What happens to the stereotypical souvenirs we usually buy? The key chain- we attach it to our keys for a while, until it gets caught to our clothes and we end up hating it forever after. The mug with the Eiffel tower on the side? It’s probably collecting dirt in the cupboard, because let’s face it- it will never beat your favourite mug. What about the magnets? They just stay there, on the fridge, holding your receipts and your notes, for eternity.
It’s true that it’s the thought that counts, but what if the thought could be…better? Here are the top six souvenirs that your friends and kin would really, really love.
Local “bizzilla” (lace) comes in many shapes and forms, from doilies, to table cloths, even incorporated in everyday garments! Only one thing separates one category of bizzilla from another, and that is whether it is made by a machine, or by hand. Real bizzilla is made with “combini” (pronounce “chom-beany”). Interestingly enough, lace was strictly needle lace, up until the mid 1800s, when Lady Hamilton Chichester exported lacemakers from Genoa to Malta. Soon after, the Maltese took up the trade, creating the famous “bobbin” style lace we all know and love today.
Yummy Maltese Honey
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Maltese “ghasel” (pronounced “ah-sel”) is unique in its taste and brilliant amber colour, and is made from the endemic Maltese honey bee. Maltese honey has survived decades of fame- one can find Roman apiaries around Malta, such as the one in Xemxija, one of the oldest examples of such apiaries. Whether it’s spread on toast, or dissolved in your tea, the sweet wholesome goodness of Maltese honey will put you in a good mood all day long!
Vague, I know, but let me explain myself. Whether its “orzata” (an almond drink), “helwa tat-tork” (also known as halwa or halva), “torta tal-lewz” (almond cake), “kwarezimal” (an almond and honey biscuit)…you can never go wrong with almond pastries. What’s more? Most of the above travel very well in a suitcase! Sweet tooth kicking in yet?
Prickly Pear Liqueur
A liqueur that is becoming increasingly popular among Maltese people and visitors alike, “Zeppi’s Bajtra” has to be the best money can buy. Prickly pears (the “Bajtra” fruit) are usually the result of the cacti grown to border farmer’s fields, whilst acting as wind breakers to the benefit of the crop. Malta’s prickly pear is particularly sweet and juicy, possibly due to our favourable, warm climate- you will find this fruit growing everywhere! The liqueur is made via a fermentation process akin to wine, and should be served chilled.
A real taste of the Maltese countryside!
Our local beer was born in 1929 (yes, Cisk is 90 years old!), the brain-child of the Scicluna family. Its unique, sweet, malty taste has persevered throughout the years, and many varieties came out of the original- the Excel (a low carbohydrate variety), the Cisk Chill (the berry and lemon type) and even the Pilsner (born in the 1940s, and revived in 2016)- the Cisk family just keeps growing and growing. Loved by the Maltese, adored by Malta lovers, this beer is here to stay!
Last but not least…Twistees!
The slogan- “A delicious, crisp, savoury snack”. The verdict- all true! Malta’s national snack is truly one of its kind- cheesy, crunchy, misshapen, and most importantly- baked not fried! Twistees comes in tiny delectable packets, massive half kilo bags or even tins! Twistees evolved from the original cheesy flavour to a chicken flavour, a barbeque flavour, and a lighter variety, but nothing beats the OG. You can find twistees in any chosen maltese store. Time to get snacking!