Maltese bread

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Maltese bread
Malta - Birgu - Triq il-Mina l-Kbira - Inquisitor's Palace in 10 ies.jpg
Maltese bread oven
Place of originMalta
Region or stateQormi

Maltese bread (Maltese: Il-Ħobż tal-Malti) is a crusty sourdough bread from Malta, usually baked in wood ovens. It can be eaten as accompaniment to food and with a variety of fillings; the typical and favourite way to consume it is as bread with spread olive oil (Ħobż biż-żejt), where the bread is rubbed with tomatoes (as with the Catalan pa amb tomàquet) or tomato paste, drizzled with olive oil and filled with a choice or mix of tuna, olives, capers, onion, bigilla and ġbejna.

Qormi is the main city for bread making in Malta, with several bakeries spread out in almost every corner. During the rule of the Knights Hospitaller, it was known as Casal Fornaro meaning the bakers' town.[1] Nowadays an annually held festival, Lejl f'Casal Fornaro (a Night at Casal Fornaro), takes place in Qormi on the third Saturday of October.

The role of bread in Maltese politics[edit]

Some of the earliest descriptive accounts of Malta note the dependence of the island's inhabitants on bread for survival.[2]. The impact of the British colonial government's liberalisation of the import of grain in 1837 and its failure to provide basic food provisions in the aftermath of World War I are both factors believed to be linked to the Sette Giugno riots.[3][4]

Bread in the Maltese language[edit]

There are a number of idioms in the Maltese language relating to bread as the basis of survival.[5]

  • (Maltese: ħobzu maħbuz), his bread is baked, meaning the person is well-off.
  • (Maltese: tilef ħobzu), he has lost his bread, meaning the person has lost their job.
  • (Maltese: x'ħobz jiekol dan?), what bread does he consume?, an expression used when enquiring after a person's character.
  • (Maltese: jeħtiegu bħall-ħobz li jiekol?), he needs it like his daily bread, used when a person is in great need of something.
  • (Maltese: ħaga li fiha bicca ħobz gmielha), something which provides a lot of bread, used to describe a profitable endeavour.
  • (Maltese: ma fihiex ħobz),it procures no bread, used to describe a profitless venture.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • "Hospitaller Period: The Maltese Historical Perspective of Bread". Maypole:Nenu The Artisan Baker. 2012. Archived from the original on 17 February 2016.
  • Blouet, Brian (2004), The Story of Malta, Progress Press
  • Buttigieg, Noel (2011). "Is Bread Male or Female? Gender and Power Relations". Proceeding of History Week. Archived from the original on 1 March 2016.
  • more.
  • Gatt, Guzi (2008). "Il-Hobz tal-Malti" (PDF). L-Imnara. 9 (32): 35–39.
  • Lanfranco, G. (1983). "Tal-Ħobż; l-Għajn tal-Ilma" (PDF). L-Imnara. 2 (7): 43.
  • Dwar il-Ħobż f'Malta / G. Lanfranco. L-Imnara. 4(1991)2=15(29-32)


  1. ^ Cassar Pullicino, J. (1956). "Social Aspects of Maltese Nicknames" (PDF). Scientia. 22 (2): 87.
  2. ^ D'Autun, J.Q. The Earliest Description of Malta quoted in Cassar, C. Fenkata: An emblem of Maltese peasant resistance?
  3. ^ Kliewer, Greta. Maltese Bread: a changing symbol of the island’s identity [1]
  4. ^ Blouet, pp. 188-189
  5. ^ Cassar, C. Fenkata: An emblem of Maltese peasant resistance? Fenkata: An emblem of Maltese peasant resistance?