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|Place of origin||Malta|
|Region or state||Qormi|
|Cookbook: Maltese bread Media: Maltese bread|
Maltese bread, locally known as 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 comsume it is as bread with spreaded 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. Nowadays an annually held festival, Lejl f'Casal Fornaro (a Night at Casal Fornaro), takes place in Qormi on the third Saturday of October.
Veteran baker Ġorġ "Il-Foqs" is locally known for his profession as a baker. He is located in a corner on St Catherine's Square in the older part of the city known as the San Ġorġ area. Other notable bakers like are Ġorġ "il-Boqboq", Ġorġ "is-Sufa", and Ġorġ "taz-Zinger" which are located at San Ġorġ. On a humoristic note, the people of Qormi are teased as being "rgiel sa Nofsinhar" meaning that they are not to be relied on after the "after noon", possibly due to most Qormi residents in the past being bakers and working late at night and in the early morning, being very tired by noon. Another probable reason for not being reliable after the after noon has to do with a sundial on the San Gorg church (the main church in the old part of Qormi). At one point, a new building was put up close to the church, which started casting a shadow on the sun dial at around noon. At that time, the sundial's shadow (used to tell time before clocks and watches came into vogue), would only show the time until noon, at which point full shadow would cover the sundial.
The reason for the Maltese bakers working at the early hours of day is for people to have fresh bread ready to be bought as they were heading back home from the first mass of the day, generally held at 5 am.
- History. "Hospitaller Period: The Maltese Historical Perspective of Bread". Maypole:Nenu The Artisan Baker. 2012. Archived from the original on 17 February 2016.
- Cassar Pullicino, J. (1956). "Social Aspects of Maltese Nicknames" (PDF). Scientia. 22 (2): 87.
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