Lent Food in Malta
As in every other major feast in Malta, Lent and Easter has its own traditional sweet or type of food that is savoured exclusively during this time of year.
For the 40 days prior to Easter Sunday, during Lent, kwarezimal, almond and honey cakes, are highly prized and enjoyed. In days of old these were "sweets" allowed during this time of year as the sweet does not contain any sugar but is made with almonds, honey, milk, flour and spices. The only other sweet allowed was the "karamelli tal-harrub" - made from carob syrup - which was normally sold on Good Friday during the afternoon processions.
"Qassatat tal-incova" (anchovy pastries), "torta tal-haxu" (ricotta pie), kusksu (broad bean soup), qaqocc (artichokes) and bebbux (snails) are all savoury dishes very popular during the Lenten period preceeding Easter Sunday. Up to a few years ago meat dishes were never consumed during Lent but over the years this was only followed on Fridays.
The week following Palm Sunday, Holy Week, is dominated by the "qaghaq ta l-appostli" - these are circular loaves of unleavened bread studded with roasted almonds and sprinkled with sesame seeds. They are highly popular on Maundy Thursday as flocks of people visit the seven churches in preparation for Good Friday.
On Easter Sunday, children are rewarded for their abstinence from sweets by means of the "figolla" - a marzipan cake covered in sweet coloured icing and formed in festive shapes such as rabbit, mermaid, duck, chicken or even the traditional Maltese fishing boat.
Roast lamb and baked potatoes were the traditional Easter Sunday lunch and till this day Easter lunch is still a very special family affair - making our island's heritage so much more unique!
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