Taste History meets the stars

Malta’s rich history and gastronomy combine for a unique dining experience

Photo credit: Brian Grech

The Malta Tourism Authority in collaboration with Heritage Malta’s ‘Taste History’ project and the three Michelin-starred restaurants in Malta – Under Grain, Noni and De Mondion – launched a year-long initiative called ‘Taste History Meets the Stars’.

Through this collaboration, a number of dishes having a historical link to each of the restaurants or their location will be offered on the respective menu, along with an explanation of the story behind the particular dish. The recipes will change on a seasonal basis.

The first three ‘historically sourced’ dishes are Papiri ‘Gentile Selection’ with Crispy Chicken Wings, Parmesan, Yeast, and Raw King Oyster Mushrooms offered at Under Grain in Valletta, a dish based on archival evidence referring to the consumption of pasta at the nearby Dominican Priory; Duo of Local Hunted Rabbit at De Mondion in Mdina, linked to the hunting of hares in the surrounding woodlands during the time of the Knights; and Malefanti Pasta, Octopus Tagine at Noni, associated with the three-hundred-year-old baking tradition of lower Valletta where this restaurant is situated.

Commenting on this initiative, the Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Julia Farrugia Portelli stated: “This initiative intertwines a rich culinary experience and the unique history that Malta offers. I applaud our star chefs and the MTA for turning the dining experience into a unique journey for tourists and locals alike.”

Heritage Malta CEO Noel Zammit said: “This collaboration confirms the increasing synergy between MTA and Heritage Malta through Taste History. Our Maltese Kitchen has an exceptional tradition of a fusion of flavours from all over the world. Through research and innovation, we are now bringing our unique history to the forefront of Maltese dining via the help of the best chefs on the island.”

The chefs at each of the three Michelin restaurants also expressed their satisfaction at being part of this initiative.

Jonathan Brincat from Noni said: “As a chef, using local ingredients that are seasonal with as little waste as possible has always been my mantra. This project has allowed me to revisit these same methods that were used by our ancestors. It was very exciting being able to give a dish, that was served centuries ago in the same neighbourhood where our restaurant stands nowadays, a modern twist whilst still respecting its soul.”

Photo credit: Brian Grech

De Mondion chef Kevin Bonello said: “’The inspiration of this recipe came to me after I was given information by Malta Heritage on how a dish of wild rabbit was slow cooked in a pot using beans, local vegetables, spices and lard. I recreated the recipe using these ingredients and adding the complexity of including a typical Maltese ‘Pastizz’, offering our guests the opportunity to enjoy traditional foods in a contemporary way, connecting our heritage to the present.”

Photo credit: Brian Grech

Under Grain’s Victor Borg says this about his experience: “This dish bridges our past with the present and reconnects us with our roots and our history… this is a glorious pasta dish which will tickle your taste buds, and will surprise you as you dig in.”

Photo credit: Brian Grech

More information about the Taste History project can be found here.