim high, and I truly do. But I am also realistic. This is just the beginning of my career and considering the achievements so far, I definitely can say I am a happy girl.” ➜

Photo: Reenie Wilkins, London




aia Cauchi clinched the top spot at the 2013 Junior Eurovision song contest held last year in Ukraine. For her mere 11 years, she has achieved heaps. Before becoming the first Maltese person to win any form of Eurovision victory, for which she was bestowed the country’s highest honour of Gieh Ir-Repubblika, she’s also been making a name for herself by participating in a variety of competitive festivals and TV shows, some local and others international. One of her first impressive titles came with placing first in the international junior division of popular Italian song contest San Remo Junior in 2012. Following her success, she was recognised in Malta with an International Achievement Award at the 2013 Malta Music Awards, and received the same honour again this year following her success in the Junior Eurovision.


Gaia also participated in the popular Italian TV show Ti Lascio Una Canzone in 2011, presented by the renowned Antonella Clerici. Through the programme, she’s had the pleasure of singing with such highly acclaimed singers as Alessandra Amoroso, Alex Britti and Joseph Calleja. In spite of all this, however, Gaia admits that the achievement she is proudest of is her Junior Eurovision victory last November in Kiev. She recalls a funny moment in Kiev which she’ll never forget – “After my mother finished straightening my hair, she thought that she switched off the straightener, but apparently she didn’t. I took a quick nap and as I did not realise that it was on, I burnt my elbow. I’ve still got the mark but I remember it as a nice moment because it gave me luck.”

Photo: Joseph Agius


Her experience in Kiev has certainly opened new doors for Gaia. “This year, I’m taking part in the Eurovision in Copenhagen, Denmark, and in the finals of Next Star in Romania. After that, I’ll just wait and see what the future has in store for me. All I know is that for the next few years, I will still be in school but I will still be singing.”


A Place

in the sun


ith its warm climate, relatively low cost of living, safe environment, residency programmes for foreigners and gentler taxation than other parts of Europe, Malta makes for an attractive property investment location. Sarah Micallef discovers what the local property market has to offer.

Maltese property prices have experienced a number of shifts over the past few years, with the local market enjoying strong growth between 2000 and 2007, only for prices to fall in 2008 due to the ripple effect of the global financial crisis. The property market began to recover in 2011, yet prices began to fall once more in 2012. Throughout 2013 and going on to 2014, according to the experts, the market seems to be on the mend once more, making it the perfect time to invest in property on the Maltese islands. Within today’s buyer’s market, there are plenty of options for the savvy investor, depending on the

budget available. If you’re looking to buy a property in Malta but don’t have a large budget, several options are available from smaller, modern apartments to unrestored historical buildings which can be done up over time. For a middle of the range budget, a variety of properties from maisonettes, town houses and penthouses to houses of character and even farmhouses and villas are an option. Should your budget be more generous, there are also a number or luxury properties to look out for in high-end areas and luxury developments, many enjoying stunning country or sea views.

Photo: Rene Rossignaud

As is the case everywhere, location also plays a part in the type of property available for your budget. In Malta, central locations such as Attard, Balzan, Lija, Naxxar and Mosta as well as Sliema and some of its neighbours, on the eastern coast, are the most sought after, and often fetch the highest prices. One can find more affordable, holiday residences in the northern areas including Mellieha and Bugibba as well as some charming character homes which could be done up beautifully in southern areas like Birgu and Siggiewi. The capital city, Valletta, is also experiencing a regeneration, with an increasing number of people purchasing and renovating the striking old buildings that line its historical streets. The sister isle of Gozo is also worth a mention for those looking to invest in property in the Maltese isles, with prices often coming in lower than those in Malta for the same sort of properties. ➜

PROPERTY Property type: Apartment Location: Ta’ Monita Residence, Marsascala Price: One-bedroom from €104,000; two-bedroom from €119,000; three-bedroom from €158,000 Ta’ Monita Residence is a new, lifestyle and standard-setting development built on the commanding heights overlooking Marsascala bay. The complex covers an area of over 16,000 square metres and offers apartments ranging from studio flats to threebedroom apartments and penthouses. The facilities include a lovely communal swimming pool, a tranquil piazza with commercial prospects and underground parking. Most apartments command panoramic sea views.

What the property market has to offer... A selection of properties currently for sale within the Maltese islands in ascending order. Property type: Penthouse Location: St Julian’s Price: €170,000 This lovely, two-bedroom penthouse is found within a small block, in a central and quiet, prime location, yet just minutes from the St Julian’s promenade. The property comprises an open-plan kitchen/living/ dining, two bedrooms (one complete with a walk-in wardrobe), a main bathroom and two terraces (front terrace measuring approximately 46 square metres and with distant sea and valley views). This penthouse is being sold fully furnished and with one-car space. Available from Remax (Ref No: 240021060-162)

Available from Tumas Developments


Property type: Apartment Location: St Paul’s Bay Price: €245,000

Property type: House of Character Location: Birkirkara Price: €470,000

This second-floor fully furnished apartment is finished to very high specifications, featuring an entrance hallway leading onto an openplan kitchen, living and dining area combined with fully fitted kitchen including all appliances. It boasts stunning sea and country views which can be enjoyed from both inside and the front balcony. Furthermore one finds a main bathroom, two double bedrooms (main with ensuite shower room), two back balconies and a two car street-level garage.

This converted house of character is conveniently situated just off the bypass, having a wonderful and totally private walled garden measuring approximately 700 square metres. The accommodation comprises a hallway leading onto an internal courtyard, large kitchen/living room leading onto the garden, dining room, living room, study, three bedrooms (two opening onto a very large sun terrace), three bathrooms (one ensuite) and large room on the roof.

Available from Frank Salt (Ref No: 708702)

Available from Cassar & Cooper Real Estate (Ref No: 8524)

PROPERTY Property type: Farmhouse Location: Gharb, Gozo Price: €635,000 This 430-year-old farmhouse is situated on the outskirts of the tranquil sought-after village of Gharb. Built in 1575, it enjoys two lovely mature gardens with unobstructed country and sea views. The house itself offers a grand entrance into a huge courtyard which leads onto a combined kitchen/living/dining room  with a traditional arched ceiling, mangers and a functional fireplace. Also on the ground floor one can find a bedroom with an ensuite bathroom. A laundry room upstairs leads to three double bedrooms, all with ensuite bathrooms. Available from Giovanni Estates Property type: House of Character Location: Zurrieq Price: €722,000 This stunning house of character is situated in the peaceful village of Zurrieq. This expertly finished home has a massive open plan kitchen/living/dining, guest bathroom, cellar and living room overlooking the magnificent outside entertaining area, and a large pool where one can enjoy fantastic country views. The first floor features four double bedrooms, main with ensuite bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe, main bathroom, study room and laundry room. Available from Engel & Völkers Sara Grech Malta (Ref No: W-01VMOJ) Property type: Penthouse Location: Sliema Price: €2,900,000 This luxurious seafront penthouse enjoys stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Comprising 700 square metres, it offers the perfect combination of styles and contrasts. The elegant and modern design of this exclusive penthouse is of a very high quality. It boasts two extensive living/dining areas, a massive 200 square metre terrace, four bathrooms, three double bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and a very modern kitchen that is fully equipped. It is air-conditioned throughout. Available from Homes of Quality (Ref No: 911057)


What the property market has to offer... A selection of properties currently for sale within the Maltese islands in ascending order.


KNIGHTS OF MALTA The Knights of Malta is a unique series of expertly captured scenes from the original tales of the life and times of the Crusader Knights. Discover how, in 1530, Grand Master L’Isle Adam entered the gates of the fortified city. An extraordinary achievement that depicts the energy of those who lived, fought and died in bygone centuries. Open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm. Available in 13 languages. 14/19, Casa Magazzini, Magazines Street, Mdina. T: 2145 1342; E: Kindly ask for your special offer on block tickets.

MDINA EXPERIENCE Take an unforgettable 30 minutes to experience Mdina’s fascinating journey through time. Relive Mdina’s 7,000 years of tragedy and triumph. The cult of the mother goddess, the shipwreck of St Paul, the medieval city half destroyed by an earthquake and gloriously rebuilt, Mdina defended by the fighting spirit of the Knights of St John – The Mdina Experience traces the fascinating story, thousands of years back. Open seven days a week from 10am to 4.30pm. Available in 12 languages. Mdina Experience, 7, Mesquita Square, Mdina. T: 2145 4322/2145 0055; E:

Valletta Living History Valletta Living History is a high definition multi-lingual audio-visual show depicting the history, culture and lifestyle of Malta and the Maltese, showing everyday at the Embassy Complex in the heart of Valletta. Relive the Great Siege between the brave Knights and fierce Ottomans, the French and British rule, and World War II till today. Many recommend it as the best first stop when visiting Valletta. Open seven days a week with shows at 10, 10.45, 11.30am, 12.15, 1, 1.45, 2.30 and 3.15pm. Valletta Living History, Level 2, The Embassy Complex, St Lucia Street, Valletta. T: 2722 0071; W:

Experience Malta’s gems in a fun and innovative way Join a Segway Malta tour and be prepared to be amazed. Whether you are interested in Malta’s rich history and culture, or you want to savour the picturesque scenery while gliding though cultivated fields and enjoying breathtaking sea views away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Segway Malta experience will surely not fall short of your expectations. M: 7930 0097; E: email



An entertaining and educational experience Mediterraneo Marine Park promotes marine life conservation against the stunning backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea. As Malta’s only marine park, the ‘Mediterraneo’ is a leading island attraction with tourists and locals alike. Boasting an enviable coastal location, the Park promotes interactive participation with a varied selection of marine mammals including dolphins and sea lions, parrots and reptiles. The Mediterraneo Marine Park remains open all year round. The Park is conveniently located just off the main coast road, enabling good transport links with most hotels and tourist accommodation. The Park advocates animal welfare through an interactive learning environment inspired by the motto ‘Education, Emotion and FUN’. Visitors may participate in various animal interaction programmes which provide superb entertainment whilst increasing awareness and conservation responsibilities. Presentations featuring

dolphins, sea lions and parrots are held daily. These presentations offer an amazing experience to aid a better understanding of the animals and an appreciation of their individual characteristics. One great encounter is offered through the SWIM with the Dolphin programme – a truly unique and once in a lifetime experience that is not to be missed! The Park also features a reptile house hosting snakes, tortoises, turtles, frogs, toads, spiders, scorpions and lizards. DIDACTIC PROGRAMMES and TEAM BUILDING DAYS are also available.

T: 2137 2218/2137 6519; E: or; W:

Crafting a name

Photo: Kurt Paris


for themselves


he winners and finalists of the fourth edition of Premju Gieh l-Artiggjanat Malti – a local crafts competition aimed at raising awareness of Maltese crafts – were announced last February, bringing a wealth of talent showcased in their creations. Sarah Micallef speaks to four talented artisans whose innovative projects made it to the finals. Organised by the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business within the Commerce Department, Premju Gieh l-Artiggjanat Malti is split into three overall categories, and monetary prizes are awarded to the winners and finalists for the following: Most Innovative Product by a Newcomer; Most Innovative Product using Sustainable Processes and Materials; Most Innovative Product (Traditional Crafts); Most Innovative Product (Contemporary Crafts); Most Innovative Product by a Group of Crafts Persons; Crafts Initiatives; and Award for Inclusiveness and Integration through Crafts.

Handheld guide Download the free iMalta app to help you find your way around the islands by suggesting the best places to visit and sights to see.


Soap maker Charlene Mercieca is a finalist in the Sustainable category with her innovative Prickly Pear and Olive Soap using local ingredients. What does natural soapmaking involve? “In simple terms natural soap-making involves the rendering of fat or oil with lye, which is a highly alkaline product. When an alkali is combined with water and is added to fats like coconut oil and sunflower oil for example, a chemical reaction occurs called saponification. The lye is then neutralised and in the reaction vessel, soap (a salt) is formed together with a product called glycerine. The soap is left to set for four to six weeks.” How did you first get involved in soap-making, and how long has it been? “I’ve been into natural and alternative remedies for the past 13 years. It didn’t start out as soap-making as such, but as herbal concoctions. The healing benefits of herbs and oils always fascinated me. During these past years I’ve studied beauty therapy, herbalism and aromatherapy. This gave me a better understanding of herbs and essences, how to use them safely, their contraindications and their benefits.”

Can you tell me a little about your Prickly Pear and Olive Soap? “The idea behind most of my products is to use as many local ingredients as possible, thus reducing our carbon footprint. The soap presented is made with local olive oil, prickly pear juice and orange zest. These ingredients moisturise, exfoliate and nourish the skin. The saponified mixture is then poured into a wooden mould made out of reclaimed pine. This is left to solidify for 24 hours. The soap is then released from the mould and left to cure for six weeks.” Why did you choose to enter it for Premju Gieh l-Artiggjanat? “Just like any other artisan, artist or craftsperson, it feels great to be recognised for your hard work. I launched this product at my shop in Sliema before I applied for the award and it is one of my best selling seasonal soaps. Entering it was actually a suggestion from a few good clients of mine.” Do you have any future projects in the pipeline? “I’m currently working on rebranding my products and working on some new products, including an all natural perfume.” ➜


IDENTITY MALTA Patent Pending 4343

for future owners to pay the price of this traditional ‘feature’. This project simply adds a desired, missing function to one of the most common features of Maltese architecture, and introduces new possibilities of its reintegration in contemporary interiors. It is a novel contraption which not only adds new value to this traditional element, but can eventually increase the lifespan of the gallarija itself.”


Chris Briffa, of Chris Briffa Architects, is a finalist in the Newcomer category with his project Gallarija Miftuha (Open Balcony), featuring the rebirth of the traditional Maltese balcony. How did the Gallarija Miftuha project come about? “My friend Tim bought a flat in front of the Grand Harbour which enjoyed amazing views, but the Malta Environment and Planning Authority imposed a condition to re-install a collapsed traditional Maltese balcony or gallarija… which would pretty much hide the view from his living room. We asked ourselves: how can we make the balcony ‘disappear’ from the inside, but not from the outside? How can it be modified to accommodate the client’s desire of unobstructed views, whilst simultaneously retaining its traditional features? This challenge has been the driving force behind this project by my studio, and together with traditional craftsmen, we studied, designed and built a prototype that retains all the aesthetic and traditional qualities of the gallarija, but adds a new and much needed function.” What were the stages involved, and how long did it take to complete? 34

“The structure looks identical to the traditional balcony in its ‘closed’ position; with the operable glass purtell on top and the fixed timber pannew at the bottom. When the central lock is released from the interior, the four large glass apertures hinge out and pack on the side. The same thing happens with the lower timber panels, which unveil the hidden safety glass railing. The traditional metal locks and hinges have been manufactured by a local blacksmith, and the closing system is based on the spanjuletta method (espagnolette), which secures the large folding parts in place. The remainder is all reddeal construction, built by a local mastrudaxxa (joiner). After two years of design, detailing and discussions, the first prototype of gallarija miftuha was installed in October 2013.” What did you hope to achieve with Gallarija Miftuha? “While authorities attempt to safeguard its survival, there is an increased risk that market forces will have the upper hand on the survival of the traditional Maltese balcony. With soaring market prices of seafront properties, and indeed of any old property enjoying a grand view, it will become progressively arduous

Why did you choose to enter it for Premju Gieh l-Artiggjanat? “Gallarija Miftuha is still in prototype stage, and we need to study its performance over time and continually monitor its ease of operability and use. To do this we need to invest in its development in order to eventually establish it as a fully fledged product. This requires funding and investment, and we hoped that this prize will allow us to further our research and even legal protection.” Do you have any similar future projects in the pipeline? “We are now working on developing a product which brings together the aesthetics of the 50s and 60s television sets with today’s technology. It fuses together the vintage set, adorned with beautiful cabinetry and lacquered surfaces, with today’s flat screens, audio equipment and video sources. The first prototype should be launched at this year’s Malta Design Week in May, which is going to be held at Fort St Elmo.” ➜



Candice Fava is a finalist in the Contemporary category with her intricate ‘3 in 1 Egg Minaudière’ made out of real eggshells. What does egg art involve? “Egg art involves creating ornamental artwork using real egg shells from various birds. All the egg shells that I use are sourced from domestic birds, and are set aside for being infertile. An amazing thing about egg art is the possibility to combine different arts and crafts such as flower making, beading, sculpture and painting. I make jewellery boxes, photo frames, time-pieces, weather stations and cake toppers among others.” How did you first get involved in egg art? “I started as a very young girl. We lived on a poultry farm in Australia and were practically surrounded by eggshells. A client of ours was an egg artist and she gave me a jewellery box made

out of one of our geese eggs. I decided that I had to learn. I started experimenting on how to empty eggs, cutting them with nail scissors and painting them with nail polish.” Can you tell me a little about your project 3 in 1 Egg Minaudière? “3 in 1 Egg Minaudière is a set of ladies’ fashion accessories consisting of an evening bag, a ring box and a pendant. They are made out of recycled eggshells of decreasing sizes, which can fit into each other. The largest is made out of a real rhea egg shell; the middle sized one out of a dove egg shell and the small one out of a quail egg shell. The shells are cut into two parts and hinged with a gold plated hinge ring in the case of the larger bag and screw rings. They are painted, enamelled and decorated using Swarovski crystals, semi-precious stones and textile. The two larger ones are internally lined with silk, whilst the small pendant is enamelled externally and internally

– this strengthens the fragile shell and ensures that it can be worn safely. It took two months.” Why did you choose to enter it for Premju Gieh l-Artiggjanat? “This competition provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate one’s work and get exposure. Considering the fine quality of work that has been entered, it is an honour to have my work exhibited together with that of the other artists. I wanted to make something innovative – something which is beautiful and useful at the same time.” Do you have any future projects in the pipeline? “I am always dreaming of new designs. My biggest challenge is finding the time to make them. I participate in craft fairs and have my own shop where I create my egg art, teach egg art and sell craft supplies. I have a website www.eggartshop. com and operate an online supply store” ➜ 37

IDENTITY MALTA In fact, I do not exhibit my work anywhere as it is fragile and cannot be moved about. The local council did however organise an exhibition within my workshop some years ago, during which I was visited by thenPresident Eddie Fenech Adami.” Do you have any future projects in the pipeline? “I’m currently working on carving Fort St Angelo, but it’s still in the early stages. I’m consulting photos from different angles to help me visualise.”

Andrew Fenech

Andrew Fenech is a finalist in the Traditional category with his fire engine constructed out of Maltese stone, ‘Seagrave’. How did you first get involved in stonework? “I have always been the type to do things with my hands. When my children were young, I started experimenting with carving stone as a hobby, but my projects were simple back then. Years later when I retired, my son asked me to try to carve a motorcycle out of stone. At first I thought it was a crazy idea, but he insisted I try, and it worked. From then on I challenged myself to try more complex items.” What is the process like? “I often don’t even know what the stone is going to become. That is the challenge. Once I decide what I am going to make, I consult photos and even use toy models to help 38

visualise it in 3D. I have made models of several cars, boats and even tools and machinery among others. When I carve a car, I pay attention to all the details, even the mechanics from what’s inside the dashboard to the underside of the car.” Can you tell me a little about Seagrave? Why did you choose to enter it for Premju Gieh l-Artiggjanat? “Seagrave is a fire engine. It took about three or four months to complete. I have a lot of items which I could have entered, some more intricate and impressive, but this one fit within the time frame in which I needed to apply.” What tools did you use? “I make my own tools depending on the effect I want. Maltese stone can be difficult to work with because it is quite soft, so I have to be careful not to press too hard when holding a small piece or it might break. This has happened many times, usually when I’m just about to finish something!

And the winners are…

Introducing the overall winners of the competition. More details on their projects can be found on Most Innovative Product by a Newcomer: Clifford Carabott with his Shaker Pendant Lights. Most Innovative Product using Sustainable Processes and Materials: Joseph Mizzi with his Vazun bil-Fjuri. Most Innovative Product (Traditional Crafts): Matthew Borg with his Pjanu Klassiku. Most Innovative Product (Contemporary Crafts): Mediterranean Ceramics with their Human Sundial. Most Innovative Product by a Group of Crafts Persons: Ghaqda tan-Nar Santa Marija, Mqabba with their Raddiena Tridimensjonali fil-forma ta’ Kaxxa. Crafts Initiatives Category: Ceramika Maltija. Award for Inclusiveness and Integration through Crafts: Hospice Malta and Heritage Homes.


Your Shopping

destination of choice Since its inception in March 2010, The Point – the largest shopping mall in Malta – has succeeded in firmly establishing itself as the shopping destination of choice on the island. The Point has been innovative and bold in its strategy and marketing campaigns, giving customers an unprecedented shopping experience and becoming a popular destination for all the family. The wide variety of top brands, comfortable ambience, ease of access and ample availability of parking spaces are only some of the components that helped The Point to achieve its success. Always customer-centric, the team at The Point manages to put together a vast calendar of events targeting various age groups and tastes. Competitions and offers are also available from various outlets and the mall itself on a regular basis. The Point Shopping Mall offers an experience like no other for customers who are looking for a good mix of outlets within any budget!

For a full calendar of events visit and The Point’s Facebook Page

Style, luxury & comfort for any special occasion

Are you celebrating your anniversary, a special birthday, your honeymoon or simply want to surprise the one you love? La Valette Club will make sure you start or end your journey in an unforgettable way. La Valette Club is proud to offer an exclusive package specially designed for passengers who are celebrating a special occasion. Their services will ensure that you kick-start your trip of a lifetime in the right way, making this important day of your life the most important holiday of your life. Travel in style, luxury and comfort. Surprise and treat your loved ones with a few extras, making your trip a memorable one from start to finish.

For further information, call on T: 2369 6292 or visit 41

FASHION Burberry

Sonia Rykiel

Put a spring in your step

…with the latest fashion trends


he start of the new season brings fresh looks and fashion trends we just can’t wait to try. Sarah Micallef takes a look at what’s hot in both women’s and men’s fashion this spring. As the sun begins to tempt us out of winter’s cocoon of clothing, fresh spring trends are also doing their bit to entice us out of our worn out woollies. With the promise of summer ever nearer, and the mildest time of year on our fair islands to dress for, here’s what you’ll be wearing this spring as you feel the sun’s warming rays on your skin once more.

a 90s minimalist aesthetic are perfect for spring 2014. Combine pastel colours with sport luxe detailing, androgynous cuts and sheer layers in crisp white or sorbet shades for a high-fashion edge. Look to designers like Alexander Wang and Jil Sander for inspiration.

Floral prints Come spring time, nature isn’t the only place the flowers will be blooming. A sure-fire favourite every year, the floral trend really comes into its own at this time; from ditsy prints you can pair with grungy accessories to Tropicana brights and larger blooms. For fun ways to work the floral trend this spring, check out runway collections by House of Holland and Fausto Puglisi.

90s minimalist Oozing sophistication, clean cuts and light textures reminiscent of

Textured pastels Perfectly echoing the light and fresh feeling you get come spring time, pastels are another firm favourite at this time of year. This time round, elevate your pastel colour choices with interesting textures in the form of brocade fabrics, feminine lace and luminescent sequins. Pastel choices were all over the spring runways at Christopher Kane, Sonia Rykiel and Versace. Bohemian Ring in the heady days and balmy nights of summer in style with ethnic prints, fringe details and folksy embroidery. Natural fibres and materials like suede, wood, metal, beads and feathers also add to this look, and look perfect together. Check out runway looks by designers like Roberto Cavalli for ideas on how to work this season’s bohemian trend to a T. ➜

Fausto Puglisi


FASHION 60s mod Fashion in the swinging 60s made a lot more than the mini skirt cool. Dress like a mod and play around with bold colours, boxy and structured silhouettes, and thigh-skimming shift dresses this spring for a sharp take on the 60s. Spring collections by Viktor & Rolf and Burberry demonstrate this trend to perfection. Spring monochrome Think sharp lines and defined silhouettes in monochrome colours combined with hypnotic, optical illusion prints for an artsy yet powerful effect. Going monochrome in a season most commonly associated with colours and new life may appear a little risky, but is sure to score you some serious style kudos. Take notes from designers like Helmut Lang and Marc Jacobs to pull this look off with panache.

Christopher Kane

Christopher Kane

Brian Atwood Burberry

For the boys Nautical Yearn for a life on the open sea? Even if not, the nautical trend is popular among both men and women once the weather turns warmer. Put away winter’s dark colours and embrace primary colours, nautical stripes and board shorts. You can even add a futuristic element through the introduction of fabrics like neoprene for some added edge. ➜ 44

House of Holland

Helmut Lang

Jil Sander

Roberto Cavalli

FASHION Floral Who said flowers are just for girls? Floral prints are appearing everywhere in men’s fashion, giving a chance to the more daring among us to sport a rural look featuring floral motifs. Coordinate these pieces with neutrals and muted tones, lightweight bomber jackets and a must-have laidback attitude. Texture A common factor in all quintessential contemporary casual menswear collections is variety when it comes to texture. Mixing up leather, mesh, denim and tweed gives a whole new dimension to your look. Combine sporty silhouettes with tailored pieces for the ultimate modern wardrobe, while introducing a statement accessory, such as a beautiful leather satchel, for top marks in the style stakes.

Ready to shop till you drop? Check out Malta’s top shopping destinations.

Valletta Our beautiful capital city offers more than history and architecture. Among the beautiful Baroque buildings (and sometimes even inside them), lie several high street outlets for a perfect dose of retail therapy amid the culture and history lessons. Don’t miss: Republic Street, Merchants Street and The Embassy Complex


St Julian’s

For the more discerning shopper, the area opposite the upmarket complex of Portomaso houses a selection of designer shops. A shopping complex just down the road from the nightlife capital of Paceville is also open on Sundays. Don’t miss: Bay Street Shopping Complex and Portomaso

The two main shopping streets in Sliema are undoubtedly Malta’s most popular shopping destination, and with good reason. Boasting a variety of high street and designer brands, Sliema is also home to the islands’ biggest shopping malls. Don’t miss: Bisazza Street, Tower Road, The Plaza Shopping Centre and The Point Shopping Mall


Armani Jeans

Bay Street Complex

Giorgio Armani’s casual line ‘Armani Jeans’ expresses a vision of a young, casual, modern and on-trend style through a collection that goes beyond denim to offer all types of fashion apparel, footwear and accessories for men and women. We look forward to welcoming you in our stores! Bay Street, St Julian’s: Mon-Sun 10am-10pm; The Point Shopping Mall, Tigné Point, Sliema: Mon-Sat 9.30am-7.30pm

In the heart of St Julian’s, Bay Street is a shopping and leisure complex with more than 60 shops ranging from high street fashion to designerwear, jewellery and shoes, sportswear and electronic equipment, music and software, perfumes and other speciality shops; and in between all the shopping, a variety of cafés, restaurants and bars provide a much needed break. Bay Street Complex also boasts a specialised artisan market and a large games room, and hosts several events and attractions. It is the only complex in Malta where shops open from 10am till 10pm, and catering and entertainment establishments open till late.

The Point

Bay Street

Lightweight and locked:

the new Samsonite LITE-LOCKED Lightness has never been so secure. Security has never been so light. Samsonite®, the world’s largest luggage brand, is thrilled to introduce LITE-LOCKED™, the pioneering light-weight collection that merges two key features deeply embedded in Samsonite’s brand DNA: a three-point locking system and the revolutionary CURV® material, exclusive to Samsonite in the luggage arena. For further information contact us on T: 2202 1401 or E: samsonitemalta@vfgmalta. com. Lost luggage? Call or SMS the SAMSONITE Malta 24/7 customer line on M: 9996 9172. Open Mon-Sun 8am-8pm. Samsonite Malta, Arrival/Departure Halls, Malta International Airport, Luqa.

Tommy Hilfiger

As one of the world’s leading premium lifestyle brands, Tommy Hilfiger delivers superior styling, quality and value to consumers worldwide. The brand celebrates the essence of Classic American Cool and provides a refreshing twist to the preppy fashion genre. Hilfiger Denim collection is slightly more ‘fashion forward’ than the main Tommy Hilfiger label. Designs are inspired by American classics and finished with a modern edge and fresh spirit. Valletta – 307, Republic Street: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm; Sun 10am-1pm; Bay Street, St Julian’s: Mon-Sun 10am-10pm; The Point Shopping Mall, Tigné Point, Sliema: Mon-Sat 9.30am-7.30pm; Arkadia – Victoria, Gozo: Mon-Sun 9am-8pm



Hello Yellow

MEXX Level 1, Baystreet Shopping Complex, St Julian’s. Open every day 10am-10pm. Constitution Street, Mosta. Open Mon-Sat 9am-1am, 4pm-7pm. Pjazza TignÊ, The Point. Open Mon-Sat 9.30am-7.30pm. Republic Street, Valletta. Open Mon-Sat 9am-7pm.


MEXX presents the new spring collection at its stores. This new collection lets the sun shine in with a little help from lemon yellow on blazers, shirts, scarves and bottoms. Combined with a jacquard fabric that quietly says quality, style and timelessness, this collection gives you individual pieces that are perfect for your spring wardrobe.

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Rabbit feast



abbit meat has long held a place in many a Maltese person’s diet, and recipes for rabbit dishes have been passed on from generation to generation. Martina Said looks into this culinary tradition and its origins.


The humble beginnings of the popular local dish stuffat tal-fenek, or rabbit stew, are rooted in a bygone era. Nowadays, we tend to associate an indulgence in rabbit meat with an outing enjoyed with family or friends to a specialised restaurant, but in the past it was considered a Sunday treat and a substantially nutritious meal. Celebrated Maltese chef Karmen Tedesco says that rabbits were introduced to Malta during the period of the Knights of St John. “The fenkata (rabbit-based food feast) never appeared in documentation linked to this time in our history, but it is known that wild rabbits were hunted and reserved for the nobility, and if commoners were caught hunting rabbits they would be arrested and sentenced to work for five years on the galleys.” What is documented, however, is that during these times, rabbit meat was cooked differently to the way we cook it today. “Rabbit meat was mixed with onions, garlic and spices, and enveloped within a pastry, very much like our famous pastizzi (pea or cheese cakes). The fenkata must have evolved much later.” Karmen explains that the traditional term for a rabbit meal is stuffat tal-fenek, although it later evolved into the fenkata which refers to the way the meal is divided into a first and second course. This element is also a later development from the original stew. “In order to call it a fenkata, you must have a portion of spaghetti as a starter, served with the rabbit sauce but with no pieces of rabbit, except for the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs, which are chopped finely and added to the sauce. For seconds, pieces of rabbit are served with more of the stew together with potatoes and vegetables.”

CUISINE Karmen explains that the base for the stew is made up of onions and garlic. The rabbit is first fried alone to seal the meat and bring out the flavour of the rabbit, but the final cooking takes place in the sauce. The rabbit pieces are put aside, and in those same juices, onion and garlic are cooked, together with tomato paste and white wine, although using red wine is simply a matter of preference. Lots of bay leaves together with mixed spices are put in towards the end. “All these ingredients are local produce, and most of these food items were grown on family farms.” The use of tomato paste instead of fresh tomatoes, for instance, has historical significance. “Making a paste was one of the only ways to preserve tomatoes – our ancestors depended upon the production of the crop during the summer months and made it into a paste, often done by the housewife, to last through the winter,” says Karmen. “She would chop the tomatoes, squash them and purée them to remove the skin and seeds. In villages, they would turn a chair upside down to have the four legs pointed upwards, tie a piece of muslin to the four corners with a bowl underneath and put the puréed tomatoes in the muslin to drain the water. After stirring for a few days, they’d collect the paste and store it in a bowl covered with oil to seal out the air and preserve it.” They also preserved peas to create a stock for winter, and were easily differentiated with their pale green and brown colour. “More recently, tinned peas started being used, the mushy type, which would be rinsed and thrown in at the very end before


serving the stew. These are a lot greener than the preserved kind.” Around 100 years ago, a meal consisting of rabbit or chicken was considered a Sunday treat. “People couldn’t afford to buy meats the way we afford them nowadays, so many households, especially in rural areas, had their own rabbit hutch, and often chickens too. During the week most people followed a vegetarian diet, because vegetables were more abundant and cheaper. Such meals as minestra (thick vegetable soup), for instance, were very popular, and called ‘the poor man’s meal’.” Karmen adds that a plate of rabbit meat once a week was considered important and nourishing, as rabbit is a lean meat which is low in fat and high in protein. Over the years, this traditional dish has undergone a few variations, some as a result of modern

adaptations and others altogether quirky. One such variation is the serving of chips rather than stewed potatoes, which Karmen says was a result of their introduction to Malta by the British during their occupation here. Rabbit meat has also been marinated in beer instead of wine, fried instead of stewed and, for a somewhat more gourmet touch, served with a chocolate sauce. “What I notice when I compare our rabbit stew to other British or Irish stews, for example, is that many have a binding agent, like flour or cornflour, which we do not have in ours. We accept the gravy to be runny and don’t expect it to be thick.” Baking the rabbit rather than stewing it offers a pleasant alternative. “Although it is not ➜ 53


the typical fenkata, I do like putting rabbit pieces in a dish, usually a glazed earthenware dish, with a lid. When baking, you put layers of onions at the bottom, bay leaves and pieces of rabbit, and cover it completely with sliced raw potatoes, wine and some fennel seed on the potatoes. After two hours of baking, you get a succulent flavour without compromising the meat. Vegetables can be served as an accompaniment.” A rabbit pie is also a tasty option. Karmen says it is commonly put together with the remaining pieces of rabbit from the fenkata, which are chopped up finely and put into a sauce – similar to the stew – of onions, garlic, peas, carrots and spices. She advises to ensure the sauce is not watery. “Line the dish with pastry, ideally shortcrust but some prefer puff, put in the cooked mixture and cover in more pastry. Something similar to this was the only thing documented in the time of the knights. It appears that the rabbit pie came before the stew.” Ideal for the summer months, Karmen says she’s also cooked rabbit on the BBQ, and was pleased with the delicious results. She marinated the rabbit in lemon juice and paprika, to give the meat a slightly reddish colour and left it to cook on the grill over a very low flame. The ways in which you can cook rabbit meat are numerous, but Karmen’s preference is to stick to traditional methods, with perhaps slight modifications. And, with a dish as tasty and authentic as our traditional stuffat tal-fenek or fenkata, there’s no reason why tradition should not be adhered to. 54


Al Molo - Portomaso Yacht Marina Level Situated on the lower deck of the Portomaso Marina, Al Molo restaurant offers its patrons an upmarket feeling in a casual yet fine dining atmosphere. The wellbalanced menu consists of an array of excellent combinations of seafood, meats, selected Maltese dishes and tempting home-made sweets prepared by acclaimed chef Andrew Pace. The team at Al Molo invites you to share its passion through an unforgettable culinary experience. Also look out for our Sunday Spit Roast lunch consisting of duck, lamb, pork and beef, starting from Sunday 13th April. T: 2138 4300; M: 9988 5396; E: Al Molo, Level -5, Portomaso Marina.

Baba Ganoush Located in the heart of Rabat, Baba Ganoush brings you mouth-watering dishes originating from Lebanon and Syria, using the freshest ingredients mixed with exotic herbs and spices. Choose from mezes like hummus, tabouleh and falafel, followed by outstanding main courses and decadent desserts. Vegetarian dishes are also available. You can dine inside or on the terrace, where shisha is also served.   Open: Tue-Sun for lunch and dinner. Booking recommended. T: 2766 6027; M: 9986 3686; E:; W: Baba Ganoush, 25, Main Street, Rabat.

D-Bar Café Bar & Restaurant D-Bar is a family-run restaurant, pizzeria and bar, set in St Joseph Square in the village of Qala, Gozo. Specialities include the famous home-made ravioli, BBQ spare ribs, fried rabbit in white wine, chicken curry and an extended pizza menu. Come and try these dishes that are regularly praised by the food critics of our islands. So next time you’re in Gozo, make sure it’s a date at D-Bar.

Open: Tue-Sun 6pm-11pm; Sat-Sun 12pm-2.30pm. T: 2155 6242; M: 7942 7014. D-Bar Café Bar & Restaurant, St Joseph Square, Qala, Gozo.

Dee Goose Restaurant Specialising in Maltese cuisine and Continental dishes, Dee Goose has been described as having a “traditional homey atmosphere” with “wonderful traditional home cooking at a very reasonable price” by satisfied customers commenting on Tripadvisor. John, owner and chef for the past 34 years, is renowned for his delicious specialities, namely his bragjoli (beef olives), rabbit, lamb stew and duck.

Open: Mon-Sat 12.30pm-11pm; Sun 6pm till late. For reservations, call on M: 9924 9490. Dee Goose Restaurant, 7, Guze Fava Street, Sliema.



Dine West Dine West is a family-run restaurant and pizzeria situated in the beautiful village of Imgarr, Malta. Come and try our delicious food which is always cooked to order, using the best ingredients. Choose from a selection of starters, pasta, rabbit, fish, charcoal-grilled beef, pork ribs, chicken, home-made burgers, etc. We also offer a variety of pizzas (not served during Sunday lunch). We also have free Wi-Fi. We don’t serve fast food but we serve good food as fast as we can! Open: Mon, Wed-Sat 7pm-10pm; Sun 12pm-3pm, 7pm-10pm. Tue closed. T: 2143 4014; M: 9929 9980. Dine West, 30, Fisher Road, Mgarr, Malta.

Il-Barri Restaurant Situated in the spacious Mgarr pjazza, Il-Barri Restaurant is a family-run business now in its third generation. While always renowned for Maltese specialties such as rabbit, bragjoli and horsemeat, it also offers a varied à la carte menu, including grills and fresh fish. The contemporary décor, coupled with amazing scenes of the countryside surrounding the village, ensure that the customer has a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Open for lunch from Tuesday to Sunday between 12pm and 2.30pm; and for dinner from 6pm onwards. Mondays open only for dinner. T: 2157 3235; M: 7961 7744; E:; Il-Barri Restaurant, Church Square, Mgarr.

L’ Aroma Situated on the Sliema seafront, L’Aroma restaurant prides itself on the preparation of traditional Mediterranean cuisine. The menu comprises a selection of fresh fish, fine meat cuts and pasta dishes, all at great value for money. One of the house specialities, the traditional rabbit dish, is regarded by many locals as the best in town. L’Aroma is a great spot to sit down, unwind and watch the world go by.

T: 2131 7633; E: L’Aroma, 17, Ghar il-Lembi Street, Sliema.

L’ Ortolan Restaurant Enjoy a mélange of tastes at L’Ortolan Restaurant, serving a new fusion of Mediterranean cuisine incorporating the tastes and influences that shaped the Maltese islands. The sumptuous breakfast buffet is served in the elegant ambience of the main restaurant. As day fades into night, L’Ortolan offers a new spring menu featuring irresistible blends of Mediterranean cooking. On balmy summer nights, the elegant dining room extends on to the large al fresco terrace, with a view onto the illuminated pool area. T: 2211 0000; E:; W:



Maltese Mama Maltese Mama serves authentic Maltese and Italian cuisines complemented with great service in a relaxing atmosphere. To start, patrons are offered a complimentary plate of traditional Maltese antipasti, served with fresh bread and galletti. Starters include home-made soups, octopus, scallops, clams, the speciality shellfish platter and pasta dishes. A variety of main courses is also available, with specialities including fish and traditional Maltese dishes such as rabbit and bragjoli (beef olives). T: 2737 7024; M: 7780 5312; E: Maltese Mama, 19/2, Paceville Avenue, St Julian’s.

Menqa L’Antika Nestled in the picturesque fishing village of Marsalforn on the tranquil island of Gozo, Menqa L’Antika offers authentic Mediterranean gastronomy with a modern flair. Chef patron Gordon Camilleri has created an exciting menu using the islands’ freshest produce, including antipasti, fresh pasta, fish and shellfish, tender beef cuts, flambé dishes and home-made desserts. Attentive service, exceptional food and a relaxing ambience make Menqa L’Antika ideal for romantic dinners, dinners with families and friends, as well as larger parties. Open for dinner on Tuesday to Sunday from 6pm onwards and for lunch on Friday to Sunday from 11am to 3pm. T: 2730 0309; M: 7920 3623; E:; W: Menqa L’Antika Restaurant, Il-Menqa, Marsalforn, Gozo.

Palazzo Preca Restaurant Palazzo Preca Restaurant is repeatedly awarded highly as one of the best restaurants in Malta and Gozo. It is situated in one of the most well-known historic streets in Valletta, within a beautiful 16th-century palazzo in Strait Street. An extensive and creative menu provides mouth-watering choices of food and fine local and foreign wines. Last but not least do not miss out on our delicious home-made desserts. Professional, dedicated, attentive staff will help you to ensure that your visit is a completely enjoyable experience. Wednesday night is our special night when the lights are turned off and the restaurant is entirely lit by candles, creating an intimate and romantic ambience. Open Sun lunch. Mon closed all day. Bookings are recommended and are to be confirmed by phone. T: 2122 6777; M: 9986 6640; W: Palazzo Preca, 54, Strait Street, Valletta.

Rebekah’s Situated discreetly on the heights of Mellieha, Rebekah’s is a converted house of character that welcomes diners to an evening of fine dining. You may choose to dine in the airy internal courtyard or by the fireplace in the cosy interior. Thanks to Rebekah’s excellent wine list, that brings together wines from all over the world, every dish is excellently accompanied by a wine that matches any given dish like a glove – accentuating even the subtlest nuances of flavour. Average price: €37 per person. Free pick-up and drop-off from anywhere in Mellieha. Open on Monday to Saturday 7pm-10.30pm and Sunday lunch. T: 2152 1145; M: 7947 8896; E:; W: Rebekah’s Restaurant, 12, Triq it-Tgham, Mellieha.



Ta’ Marija

Ta’ Marija has been awarded Best Maltese Food Restaurant from 2005 to 2013. A stone’s throw away from the majestic Mosta Dome, the superb Ta’ Marija Restaurant is run by a charming family who hasn’t just got the recipes in the kitchen right, but has also succeeded in concocting and mastering a unique recipe of running a top-notch eatery. Every Wednesday and Friday night, Ta’ Marija organises a Maltese traditional extravaganza night with musicians and singers, followed by a Maltese folklore dance show. Transport from and to your holiday accommodation can be arranged directly with Ta’ Marija. Reservations are recommended. Open for lunch and dinner. T: 2143 4444; E:; W: Ta’ Marija Restaurant, Constitution Street, Mosta.

Vermell Bistro

Get ready to take a bite out of Vermell – meaning red in Catalan – which best describes the red theme which flows through the bistro, creating a warm ambience. Tucked away in a quiet corner of St Julian’s, Vermell has a glass facade through which you can enjoy the gorgeous view of Spinola Bay from within or from its outdoor terrace. The menu focuses on Mediterranean cuisine, with signature dishes made using fresh local fish, seafood and different cuts of meat. The team at Vermell strives to offer customers genuine food, efficient and friendly service, and most importantly, a dining experience worth remembering. Open: Mon-Sat from 6pm onwards and Sun noon onwards for lunch. Sunday dinner and lunch during the week by reservation only. T: 2137 5567; M: 7944 6158/7902 0991. Vermell Restaurant, Spinola Bay, St Julian’s.


Malata Situated in the heart of Valletta, opposite the Grand Master’s Palace, Malata Restaurant serves the finest in French and Mediterranean cuisine. In winter the 500-year-old cellar, with its vaulted ceiling, hosts up to 42 covers and is cosy and candlelit. The walls are decorated with fascinating memorabilia and amusing caricatures of politicians past and present. In summer and for as long as the weather holds, lunch and dinner are served al fresco on the large terrace. Weather permitting live jazz bands play every Tuesday outside on the terrace. Free bottle of wine on presentation of this advert.

Open: noon-2.30pm, 7-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-3pm Sun. T: 2123 3967; M: 7942 7569; E:; W: Malata, Palace Square, Valletta.

Ta’ Kris

Restaurant & Maltese Bistro Right in the heart of Sliema lies Ta’ Kris Restaurant and Maltese Bistro, serving wholesome home cooking at unbeatable prices. Chef patron Chris uses the freshest ingredients to create tasty Maltese dishes like Dad’s Famous Bragjoli, thick beef stew, veal escalopes and rabbit. Patrons are also spoilt for choice with the daily specials ranging from fresh fish to beef fillet and various pasta dishes. All at this price-worthy restaurant is served in the unique settings of a former bakery. Ta’ Kris is one of the best rated restaurants by the Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants.

80, Fawwara Lane, Sliema T: 2133 7367; M: 9984 7713 W: Open daily for lunch and dinner.





Open for lunch and dinner daily

Located at the prestigious Portomaso Marina the first restaurant at the top of the stairs that lead to the marina – this highly acclaimed restaurant presents an imaginative menu that reflects Zeri’s (as chef patron Mark is known) skills at creating dishes full of traditional Mediterranean flavour. Specials include an array of fresh high quality meat, pasta, salads, antipasti and fish, whilst the wine list boasts over 170 wines. Great food, quick service and a relaxing, yet buzzing ambience make Zeri’s the place to go for business or pleasure. Free parking at Portomaso. Reservations recommended.

T: 2135 9559; M: 7957 3333; E:; W: Zeri’s Restaurant, Portomaso Marina Complex, Portomaso, St Julian’s.

Ta’ Pennellu Ta’ Pennellu is a family-run restaurant, owned by the eldest son, Anthony, affectionately known as Pennellu after the family nick-name and for his artistic abilities (‘Pennellu’ is a derivative of ‘pennello’, which means brush). By combining his artistic talents with the art of cooking Pennellu has found his niche, passionately cooking various dishes inspired by the culinary experience he garnered over the past 15 years. This passion for concocting recipes started as a little boy when he used to listen to his sailor grandfather pass on recipes he came across during numerous faraway voyages, to his wife. As a child, Pennellu was impressed by the way his grandmother adapted these recipes using local ingredients. This restaurant is a dream come true for Anthony. His vision for the restaurant is not only to strive for perfection but also to delight his patrons whom he

regards as part of his extended family! Ta’ Pennellu specialises in fish and outdoor cooking such as grills and flambés. Open every day for lunch and dinner. Closed Tuesday lunch. T: 2155 9730; M: 7909 3970. Ta’ Pennellu Restaurant, Marina Street, Marsalforn, Gozo. 67


Setting the Music Scene


Photos: Fotoclassic


aving recently secured its spot to represent Malta at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, band Firelight has also become an overnight music sensation. Here singer Richard Edwards tells Jo Caruana about the band’s plans for the future, as well as his favourite things about his island home.

Sometimes it is the overnight sensations that really make you stop and take note. Having only formed in 2013, Firelight is relatively new to the Maltese music scene. Nevertheless, it has set it alight and has secured a strong base of loyal fans. Aside from that, the band has also put itself on the international map. Having recently jumped into first place at the Malta Song for Europe Concert, it will be representing the island at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Copenhagen this May.

“It’s been a very exciting few months so far,” smiles Richard Edwards, the band’s charismatic frontman. “As individuals we’ve all been involved in the music industry for years, but this grouping has really brought our ideas together and that seems to be working. “It’s been quite a whirlwind. So far we’re approaching the release of our first album and we’ve been chosen to represent our country on an international platform. That’s a pretty decent run-in! Who knows what will happen in Copenhagen in May? It’s all very exciting.” ➜ 69


“Malta has such a good relationship with the Eurovision, which makes it quite an important annual event.” Firelight describes its style as ‘country/folk/pop’, giving it an edgy sound that also retains a pleasing sense of familiarity. Richard is at the helm, accompanied by other band members Michelle Mifsud, Tony Polidano, Matthew Ellul and Leslie Decesare. Together they’re thrilled to have the chance to perform at the 59th Eurovision. “Malta has such a good relationship with the Eurovision, which makes it quite an important annual event,” continues Richard. “As a nation we’ve achieved great results in the past and almost won 70

it thanks to local singers Ira Losco, Chiara and Mary Spiteri. “Last year was successful too, when Gianluca Bezzina’s song Tomorrow made it into Europe’s Top 10 and the British Top 40. That was definitely an achievement. After all, the Eurovision is one of the most-watched TV programmes in Europe and it offers a phenomenal platform to perform to a very large audience. Our priority is to go on stage and do our best so that we can make Malta proud.” The song they’ll be performing in Demark, I’m Coming Home, has a genuine backstory to it. ➜


With money burning a hole in his pocket and all the time in the world to enjoy it, Firelight’s Richard shares his tips for a truly perfect day on the Maltese islands.

It’s a perfect day

“Where do I begin?” smiles Richard. “There are so many things to do on our beautiful island. Well, first, I’d go to the ‘silent city’, Mdina, to experience the old capital of Malta, followed by a trip to our temples – the oldest on the planet. Next would be a visit to Valletta, perhaps for lunch in one of the restaurants there, followed by an afternoon of scuba diving. With the evening ahead of me, I would pencil in a few hours of beachside relaxation – possibly at the Blue Lagoon in the island of Comino, which I think is one of the nicest beaches ever. Finally it would be a dinner of traditional food and some clubbing, or a relaxed drink at a wine bar. Bliss!”


Mdina Ggantija temples Photos:


“Its theme is all about overcoming a struggle and battling through life’s challenges,” Richard goes on to explain. “A lot of people can relate to that, including me. Being away from home can be difficult, and I experienced that for myself a few years ago when I moved to London. I had some really great experiences in the three years that I was there but I got homesick eventually. This song is inspired by the moment when I called my family and said: ‘I’m coming home’.” As for his thoughts on the local music industry, Richard is resolutely positive and proud of what the island has achieved so far. “We may only have a small population but there’s certainly no shortage of talent here,” he quips. “You only have to look at people such as (renowned international tenor) Joseph Calleja to see how much has been achieved. Now, as a group, our biggest dream would be to experience similar success within our own style of music.” As for his advice to music-loving visitors to Malta, Richard is adamant that they won’t be disappointed. “The scene has definitely exploded. So, whatever music you’re into, you can find a place where it will be played – jazz, country, classic rock or dance music. The live scene is also picking up and there are some fantastic events on for visitors keen to watch local performers in action. It’s best to check out the ‘what’s on’ pages so you can keep updated, as things change pretty quickly and impromptu gigs can prove great fun if you know where to find them. “Oh and you definitely need to check out a band called Firelight… in fact that should be top of your list! It would be great to see you at our next gig.”


the historic

Palazzo Falson An extraordinary collection of art and antiques, ranging from paintings to furniture, silver, armour, jewellery, coins and more is displayed in this house. The collection was put together by the palazzo’s most recent owner and resident, Captain Olof Frederick Gollcher OBE (1889-1962) who was an artist, philanthropist and avid collector. This ancient palazzo, situated on Villegaignon Street just off Cathedral Square, is open to the public all week except Mondays up till 5pm (last entries at 4pm). The facilities include audio guides (in a choice of six languages), a scenic roof-top cafÊ and a gift shop. Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum in Mdina is the only Mdina home open to the public. It is one of the oldest medieval buildings still standing in Mdina, with origins dating back to the 13th century.

For more information about the museum, including its very active programme of lectures and workshops, visit or its Facebook page.

Guide Me April / May Issue 2014  

The Official Visitors' guide of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association

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