Well-deserved EU Award for Mellieha 2009
The village of Mellieħa has been officially recognised as one of Europe’s top “off-the-beaten-track” destinations primarily because of its sustainable approach to tourism. Congratulations Mellieħa people for the well-deserved EU award. Mellieħa is one of the nicest and most picturesque towns in Malta. Besides the Red Tower and the war shelters, there are quite a few other places of interest, namely it-Torri l-Abjad near Little Armier and L-Għar u Casa (unfortunately, both privately owned). Also the beach at Mellieħa Bay (l-Għadira), Armier, Ċirkewwa, Santa Maria Estate, Il-Kortin, Popeye’s Village, the Wild Life Refuge and of course Il-Madonna ta’ l-Għar. One must not forget the sanctuary and the little chapel at lands end, past Armier, which the Mellieħin (people form Mellieħa) commonly call Tal-Kunċizzjoni.
From Mellieħa, one can enjoy spectacular views, with Comino and Gozo in the distance. And how can anyone miss the church sitting on top of the hill? Mellieħa is unique and has some of the nicest people living there, so it is no surprise when it was recently named a European destination of excellence. Everybody’s favourite song is, after all, Il-Bajja tal-Mellieħa, sung by the late Sam Bartolo together with The New Cuori! No wonder Mellieħa is the most sought-after town in Malta to live in.
Mellieħa celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Victory on the 8th September each year.
This is celebrated also during the week by the bands of both clubs in Mellieha and on the eve of the feast, there are a lot of ground fireworks and sky fireworks.
Mellieha is the last village before boarding the boat to Gozo.
The Maltese are predominantly Roman Catholic and speak Maltese (which is the native language), which being a Semitic language can sometimes be similar to Arabic. Both Maltese and English are official languages with Italian being also widely spoken.
Malta – a lot of a good thing
Published by Jim Tanfield | January 9, 2014, | In Blogs, Travel
This little island, set in the Mediterranean twixt Italy and North Africa, has a gorgeous climate, friendly residents, a rich history and architecture to match; but I wanted to know what the food is like, so off I went.
I’ve already written about the honey, olive oil and wine of Malta, but what are the principal dishes all about? What is the essence of Maltese cuisine and who is taking it to the next level?
Firstly let’s get one thing out of the way; the portion sizes here are epic… crazy huge and massively generous. I had to check that I wasn’t expected to eat the whole lot. Not exactly austerity and I certainly never condone wasting food, but that’s the culture and who am I to argue against that – especially with my appetite?
So let’s take you through a day chronologically; many Maltese, especially working men, often skip an early breakfast, choosing instead to go to drink sweet tea and eat one of the naughty pastizzi from any one of hundreds of shops offering them all over the islands.
I’m taken by my guide to ‘the best’ in Rabat, just below the walls of the incredibly atmospheric medieval city and ancient capital of Mdina – it’s called Crystal Palace, presumably not after the London footie team but some Moorish dwelling of old!
Now, pastizzi is essentially a flaky pastry pasty similar to the Cornish variety, and either filled with peas or cheese. I had both… and sweet tea. The pastry makes for lovely, naughty eating with a strain on the morning metabolism for someone used to porridge, but the tea launches energies back up again.
Mdina is a glorious walled city (and the most sought-after postcode in the country) with winding narrow streets, elaborate balconies, bougainvillaea-clad facades and horse-drawn traps (tourist traps!); only residents of the city are allowed cars, so it’s quiet, safe, clean and – with the honeyed-stone reflecting the burning sun – lovely.
After a gander around this UNESCO World Heritage Site, my thoughts were turning to lunch – apparently, I was to have two. The first one of local produce created by chef Damian Ciappara at Commando in beautiful and sultry Mellieha in the north of the island next to where the fabulous Gennaro Contaldo was filming for Jamie’s Food Tube channel in the village square, and another, which I was dreading and will tell you all about in a mo’.
For more information about the culture and tourism on these islands go to the Visit Malta website.