An eventful history
More than its few natural riches, it is its strategic position which has always made Gozo, Malta the object of furious covetousness. At the dawn of the Mediterranean trade, all those who could sail sought to seize its gentle limestone hills covered with their bluish clay summit and green sand.
The inheritance of this broth of culture is felt everywhere in the narrow streets of Mdina, the "city of silence", in the spicy scents that float on the fish and shellfish stalls of the small fishing port of Marsaxlokk the "luzzu", the boats decorated with the famous "Osiris eyes" supposed to protect the sailors.
It can be heard in the Maltese language, with Arabic, English, Italian or French words, a stream carrying the olive trees of Palestine, The agaves of Sicily or the kermes oaks of Tunisia. But above all, one sees it as a thousand-year-old memory, a parchment where innumerable architectural milestones play illuminations, narrow winding narrow streets of old medieval cities, magnificent Renaissance facades, large bourgeois houses with neo-classical pediments.
The Gozitan Kitchen: a mosaic of influence
Like this environment, the local cuisine is a mosaic of various influences, close to that of Sicily with a zest of the Orient and some solid memories of England and sweet France. Cooking poor and sailors, she counts everything but time and trouble. The result is a genuine culinary art, without monotony, which uses everything: tripe, stems, leaves, roots, flowers generously raised spices that grow in abundance on the island.
In touching inns of inland simplicity, one can taste the best "timpani" that one can dream: under a crust of soft macaroni, a mince of beef and chicken flavored with thyme, marjoram, and mint Neighboring garigues closely follow eggplants and small onions that have been fried in olive oil and simmered in a spicy tomato sauce with egg. The wonders of Gozo, Malta!
You may be enjoying a rabbit in Maltese "finick". This animal, which has found its favorite soil on the archipelago, is usually cooked in red wine flavored with garlic, pepper, laurel, and tomato or in Pate, marinated with herbs: thyme, parsley, savory Pistou) and cooked in a local wine sauce where Malvoisie gives free rein to all its ardor. Closer to the sea, the "garnet" is a stew of cuttlefish and octopus, which the fishermen hit with great blows to soften them, simmer with green olives, onions, tomato coulis and grapes macerated in this same red wine thick and a bit intoxicating.
A mixture of Sicily, Greece, and Spain to savor on the plate, while with the "pie", those salty or sweet crusts that appeal so much to the natives, it is the British imprint that we find. They are married with vegetables such as Florentine spinach as well as with fruits such as prickly pears or fried fish topped with the omnipresent tomato sauce with olives and of course capers.
Gozo the authentic
The Maltese people perceive Gozo in Malta as an authentic and charming pastoral refuge. The crossing lasts only 25 minutes in the middle of an emerald water without ever losing sight of the coast. Maggard, the port of Gozo protected by its two churches resembles a pretty map under an unalterably blue sky.
And if inadvertently a few drops of rain fell, the old fisherman who rakes his nets, will say to you by nodding his head that it is called "liquid sun"! Here the air is denser, the names of towns more guttural, the countryside greener, landscapes acuter and more sensual, terraces more undulating and large villages built high, more moving. Only goats and donkeys crisscross these hills where the golden spots of some chapels sparkle. The land is still cultivated with the pickaxe, the crop is harvested. In Qbaijar, surreal checkerboard, salt is still harvested by hand in holes dug out of the rock. At the doorstep, women wear their eyes on gossamer laces or knit interminable skeins of virgin wool. They smile at you like that, because it's beautiful, and the tradition is that you get the stranger as a friend.
On the central square, early in the morning, "It-Took" The outdoor market aligns its stalls and its good-natured effervescence. Behind, narrow streets and passages include shops of filigree jewels, fruit sold per piece and stalls feeling the strong leather. In the surroundings, well-cultivated countryside order their fields in terraces
The vegetables are kings: the tomato but also the potato and the beans brought by the Spaniards, who brought them back from Peru. The peppers and beans that are mainly served in Malta with fish and garlic. Peas that are boiled to keep them green in the English fashion. The turnips and parsnips to stuff them as in the Middle Ages.
Lentils and chickpeas from Arabic recipes, aubergines from the Ottoman Kingdom, sorrel and spinach spilled by the Crusaders, fennel and anise added to the cooking water of the crustaceans for their Give perfume, cabbage flowers, cucumbers, artichokes, asparagus, leeks as many Greek reminiscences. A subsistence activity which subsists only thanks to the water of the cisterns because this ungrateful land never knew the least source or the smallest river. The vegetable garden nevertheless tells in its own way the tormented history of the archipelago to the aphrodisiacs (Calypso used it).
It is said to be found in the Bay of Dwejra on the west coast. The mushrooms that grow in the place called "the rock of the general" would cure the diseases and especially awaken the sexual ardor. Myth where reality? Let everyone decide.
Because life is rough and the cover is more frugal, we pray and celebrate with more ardor than elsewhere. In the name of the patron saints, there are always some "fiestas" to inflame the spirits. The villages resonate with songs and carillon music. Still more beautiful, always richer, mixing joyfully religious fervor and folklore, the processions light up with a thousand bulbs and candles, one sings one dance, the firecrackers explode, the children exultant. At nightfall, sacred and profane confused, the Fireworks never cease to crackle in the dust of stars in the sky of Gozo, Malta.