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About Our Food
The habit of using wild edible plants is still alive in Dingli, but is disappearing. Therefore, the recording, preserving, and infusing of this knowledge to future generations is pressing and fundamental. Wild edible plants have always been important in the folk traditions of the Mediterranean region. However, food and medicinal uses of these plants have been two of the most relevant and consistent reasons for popular plant management, even in cultures that are increasingly losing their close relationship with nature. It is of utmost importance to obtain data about popular uses of wild edible plants before this knowledge disappears.
In Malta these traditions are at risk of disappearing, and hence THE CLIFFS centre studies such knowledge systems and find innovative ways of infusing them to the future generations.
1. Notifying (educating) the public that in Malta we have some 1200 species of wild plants. Such species are not appreciated by the majority of the locals whilst most of the tourists are not aware of such a variety. Local flora used and processed in the kitchen include borage, wild asparagus, nettle,…. . Such a menu will help the visitors and users of the surrounding area appreciate our natural heritage.
2. Reviving past traditions…..chutneys and jams served with cheese platters are all local fruit. Fruit chosen is the less appreciated wild fruit such as prickly pear and quince. Quince was used in the past as a medicine. THE CLIFFS Centre explored in detail such a fruit and managed to produce a chutney that cannot be found anywhere in the island. People are interested in such chutney and hopefully this might instigate local farmers to start cultivating again such a fruit tree.
3. Future traditions to be lost……….cheeses used at the centre are bought from the only shepherd existing in the area. This shepherd still uses the surrounding countryside as grassland for his sheep. ………..such a scene will (relatively) soon be history. Users shall appreciate local cheese and the same last shepherd and sheep roaming freely around.
4) Use local products as much as possible. First preference is given to agricultural products available in the area according to the season. This will eventually help the surrounding farmers and make the users aware of our rich local produce. THE CLIFFS centre also houses its own miniature kitchen garden. Both vegetables and herbs, although limited in quantity, attest to local and organic produce, whilst relating to history. The Qannic, a ventilated box traditionally used for the air-drying of local produce is also reminiscent of Maltese rural culture.