Stumped on what gifts to get for family and friends after a memorable trip to The Maltese Islands? This week we bring you 8 artisanal gifts that are unique as much as they are representative of Malta and Gozo’s arts, crafts and cultural heritage to give and share back home. Read on!
As a form of metalwork, filigree jewellery is created from silver and gold and is renowned for its delicate and intricate appearance. For a wide selection of designs head to St. Lucia or Merchants Street in Valletta where several jewellery shops offer a wide selection of pendants, earrings and bracelets. We recommend searching for designs that feature the Maltese cross.
Lace-making is Malta’s quintessential traditional craft that extends back to the 16th century. It conjures up images of women sitting outside crafting lace whilst enjoying the cooler evening air and in some rural areas, this tradition is alive and a vibrant aspect of village life. That said, handmade lace with high craftsmanship tends to be quite expensive and hard to come by. However, several gift shops provide manufactured versions of the more traditional and wrought designs that still make for a unique gift.
The Maltese Islands are home to a vast array of Mediterranean plants that may be used for their essential oils and cleansing properties. Prickly pear, orange, natural herbs and olive oil all make for wonderful additions to soaps and cleansers with something for every skin type. SoapCafe in Sliema offers a selection of soap and other items made with Maltese ingredients.
Handmade Glass Items
Handmade glassware makes for mesmerising patterns and designs that stand to brighten and decorate any room. Mdina Glass is arguably the most renowned for this craft with stores spread across the island and tours open for visitors to observe their craftsmen in Ta’ Qali (Malta). Opt for a small paperweight or a more intricate vase or lamp for an artistic reminder of your trip.
No trip to Gozo is complete without a visit to the iconic globigerina limestone formations and saltpans in Marsalforn. The 350-year-old saltpans are located on a 3km stretch of coastline and are central to Gozo’s multi-generational sea-salt production. Locals collect the salt during the hot summer months, store and then process it in limestone caves in the area. The packaged salt is then sold to locals and tourists alike. Some sellers set up shop in the area specifically for tourists although be sure to head over in the late summer-autumn months!
Indigenous Wine Varieties
Viticulture is a small yet high-quality industry in the Maltese Islands with many local wineries producing international as well as local varieties of wine. Wineries produce two kinds of indigenous grapes and wine: Ġellewża and Għirgħentina. Head over to any of the main local wineries such as Marsovin, Delicata or Meridiana for a taste and a chance to purchase some of these varieties.
Local Food Products
Are you planning gifts for avid foodies back home? Opt for local food items that are packaged with travelling in mind. Jubilee Foods (located in Victoria – Gozo and Valletta – Malta) offer a wide array of sweet and savoury local items ranging from jams made with local fruit to the iconic cheeselet made with goat’s cheese. Just make sure to get them to the intended person as soon as possible or you’ll decide to keep them for yourself before they do!
Care to tell us which of these items would be a hit back home? Let us know in the comments below.