Traditional Maltese Treats Every Local Adores

Traditional Maltese Treats Every Local Adores

Food plays a big part in Maltese Christmas traditions. What others might think is a small gathering between family members, Maltese use Christmas as another excuse to throw a party in the kitchen. Despite its minute size in the heart of the Mediterranean, some Maltese treats date back to the 17th century, while others have been reinvented from other countries’ culinary traditions, mainly due to Malta’s copious colonisation history.

Christmas log

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One cannot discuss traditional Maltese treats without delving into the mouth-watering Christmas log. Although the ‘Buche de Nöel’, or Christmas log, was invented in France, it has become a tradition in many other countries. The Maltese Christmas log is often made specifically for Christmas and eaten all day. Ingredients include chunks of chocolate, cherries, almonds, cookies, and a little dash of alcohol for flavour. The Maltese Christmas log is relatively similar to the chocolate salami in Portugal and Italy.

Treacle Rings

Other popular Christmas treats in Malta are the treacle rings (Qagħqa tal-Għasel), which are wonderful pastry rings filled with a treacle filling, and ‘Imbuljuta tal-Qastan’, a traditional Maltese beverage, created with hot chestnut and chocolate. Malta’s treacle rings are frequently associated with the holiday season, albeit they can be found in confectioneries all year round. It is made up of a delectable mixture of marmalade, sugar, lemon, orange, mixed spices, cinnamon, vanilla, and syrup. The treacle filling is gooey and ever so tasty. The dessert, which originated in the fifteenth century, is still a favourite among locals and tourists around. Back then, villagers used to use ‘qastanija’ rather than treacle, with honey extracted from honeycombs. Most likely, the word “qastanija” is a translation error for the Italian word “Castagna,” which means “chestnut.”

Imbuljuta tal-Qastan


‘Imbuljuta tal-Qastan’ is a traditional Maltese beverage offered after Midnight Mass on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Due to the use of ingredients like chocolate, orange and tangerine rinds, cinnamon, chestnut cloves, and other holiday favourites, this beverage has a great Christmassy aroma. The Imbuljata is extremely popular among locals, especially the older generation who was brought up with this beverage without any other genuine alternatives. They have grown to adore it, serving it piping hot in tiny bowls and porcelain mugs.

Bread Pudding


The bread pudding (‘Pudina tal-ħobż’) has been a popular treat since the seventeenth century. This pudding was created during a period of extreme poverty for the Maltese people. Due to the recession, Maltese bread was regarded as one of the most essential foods. To save some pennies, the leftover stale bread was set aside and used to create a delicious dessert. Sultanas, candied peel, and chocolate were added to the bread after it had soaked for a few hours to make a savoury pudding. Even though it takes some time and work to make the bread pudding, the result is definitely worth the taste of Christmas.

torta tal-marmurat

Photo Credit: Marlene Zammit

The almond and chocolate tart (locally known as it-torta tal-marmurat), typically cooked for special occasions on the island, blends chocolate, almonds, and sweet spices, and is finished off with a dark melted chocolate coating. This tart was traditionally baked for special celebrations such as weddings and baptisms, but they are now more commonly baked on holidays.

Village biscuits

PHOTO CREDIT: Crafted Foods

Village biscuits (often referred to as biskuttini tar-raħal) are delightful little delicacies made up of a blend of cinnamon, clove, citrus, and anise. They are typically offered at christenings but are often baked particularly during the Christmas time. Depending on whether the child is a boy or a girl, blue or pink icing swirls are adroitly decorated on the biscuit. These biscuits are now available and produced with a variety of other light colours.

Many treats in Malta share the same components, including citrus, cinnamon, cloves, and anise. Usually, all it takes is the addition or removal of one more ingredient to produce a completely different treat. This was mainly due to the limited ingredients that were readily available to them. Each biscuit, though, is distinctive in its particular manner, creating a tide of flavours that help set the mood for an unforgettable Christmas.