Chocolate eggs and festivals, feasts and parades. Easter is a time of enjoyment and celebration; time to spend with family participating in church services, parades, and, of course, Easter meals.
With delicious soup starters, filling and warming mains, and a huge variety of desserts, sweets and treats, there is potentially a wealth of culinary delights on offer, which you have never had the opportunity to try!
Food and feasts are a large part of Maltese culture, and play a crucial role in the many festivals, carnivals and celebrations, which are enjoyed on the islands.
Many of these dishes are prepared and consumed in the same way they have been for centuries, allowing you the chance to sample a variety of authentic Maltese culture and history, with the added bonus of a tasty treat!
There is a huge range of options and sweet treats to add to your Easter menu this year, so here is a selection of the top 5 must-try foods this Easter!
Typical of Italian cuisine, this is a pastry, which originates from Sicily, Rome, Sardinia and Naples as well as Malta.
The treat consists of a deep-fried dough ball around 4 inches in diameter, which is topped with powdered sugar and filled with jelly, custard, cannoli-style pastry cream, or a butter and honey mixture.
This is a variable dish, with the consistency ranging from bread and pasta like, or light and fluffy.
Zeppoli is usually eaten to celebrate St Joseph’s Day, a festival, which can be moved to fit into the Easter/Lent period.
It acts as a perfect snack to ward off hunger or can be enjoyed as a post-dinner treat.
Figolli, or Figolla, is another sweet treat, consisting of an almond filling between two pastry shapes, which is then iced or covered in a chocolate coating.
Half a chocolate ‘Easter egg’ in foil is then put on the shape as a finishing touch, and this is s nod to the past of the dish.
The earliest examples consisted of sweet pastry and decorated with dyed eggs to symbolise fertility.
Figolli is baked during Holy Week and donated to family and friends to be consumed on Easter Sunday.
Again, it acts as a perfect dessert; with the very sweet flavour a perfect balance to the richness of the traditional Easter dinner!
Kwarezimal, or ‘Lenten cookies’, are baked using a traditional Maltase recipe, with the result being spicy and chewy biscuits, which combine ground and chopped almonds, spices and honey.
They are usually baked during Lent and are also a popular follow up the traditional Easter dinner.
As an interesting addition, they are also vegan, containing no dairy, egg or other animal products.
This is thought to date back to medieval Europe when animal products were avoided during times of penance, but no restrictions on the eating of sweet treats.
Biscuits similar to kwarezimal were seen to be the ideal answer – perfectly acceptable to overindulge on without breaking any rules!
Whilst most people no longer observe this tradition, the cookies are nevertheless a fascinating insight into an older world.
Kusku is a delicious traditional Maltese soup, which acts as a perfect starter to a meal, or as a filling dish in its own right.
It typically consists of broad beans, peas, eggs, and Maltese cheese, as well as ‘kusksu’, a traditional type of pasta found in many North African dishes, and not to be confused with the more common couscous.
Kusksu can be enjoyed at any time over the Easter period, although Maundy Thursday and Good Friday seem to be particular favourites to try this delicious dish.
The very name of this dish makes it perfectly suited to Easter celebrations.
Translated literally as the ‘Apostle’s Ring Bread’, this is a uniquely Maltese treat which allows you combine tradition, celebration and delicious food all in one go!
Qaghaq Tal-Appostli is a ring-shaped bread, which is baked exclusively from the evening of Good Friday.
It consists of an entirely circular loaf of bread, which is extremely soft on the inside, and decorated with sesame seeds and roasted almonds on top, creating wonderfully contrasting textures.
Enjoyed with bread and cheese, this is a deceptively delicious treat – it may appear plain and simple, but actually shows off Malta’s famous bread traditions to its full advantage!
This is just a small selection of the huge range of tasty treats available in Malta over Easter and indeed, all year round.
One of the best ways to truly discover and understand a new country is through sampling its delicious culinary delights, and Malta is no exception.
You are not merely enjoying a mouth-watering meal; in many cases, you are participating in traditions and cultural customs which date back hundreds of years: I’d say that makes a pretty good case for overindulging and a good excuse to try everything which is available!