Wares with Maltese symbolism and guard against casting an evil eye over a person
A figurine of falcon is the symbolic character of Malta a lot of centuries. According to legend, a gold falcon was made as a gift to Charles V, but pirates sank a ship that carried it. There are birds made of wood, glass, bronze and even gold.
The Maltese falcon is indeed well popularised symbol of Malta, especially after the book with the same name and shot on its motifs the Hollywood movie. Initially the falcon was a symbolical rent of Maltese knights of St. John’s Order to the Spanish king to whom these islands scorched by a sun were without need. Though without a territory since 12 Jun 1798, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta still regards itself, and is regarded by the states that give it diplomatic recognition, as a sovereign state. The Knights of Malta (full style Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta [SMOM]) now functions as a Roman Catholic charitable organization with limited diplomatic status as a "sovereign entity", complete with passports, coinage (via the world's smallest national mint), license plates, ITU amateur radio license prefix (1A) and a post office.
There are magnets with symbolical characters of Malta (with a room thermometer, as well as without it, which hold well and possessing quite good quality). Phoenician Eye usually can be observed drawn on the nose of a fishing boat (luzzu), as a saving talisman of Phoenicians. It is for sale as magnets in souvenir outlets (for those who believe in symbols, this eye is a symbol - protector. It was also the character of rescue of Phoenicians, Egyptians and some other nations. It is called "eye of Osiris" or usually is known as "eye of Horus" as well. Osiris (Greek language, also Usiris; on the Egiptian language name is variously transliterated Asar, Aser, Ausar, Ausir, Wesir, or Ausare) is an Egiptian God, usually named the God of the Afterlife. Horus is a god of the ancient Egiptian religion, most commonly known by the Greek version Horus, of the Egiptian Heru/Har. Horus was an ancient and important deity. He was also the son of Isis and Osiris. The Eye of Horus became an important Egyptian symbol of power. Horus has a man's body and a falcon's head. Horus fought with Seth for the throne of Egypt. In this battle one of his eyes was injured and later Isis healed it. This healing of the eye became a symbol of renewal. Horus united Egypt and bestowed divinity upon the pharaohs who were viewed as incarnations of Horus in life. It is said that it protects from an evil eye.
Statuette of a dolphin is a symbol of Malta too.
Figurine of the Maltese knight is a protective mascot for house and to prevent illnesses.
Beautiful models of ships are symbolical character of prosperity, favourable circumstances, welfare, sufficiency and all comforts, that a house can be kept being a full bowl.
There are articles of art similar to frescos in the form of parchment. At any rate original appearance and colour remind parchment (although are probably made of gypsum cardboard), prices - from 4 lyres.
A towel with the image of the Maltese cross or a map of Malta is a wonderful gift.
A model of the Maltese bus would make a remarkable presentation.
There is a clock with the Maltese bus as well.
A figurine of the Great Master of the Order of St. John in the form of a toy represented by the construction worker Playmobil in category of plastic figures is one more exceptionally exclusive and original souvenir. Produced by the limited quantity only on Malta (here is located a factory).
There are original distinctive Maltese chess (the queen is without a crown; in fact, knights of the Maltese order gave the vow of celibacy).
A bottle cork with a head of knight with a visor looks fine. The figure of knight should be put somewhere, but such stopper will be used definitely.
There is wide selection of diversified ashtrays with marine Maltese symbolism (the eye of Orion it seems) - from 2 lyres.
There are available small boxes made of cockleshells of suitable quality. Prices for such caskets start from 2.50 lyres.
Products made of fine-grinded limestone Baba ("Stone carving") and so on can be purchased as well.
Souvenirs related to prehistoric Malta – 4.5 thousand years B.C.
A square dish with sights of Mdina on the background and some merry colouring small bushes on front is cost 25 euro.
As a gift to a senior lady will be lovely to bring a local cream on the basis of honey and beeswax, it is often available on sale in souvenir shops.
It will be pleasant to fans of the literature and foreign languages to get a book about History and Traditions of Malta with beautiful photos and interesting comments (8 Euros). Prices for the rest of items are moderate.
The most popular biggest-selling market at the small fishing town Marsaxlokk is on Sundays till 13 o'clock.
A market street in Valletta is named Merchant Street.
The currency on Malta since New Year is euro, therefore to specify prices in lyres is not necessary.
Jewels and decorations
There are iridescent earrings made of mother of pearl, which shine by all rainbow colours.
The famous Maltese cross made of silver or gold encrusted by gemstones can be bought for 5-7$ (a small gold cross) and silver one for $3.
The Maltese crosses are preferable for buying in jeweller saloons; there is wide choice – made of white and yellow gold that have classical plain design as well as decorated with precious gemstones, it is really beautiful and pleasant to wear. A cross bought for a few euros will turn black and "fade" in a week – so it would be oppositely to be taken in hands, not only to wear it.
Experienced guys carry gold jeweller wares of Italian manufacture (gold here is cheaper, than in Moscow).
There are pictures of silver on glass with various marine plots in wooden frames of different sizes.
Wares made of glass
Maltese Mdina glass is represented by vases, ashtrays, glasses, tableware, wineglasses, dishes et cetera. It is the handwork, therefore is not cheap. Glass products on the island are blown with "marble" veins (green, red, blue) or with incrustation by gold or silver leaves. A middle sized vessel costs nearby 8 Lm or $15-20.
Shop with factory prices on Valletta on Merchant Street,
Phoenician glass blowers;
Mtarfa glass blowers;
Gozo glass - http://www.gozoglass.com/
Gozo Glass Limited
9 Gharb Road, Gharb - GRB102
Gozo - Malta
Tel: 00356 21561974 - Fax: 00356 21560354
In regard to the shop offering factory prices in Valletta on Merchant Street can be mentioned that there are also for sale goods made of glass of other companies specified above (perhaps, except for Mdina glass).
Numerous souvenir stalls are located there around. Wares made of glass attract a look. The price depends on quality. Good medium-sized vase costs 50 euro.
If not so hot, Ta'Qali (a township near to Mdina) is advised for a visit. There manufacturing process of the famous glass can be observed personally and a choice of offered products is much wider. A price is the same. In the same place it is possible to purchase decorations made of various stones such as beads, handwork bracelets and so on. If someone has enough strength to carry away - it is feasible even to buy a piece of raw untilled amethyst or minerals of more suitable compact size. Goods made of glass are produced on Gozo as well, and they can be got at any souvenir shop.
It is desirable to prompt - who nevertheless are going to visit the Mdina Glass factory should know that there is a department with commodities, which are not proper to the standards of quality, where prices are less on an level and defects, at times, are not there at all. As there even products, which differ by a tint from the basic series, or the form a little distinct from the standard are rejected; in principle to all of us it is equal in general.
The only thing, it is needed to look up, that there were no cracks or having split, as also such events there are in this department.
Sweets and fruit
There is a honey pretzel (can be bought in Duty Free under the brand "Cafe Cordina").
There is also available well-known Maltese honey. The more expensive honey is preferable to be chosen, otherwise rest of it can be a fake. The special honey can be purchased from a plantation of nature protection NGO “Nature Trust Malta”. Why it to taste is not similar to other Maltese honey? Because all kinds of local plants and trees (usually not springing into life so “grouped”) grow on plantation of NGO and bees collect nectar from its flowers. Therefore ensues such as “all Maltese” honey.
There is also an opinion that Maltese honey, unlike honey cream, is not so good and possessing excessive sugar, therefore maybe it is not needed to take it into consideration. The ancient name of Malta is Melita, which means - honey.
Honey from Gozo is considered ecologically purer rather than Maltese therefore it can be better.
The traditional Maltese nougat is a heritage of Arabs, which owned islands several centuries ago.
Confectionery products of almonds with sugar “Paste di Mandorla” are represented as cookies, figures of the most beautiful fruit, cakes, pies etc. Its recipe is introduced from Sicily where the almond paste with sugar considers as a national delicacy. Also it is widely producible on Malta and uses popularity as the best delicacy on celebrations of all levels, parties and weddings. The best is made in cafe-confectioner’s shop “Busy Bee”. An establishment under the name “Santa Lucia” in Attard are recommended too.
There are fruits of Prickly pears (for us it is an utter exotic things and at good packing they easily can be maintained even during a prolonged flight). It is also known as fruits of Opuntia and raw materials for liquor “Bajtra”. The opuntia, commonly called the prickly pear cactus, is perhaps the best-known and best-loved cactus in the world today. It is very refreshing summer fruit that has only one "but" – plenty of small pips.
Foodstuff and Maltese cuisine dishes
House cheese has been sold both in pots and in circles. It is kind of something average between “suluguni” and “brynza. Is called Gbejna tan-nagÄ§ag, i.e. “sheep's cheese”, is better for buying in a supermarket, as the prise there is five time less. Gbejna manufactured by dairy company “Benna” available both with pepper, and without pepper – taste is up to personal liking, but it is convenient to take out as a souvenir (already in packing). The cheese can be purchased also by weigh in supermarkets or so-called green stalls. In regard to the cheese, it is considered - the more flatten and firmer to the touch, the better. It is kept as covered fully by a butter with addition of few drops of wine vinegar.
Cheese is delicious indeed (here it is often added into salads). Certainly in a supermarket is much cheaper (in a vacuum packing and by weighing out - Maltese and Gozo cheese).
It can be bought strewed by black pepper as well as fresh (it is similar to cottage cheese), to spread on bread, to salt and pepper and send into a mouth. Such soft cheese is named gbejniet frisk, strewed with pepper and firm – gbejniet tal-bzar.
Suluguni is a pickled Georgian cheese. It has a sour, moderately salty flavour, a dimpled texture, and an elastic consistency. Suluguni is produced only of natural ingredients: normalized cow milk by clotting by rennet with pure cultures of lactic bacteria. Similar cheeses around the world can be found in Greek (feta, also spelled fetta), Albania (djath), Bulgaria (sirene), Cyprus (halitzi), Fyrom (belo sirenje; “white cheese”), Serbia (sir), Israel (gvina bulgarit “Bulgarian cheese”), Turkey (beyaz peynir “white cheese”), Egypt (domiati), Sudan (gibna beyda), Romania (branza telemea), Russia (brynza), Ukraine (brynza), Iran (panir liqvan) and other countries. In some of these countries, the name "feta" is used interchangeably with the native, while in others "feta" is not used at all or refers to other (mainly imported) types of cheese.
Among “gastronomic delicacies” it is desirable to mention traditional appetizers such as Capparis and Caponata (Maltese: "kapunata") – a vegetable ragout.
There is one more traditional dish - stewed or fried rabbit, which here are found in abundance in mountains and bred on farms.
In addition to the gastronomic theme it is pleasant to remark local bread that is very tasty! It is named ftira. In many restaurants, ordering of the ftira usually means a small Maltese loaf spread with slices of tomato, chopped onions, tuna and olive oil. Of course, it does not make much sense to carry it, but a recipe of a dish from Maltese ftira – “tonn taz-zejt” (literally from Maltese: "tuna in oil") is applicable - in hot summer day you will not think up better! But still many first-time visitors to Malta are usually pleasantly surprised to realize that a loaf of bread can prove to be such a treat in itself. Some visitors are so taken by this genuine delicacy that they make sure they grab a loaf before boarding their planes, thus taking back home a simple, but incredible slice of Maltese life! Traditionally Malteses eat it not only for dinner during hot months, but also prefer to enjoy of this dish on a shore at the sea. Preparation is very simple: ftira (or analogical bread) is cut lengthways, on one part of which a layer of tomato paste (Kunserva) with salt and pepper is spread over, other is poured by olive oil. Then a stuffing is put - and it is ready! There is a stuffing: pieces of tuna (canned), finely shredded red onions, green lettuce, tomatoes, capsicum (green, but of any other colour can be used as well), olives (as circles) are added too; at will, it can be dressed by the local cheese that was mentioned above. Sometimes, for example, kidney bean in own liquid or beef and fried egg are added also. All it is mixed up. Bon appetite! Enjoy your meal!
There are stuffed olives (they can be purchased in a vacuum packing and hidden in luggage, otherwise the custom will take it away on Malta).
Olive paste is similar to “caviar” of vegetable marrow, but made of olives. It is spread on bread.
Local olive oil (Ta’ Zeppi) can be bought too.
Sun dried tomatoes are delicacy introduced from Sicily and becoming the Maltese national product of the wide use.
There is food vinegar also.
Wine and alcoholic beverages
There are premium Italian and Maltese wines (inexpensive and possessing excellent quality). Admirers of Bacchus will estimate Maltese wine undoubtedly. There are brands of Maltese wines such as Camilleri or Marsovin.
- Anise (Anisette) – if take on trust some sources, is produced only on Malta. Can be added into coffee.
- From prickly pear fruits (Bajtra). Liqueur “Bajtra” made of fruits of the local cactus will become an interesting gift. Before its use it would be lovely to have a bite with puff patties stuffed with Ricotta cheese or green peas – “pastizzi” or delicious local halvah.
- Honey (Ghasel).
- Pomegranate (Rummiena).
- Madliena (herbal).
- Limuncell (Gozo’s lemon).
- Laring (Gozo’s orange).
Traditional Maltese liqueur (nowadays available made from honey, flowers and a “heap” of different ingredients) can be purchased in large bottles, as well as gift packs containing three vials of 250 ml each. It is the most advantageous to buy it in a duty free zone and when you are taking a flight not to European country.
But there is also an opinion that liqueur – is a kind of “poison” in beautiful packing: it can be suitable for offering to colleagues at someone’s working place, but there is an advice - do not carry it for darlings and own folks.
- “Lacto” is the darkest beer in the world. Besides the traditional use “inwardly” it is possible to stew in it meat, rabbit, octopus, snails etc.
- “Blue Label” is dark Maltese beer, most tasty grade.
- Maltese beer “Cisk”.
Soft drinks, aperitifs and syrups
There is local aerated herbal soft drink “Kinnie”. “Kinnie” is Maltese drink made of bitter oranges. Between the use “Kinnie” and desire to name itself the patriot of Malta can be drawn the sign of equality – here it is more popular any “Coca-Colas”. There are some varieties of “Kinnie” – “Kinni Light” and “Kinnie Zest” – with increased orange taste. Kinnie Zest is a low calorie bittersweet carbonated soft drink made from an infusion of oranges, herbs and spices. It has a stronger orange flavor and aroma than the original “Kinnie”.
Carob syrup is made from pods of Ceratonia / carob three.
Maltese music: on Malta and Gozo there aren’t a few good rock- and pop-stars. If this theme is interesting, it can be prescribed more in details.
Tie with drawing depicting Maltese crosses of different colours.
There are sweaters of handmade slightly rough sheep wool with folk-simplified pictures, but very suitable for wearing at the winter season, as it is very warm. It is advised for searching on markets and streets of Gozo - the second island that is a part of the Maltese republic, or in Sliema (or Tas-Sliema) in shops for tourists. Price is $30-40.
Woollen sweaters are rather 50/50 with acrylic, but warm and of all sizes, from a newborn kid to XXXL. Price can be also 10-15$ - it is necessarily needed to bargain!
There is an opinion in regard to knitted products: quality of the wool leaves much to be desired.
Keys from an apartment and concomitant accessories for a house
Some parents bring to their children or grandchildren keys from a new apartment at the Maltese coast (a three bed-rooms flat can be found for $150 thousand).
Charming wall key-holders with doors in the form of Maltese balconies are very proud, or depicting other local symbolical characters can be brought too.
Door handles and knobs (it is said that there are no two identical handles on Malta) and copper door small hammers.
Wares made of the Maltese lace and flax
Products made of the Maltese lace are ancient traditional weaving (table-cloths, napkins, serviettes, shawls, blouses and so on). Costs are not cheaply.
There are lace parasols (the most expensive is - $22).
Linen tablecloths, doilies, parasols et cetera, are available in shops, specialising on the sale of this type of goods or at the market (markets: Valletta - Merchant street, daily; Vittoriosa (Birgu) - seems, Thursday).