It’s official: Christmas is less than a month away. That means that we can we can talk about our favourite holiday without shame; when we want and for how long we want to. Scrooges of Malta, beware!
Joking aside, it’s impossible to not get excited about Christmas and its traditions. Regardless of what the holiday represents to you, we’re sure most of you associate fond memories of love and cheer with this time of the year.
Malta, of course, celebrates Christmas in its own unique way, and the seasonal Imbuljuta tal-Qastan forms part of these celebrations. Of course, many of you reading this article are probably scratching their heads right now, wondering what it actually is.
Simply put, it is a magical-tasting concoction made out of chestnuts and cocoa, alongside some other ingredients. The combination is heavenly, which is apt considering that it is usually served after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.
If you can’t wait till Mass, though, or if you weren’t planning on going at all, here’s a recipe for you to make Imbuljuta tal-Qastan by yourself! No one will blame you for getting a head start – people like the drink so much that they also extend the tradition to New Year’s Eve, after all.
Making Imbuljuta tal-Qastan is, luckily, really easy to make. If you have kids, you could let them help and join in on the fun!
- 400g dried chestnuts
- 80g dark chocolate
- 80g cocoa powder
- Orange rind
- 2 tangerine rinds
- 4tblsp brown sugar
- 2 tblsp ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ tblsp mixed spice
The most essential part is probably the first step, which is preparing the chestnuts accordingly by soaking them in cold water for two hours. Once this is done, place them in a saucepan with cold water and boil them until they get a little soft.
Don’t boil them for an excessively long time, as they will keep getting tender as the recipe progresses and the last thing you want is for them to get too mushy too soon.
The rest of it is easy – add the rest of the ingredients, stir and make sure everything dissolves and blends into one thick drink. Once it’s ready, pour it into your favourite mug and drink away!
There’s a lot of flexibility here. Some people can’t live without the dark chocolate, but others prefer to simply use the cocoa powder. You could also experiment with milk chocolate instead. Similarly, the orange and tangerine rinds can be grated or cut into strips, depending on your preference.
Keep in mind to adjust the ratios here depending on how much you plan on making. This recipe should serve a lot of people – 10 is probably too few. So if you’re catering for smaller numbers, calculate what needs to be altered.
That means that how long it takes for the Imbuljuta to be ready also varies. On average, it takes around half an hour for everything to blend together, but you may need more or less time. What’s most essential is that you manage to balance the fine line of being thick but still very drinkable – so keep checking it till you’re happy.
What if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, and want to make your Imbuljuta tal-Qastan recipe a bit more contemporary? We have a couple of recommendations you could try, including:
The recipe we’ve provided already calls for the addition of some mixed spice, but you can really spice your drink up to give it a fiery twist. The combination of chilli and chocolate is a marvellous one, and we guarantee that bringing that element to your Imbuljuta will change the game completely. After all, you need to bring the heat to battle those cold nights!
This one is for adults only, of course! Chocolate pairs with alcohol excellently, and there’s really no limit to what you can add to the recipe to give it a nice, boozy kick. For something a little less conventional, we suggest a nice coffee liquor, but some whiskey or rum would also work wonders. We would recommend saving the boozy batch for an occasion other than Midnight Mass, though.