An Invitation to Taste History

On Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th October, Heritage Malta will be providing the general public with the opportunity to taste history at the dining hall of the Malta Maritime Museum in Birgu. Based on a new concept of retracing and recreating menus from the past, guests will be invited to surprise themselves with the flavours of three pasta dishes which date back to centuries ago.

“We want to demonstrate that the Maltese Islands have their own food culture which enriches and identifies our identity. This idea is based on vast research in archives, historical recipe books and kitchen inventories, together with artefacts which are found in Heritage Malta museums,” revealed Curator, Liam Gauci.

One of these artefacts is a watercolour by Charles Frederick de Brocktorff which literally opens a window into a 19th century ‘Maltese eating shop’ and offers precious insights into the food, dress, customs and aspects of the daily life of that period. To date, this is the oldest known image of pasta being eaten in our capital city, and it forms part of the collections of Heritage Malta.

“Those attending to this exclusive dinner will be re-living the historical moment being depicted in Brocktorff’s painting. The ingredients used are authentic and genuine, all of which produced locally. Some artefacts which are shown in the painting, the like of which are held in Heritage Malta’s collections, will also be exhibited.”

Guests will be welcomed with wine from the Grandmaster’s wine list itself. This is no ordinary pasta night, this is a dinner fit for the highest echelons of Maltese society. Free flowing Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Chiablis, Gewürztraminer, Port wine and fine Rum from the Caribbean.

To start off, guests will get a chance to taste some local antipasti which were common aboard ships in 18th century Malta, air dried salsiccia, aged sheep cheese, foraged rucola and home made galetti. Three types of pasta will follow: spaghetti grossi con cascio (a type of cheese), macaroni with fresh cheeselets, eggs and herbs based on a recipe of the Dominician friars at Birgu, and macaroni with minced chicken meat, mushrooms, grated cheese and the soft part of bread soaked in milk, cooked according to a 1739 recipe.

All the pasta will be hand-made using only local ingredients and following recipes uncovered from the pages of Maltese history. As a digestive, and enough for all the guest to take in all the history, coffee and Port (as found in the Brocktorff painting) will be served in the terrace overlooking Grand Harbour; that very harbour where that very food and wine were consumed all those years ago.

“Essentially, this will be an interactive event, wherein guests can enjoy their food in the company of historians who will be explaining the narrative and the significance of that dinner. The renowned Brocktorff’s painting will also be on display.”

Events will start at 19:30hrs at the Malta Maritime Museum in Birgu.

Tickets: Adults/seniors/students/children at €37.50. Heritage Members at €30. Tickets are available from all Heritage Malta museums and sites, and ONLINE.

 

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