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Bizzilla Maltija (Maltese Lace)

Maltese lace is a style of bobbin lace made in Malta. It is a guipure style of lace. It is worked as a continuous width on a tall, thin, upright lace pillow. Bigger pieces are made of two or more parts sewn together.

The Lace Pillow in Malta is known as "Trajbu" pronounced as try-boo , while the Bobbins are called "Combini" pronounced as "chom-beany", this type of Lace making is very popular in Malta's Sister Island of Gozo, which is found to the North of the main Island.

Maltese lace usually has the following characteristics which are useful for identification:

  • It is usually made from cream silk. Black silk was also used in the past. Occasionally linen thread was used.

  • There is often the 8 pointed Maltese cross as part of the pattern, worked in whole or cloth stitch.

  • The pattern may also have closely worked leaves known as “wheat ears” or “oats”. These are plump and rounded in shape, rather than the long narrow leaves of other types of bobbin lace. 

Ganutell is a traditional Maltese art form of

making artificial flowers from wire, thread, and

beads. This art form has been around possibly

before the Knights of  St. John and were mainly

done in monasteries creating flower mounts for

churches. By the 20th century women of the villages were making ganutell but after WWII the craft slowly diminished. In the last twenty years there has been a revival of this art form. Books have been published on Ganutell and classes are being taught to preserve this tradition. This link here  is an article feature on Ganutell.

Presepju (CHRISTMAS CRIB)

Found on every street corner across Malta and Gozo, these nativity scenes are among the most popular and important Maltese traditions.

Maltese presepju differ from generic nativity scenes in their depictions of the Maltese landscape. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus may be found within a manger, but here it’s surrounded by rocky stones, porous caves, Maltese flour windmills, and ancient ruins – all signifiers of the traditional Maltese landscape. Five weeks before Christmas, flat containers are prepared with cotton buds and sow wheat ("qamħ"), vetch ("ġulbina") and canary seed ("skalora"), covered with soil or cotton and left in dark corners or in kitchen cupboards until nicely grown to decorate in front of the crib.The figurines in the cribs, called pasturi, were also traditional, and produced by Maltese artisans out of sculpted and painted clay.

 

MELĦ (Salt Farming)

The salt is swept into piles with brooms, the family carry it in buckets to create a bigger pile nearby, covering it to dry out. Days later, the salt is bagged and taken to a warehouse to be packeted. People in the past would buy large quantities of salt to preserve food. There are a few families who continue to salt harvest on Gozo and Malta. The salt is now sought after as gourmet product

ŻEBBUĠ (Olives)

Romans were producing oil here 2,000 years ago.

Archaeological finds and lab tests later, it was proven that two varieties of olive are in fact indigenous to the islands – the white(bajda) one  and the bidni olive. Briny air from the deep waters of the surrounding Mediterranean blows its saltiness into all produce grown here. The indigenous olive has  health benefits – it so high in anti-oxidants that the fruit fly eggs cannot survive. There are many varietals of olives as well. However to be named a Maltese Olive Oil it must be made with the badja or  bidni olive.

Click here to learn more about the white olive.

 

ĠBEJNA(Maltese Cheeselet)

Ġbejna is shaped in a cheese hurdle made of dried reeds, although now plastic ones are also used. They are traditionally dried in small ventilated rooms, with windows protected by a special mesh mosquito net. It is said that in the past sea water, rather than rennet, was used as a curdling agent. The cheese is available both from pasteurised and unpasteurised milk.

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

 The EU accepted Malta's request to protect the ġbejna. 

GĦASEL(Honey)

Roughly 2,800 years ago, the Ancient Phoenicians are thought to have introduced honey production to Malta.The Maltese honey bee, Apis mellifera ruttneri, is a subspecies of the western honey bee. It originates from Malta, where it is native.

Three different types of honey are produced in Malta, depending upon the flowers in season:

  1. Spring Honey — This peach-colored honey is made from a wide selection of spring flowers, including wild thistle, sulla, borage, dandelion, wild mustard, and citrus blooms.

  2. Summer Honey — The fragrant, purple flowers of wild thyme are the predominant nectar in Malta’s summer honey. This honey is quite thick and has a bright golden hue.

  3. Autumn Honey — Dark and decadent, this Maltese honey earns its sweet caramel texture and flavor from carob and eucalyptus flowers.

Malta literally means honey. The name derives from Melite, the Ancient Greek word for “honey-sweet.”

HASIRA  TAL-QASAB (Cane Curtain)

These curtains are part of the housing landscape throughout the islands. Offering protection from the elements but also a discreet view of the street.

The curtain materials are locally sourced and are an original "green" product.