Bakeries in Malta are treated with a higher level of respect and love than we give most people, so we always get a little giddy and excited whenever our baked culture gets even the smallest of shoutouts.
However, when a National Geographic journalist travels to our little grain of sand and complements the hell out out of a Żebbuġ bakery before proceeding to explain their experience in the beautiful Maltese countryside and share a traditional kusksu bil-ful recipe… yeah, we might just sing the national anthem while aggressively waving the Maltese flag.
The article describes the experience of eating at the “revered” Maria Stephanie Bakery
Travel journalist Ella Buchan, along with photographer Ed Schofield, enjoyed traditional ftira, qagħaq tal-ħmira, “classic tal-Malti” (Maltese Bread) and qagħaq tal-għasel. And from the mouth-watering descriptions of each, we’re sure they were asking for seconds!
“Bakeries in Malta aren’t just where loaves are made and sold,” Buchan writers. “They’re where meals are brought to be slow-cooked ahead of family gatherings, at which every bite is savoured and everyone fights for the last scraps of bread and gravy.” You got that right!
Following this, the article goes on to explain a little about Maltese history but, let’s be honest; when food is involved, that’s what we really care about. Before long, Ella gets to discussing food with a rundown of their host family’s home cooking routine where they made a traditional lamb dish, and again, the descriptions alone are making us very, very hungry.
“Biting into a qagħaq tal-ħmira, a soft, brioche-like bun topped with sesame seeds, I see his point. It’s delicate in texture, with warm whispers of cinnamon and cloves. The aromas are so thick and palpable, I’m tempted to bite the air.” Someone. Please. Get. Me. One. Of. Those.
The article ends with an ode to four Maltese favourites; pastizzi, ħobż biż-żejt, stuffat tal-fenek, lampuki which, combined with a couple of slices of Maltese bread, are the perfect meal for any Sunday family lunch.