A Maltese farming family have spoken out after finding multiple batches of drying and ageing ġbejniet had been stolen from right outside their home.
“The first time it happened, we thought we had overlooked a batch or something,” Nazzarena, who lives on a farm in the limits of Rabat, told Lovin Malta. “The second time we became suspicious, and the third time it happened, we said: ‘there’s a ġbejna thief coming here when we aren’t around, żgur.'”
Fresh ġbejniet are often stored in a ventilated dripping tray for a few days to dry them out and to more easily pepper them. A traditional form of this is a caged ventilated tray that is often left somewhere outside, either on the roof of a home or in a nearby field, so that warm wind can pass over the ġbejniet and remove excess water.
However, it seems someone has targetted the family’s ġbejniet as they are outside and drying, with the thief having struck at least three times, taking around a kilogram of ġbejniet each time.
“The third time we put a padlock on it, just to make sure,” Nazzarena said. “They undid the padlock, took the ġbejniet and redid the padlock,” she said disbelievingly.
The family are unsure exactly when and how the thief, or thieves, or striking, but have their suspicions, fearing they are being targetted by someone or a group that knows when they’ll be outside their home or knows their sleeping patterns.
“We’ve used this traditional method of ageing the ġbejniet since we can remember – but because of this thief, we will need to end it and find a new way of ageing them,” she ended.
Cover photo inset: karl1405