Warming up to Autumn with Maria Shebets' aromatic chai

Image courtesy Maria Shebets

Image courtesy Maria Shebets

As the temperatures cool and the beach towels are folded away, there's nothing better than warming up with a cozy cup of freshly brewed chai tea in our quiet spaces.

Food lover and writer Maria Shebets has whipped up a fragrant chai recipe that is packed with aromatic spices such as ginger and cloves, making it the perfect accompaniment to home-baked biscuits by the fireplace.

For the full list of ingredients and recipe - including homemade almond milk and almond crackers - head to http://shebets.com/chai-almond-milk-and-crackers/

 

The glow of candles will bring to life BirguFest 2017

BirguFest 2017 at Locanda La Gelsomina

There are just 2 weeks to go before the historical hamlet of Birgu is transformed into a spectacular array of candelit displays all across its balconies and alleyways.

Set to take place between 13 and 15 October 2017, the annual edition of BirguFest never fails to capture the heart and imagination of visitors that travel from across the isle to bask in the glow of this magical weekend.

As the sun will set and lights turned off, thousands of candles will be lit throughout the hamlet, as the evening will be filled with historical re-enactments, food stalls, a short film festival and live local music. 

Without a doubt one of the year's main cultural and historical highlights, this is an event not to be missed. For further details, visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/birgufest

Notte Bianca 2017 will set Valletta ablaze

Notte Bianca Valletta boutique hotel.jpg

Each October, Notte Bianca lights up the cityscape of Valletta, with a spectacular nocturnal celebration of people, culture and arts. The streets and cultural venues in the Maltese capital play host to a motley assortment of entertainment.

State palaces and museums open their doors to delight patrons with visual art exhibitions and theatre performances, while the open-air streets and piazzas showcase some of the finest local and international musicians and dancers. Cafes and restaurants are open until late with further food stalls and tables occupying the streets.

All of Valletta, from City Gate to Fort St. Elmo, comes alive on Notte Bianca, guaranteeing a memorable night that truly holds something for everyone.

To view the full schedule of events that will be taking place on this magical evening on Saturday, 7 October, visit http://lejlimdawwal.org/

Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture partners with Locanda La Gelsomina

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Each year, a city within the European Union is selected as European Capital Culture which aims to highlight the richness and diversity of cultures across Europe.

Next year in 2018, Valletta will play host to this title, and throughout the year, a multitude of cultural events shall be taking place across the city in celebration of this unique event. Locanda La Gelsomina is proud to have partnered with this initiative as hotel partner to the Valletta 2018 Foundation, and look forward to hosting guests at La Gelsomina to promote this inspiring initiative in Malta throughout 2018 and beyond.

VOGUE shines a spotlight on the allure of Malta

Image courtesy of Alamy

Image courtesy of Alamy

The internationally renowned fashion publication VOGUE shines a spotlight on the beauty of our little Mediterranean isle and its "alluring laid-back feel". Whether you’re plunging into Sliema’s Ballutta Bay for an afternoon dip in the middle of the city, exploring the old, narrow streets of Valletta and Mdina, or jumping off cliffs with the locals into the country's many natural pools, you’ll leave Malta wanting more.

To read the full article, head to http://www.vogue.com/article/malta-amalfi-coast-travel-guide

Explore the Mediterranean waters of Filfla

Fifla island in Malta

A mere 0.06 km2 large, the isle of Filfla - located 5km south of Malta - may be tiny, but it is packed with a wealth of history and unique natural beauty.

Its name is believed to derive from the Arabic word felfel (meaning peppercorn), and was possibly sacred to the neolithic inhabitants of Malta, who built the temples of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra on the Maltese coast opposite the islet. The only known permanent structure on the island was a chapel built inside a cave in 1343, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1856 that also sank part of the island. A map of Malta dating back to 1798 shows a fort, a lighthouse and a monastery with a chapel on Filfla.

Until 1971 the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force used the island for target practice, and spent cartridges from these bombardments can still be found on Filfla today.

Access to Filfla is only possible for educational or scientific purposes, however this month, on the 4th and 26th, Heritage Malta will be organizing a round Filfla boat cruise, departing from Sliema Ferry at 14.00hrs.

Experienced Heritage Malta officials will be with you to point out special features found along the coast, such as fortifications and heritage sites. There will also be time for a swim at one of the sheltered coves.

For further details and to purchase tickets, visit http://shop.heritagemalta.org/index.asp?eventid=405. Tickets are also available at all Heritage Malta museums and sites.

Summer Solstice at Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temple

Summer Solstice Hagar Qim

The Solstice occurs on the 21st June every year, and what better way to experience the Equinox than at the Mnajdra Temples and Hagar Qim. The infamous UNESCO heritage sites are neolithic temples used by the worshipers to communicate with the gods.

The south temple is aligned with the position of the sun as it rises over the horizon on the first day of each of the four seasons of the year. It was purposely built in such a position so that the sun shines in between the stone at the Equinox and the Solstice. This used to help the people of the time to know when the seasons change and they need to harvest their crop.

More information and ticketing can be found on Heritage Malta's website here

Remembering The Great Siege of 1565 with a guided tour hosted by FAA

The Great Siege of Birgu 1565

As the sun rose on the morning of the 19th May 1565, this tiny Mediterranean isle began preparations for the first of many battles that would signal one of the most important victories of its history - The Great Siege. Until 11 September of that year, the Knights staunchly defended Malta against the invasion of the Ottoman Turks, signalling the climax of an escalating contest between a Christian alliance and the Islamic Ottoman Empire.

To celebrate the anniversary of this very first battle, the cultural organization FAA is set to take you right back in time to where it all began with an exploration of Birgu with Vince Zammit. Join him as he takes you to the historic heart of the Knights of St. John in Malta, and re-live one of the greatest sieges in all of history.

For further details and tickets, please visit https://ticketengine.faa.org.mt/. 19 and 20 May. 6:30pm to 8:15pm. Meeting at Birgu's Couvre Porte by The War Museum.

 

Ringing in apricot season with Maria Shebets : Chocolate Ravioli with Apricot Filling

Image courtesy of Maria Shebets

Image courtesy of Maria Shebets

With apricot season upon us, these delicious little nuggets of sweetness are filling baskets across local markets island-wide. As huge fans of both seasonal local produce and dark chocolate, you can imagine our sheer delight when we came across Maria Shebets' recipe for Chocolate Ravioli with Apricot Filling

Combining the bitterness of chocolate with the sweetness of apricots, Maria's deep-fried ravioli are a celebration of contrasts that blend perfectly once combined. Sprinkled with a dash of icing sugar and accompanied by a fragrant cup of caffè latte, they are the perfect way to savour Spring afternoons soaking up the season's flavours.

The Great Spring Horticultural Show is set to bloom across San Anton Gardens

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As Spring blooms across this magical little isle, The Malta Horticulture Society is set to launch its latest edition of The Great Spring Horticultural Show that will take place in San Anton Gardens in Attard on May 6 and 7.

An annual festival of floral arrangements, plants, fruit, vegetables and crafts displayed in a historic garden setting, this year's edition shall also see The Russian Chapel especially adorned with flowers for the occasion. The event will also play host to an extensive programme of dancing exhibitions, folk music and presentations designed to embrace and celebrate the season.

For further details and for a full outline of the programme, visit the Society's website here.

Celebrating Easter the Maltese way

Easter marks one of the most important festivities in the Christian calendar, and in Malta, locals embrace age-old traditions and customs which are distinct and unique to these isles.

Holy Week officially begins with Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. On the evening of Maundy Thursday, churches are stripped of their silver and damask in sign of mourning and thousands of people visit seven churches to pay their respects at the Altar of Repose. The following day - Good Friday - processions are held across differing villages and hamlets across Malta, including in Birgu, which commence at 5:30pm and see numerous life-size statues being carried by pall bearers. The mood is subdued and reflective, as Christians in Malta and across the world commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus.

Spirits are lifted on Easter Sunday, as joyful church bells ring and fireworks are heard throughout villages. The feast is known in Maltese as Kristu Rxoxt (the Risen Christ), and following exuberant processions in the streets with the statue of the Risen Christ, families gather to enjoy a rich Easter Sunday lunch, which typically includes lamb and is topped off by traditional figolli almond pastries.

Valletta Concours D'Elegance 2017

valletta concours hotel

2017 marks the launch of the first edition of the Valletta Concours D'Elegance, which will take place on Sunday, April 23. Set within the walls of the historic Baroque city of Valletta, the capital will host a selection of Malta's finest historic automobiles. Internationally renowned judges shall decide on the best car entrant in each category whilst celebrating a love of vintage and classic cars.

In occasion of this event's debut, we're offering our guests a bottle of prosecco and return water-taxi tickets to Valletta on the day. Valid only for bookings between 21/04 and 23/04 using promotional code "IHEARTCC".

Celebrating authentic Maltese food with Maria Shebets: Sardines Escabeche with tomatoes

Image courtesy of Maria Shebets

Image courtesy of Maria Shebets

Our hospitality ethos reflects a deep-rooted passion for this magical, Mediterranean isle, and we love collaborating with Malta-based brands and people that share our passion across differing fields.

We are delighted to launch a monthly collaboration with the talented food influencer Maria Shebets, who loves sharing the richness of Malta's food heritage through her articles, recipes and insights published on her digital platform. Each month, we'll be sharing her latest recipes that combine the best of seasonal ingredients with her unique culinary creativity and flair.

Our first entry features the humble sardine, which is not only packed with nutrients that are essential for your health (protein,calcium, iron and potassium, vitamin B12, along with omega-3 fats) but is also a sustainable fish, as recommended by Fish 4 Tomorrow. Paired with juicy Malta-grown tomatoes, this dish perfectly encapsulates the Mediterranean spirit. To read the full receipe by Maria, visit her page here.

Introducing private culinary tours in Malta

Throughout our travels across the world, we have always loved experiencing a country through its food. The sight, smell and taste of local dish evoke distinct sensations that we believe capture a country’s cultural nuances perfectly.

The latest addition to our private tours offered in collaboration with Malta Private Guide, a balanced and curated gastronomical experience has been crafted so as to offer our guests a unique insight into the traditional elements that characterize authentic Maltese food. 

From honey to pastizzi, organic farms to internationally-acclaimed wine estates, guests will be treated to a full day of culinary delights that will reveal lesser-known aspects of Maltese cuisine through a unique experience.

The 8-hour tour comes complete with a private chauffeur-driven car and a personal guide. For further information and/or bookings, please email info@locandalagelsomina.com

Spring Equinox at the Mystical Mnajdra Temples

Spring Equinox Ħaġar Qim & Mnajdra Temples

Malta is home to some of the world's oldest known Neolithic temples, and later this month, as Winter unfolds into Spring, Heritage Malta is set to organize unique guided tours in celebration of the Spring Equinox at the Mnajdra Temples.

Located on the southern coast of our isle and just a 20-minute drive from Locanda La Gelsomina, the Mnajdra Temples are believe to have been constructed around 3600 years BC. During the Spring Equinox (20-21 March) the sun rises in line with the main doorway of the South Temple, passing through the central corridor to the innermost apse.

Although there are no written records to indicate the purpose of these temples, recent research indicates that they were primarily a solar year calendar and an astronomical observatory.

This is the perfect opportunity to book a suite at Locanda La Gelsomina and use the promotional code 'HIS' when booking direct to benefit from a unique package. Tickets to the Spring Equinox event may be purchased from Heritage Malta here.

 

Sensing Spaces at Birgu's Inquisitor's Palace

Sensing Spaces - the architecture of perception. The idea is to immerse ourselves in spaces within the city in order to absorb its atmosphere. How does knowledge of spatial experience inform design and planning?

Happening a stone's throw away from Locanda La Gelsomina at the Inquisitor's Palace this week organised by SACES Malta, discover architecture and the interpretation of spaces with this inspiring event.

Locanda La Gelsomina joins the world of Frette luxury linens

Image courtesy of Frette

Image courtesy of Frette

Since Frette's founder - Edmond Frette - began manufacturing luxury textiles in northern Italy in 1865, the brand has become synonymous with distinguishable style and curated quality designed to induce a restful sleep. Edmond was one of the first linen merchants to produce jacquard - intricate designs achieved by a mechanical loom that used punch cards to control the weave - and the Italian royal family soon fell for Frette's luxurious fabrics emblazoned with their monograms and crests.

Having dressed everything from the dining tables of the Orient Express to the altar table of St. Peter's Basilica, today Frette is found in the finest hotels across the world. From the Raffles to the Ritz, the Danieli to the Savoy, Frette's refined bedlinens have been loved by hoteliers for decades. 

Today, Locanda La Gelsomina joins Frette's portfolio of international niche and luxury hotels that have embraced the Frette hospitality, making it the sole hotel on the isle of Malta to offer this unique touch of luxury.

Splashes of carnival colour set to dazzle Malta and Gozo in February

Carnival is one of the most highly-anticipated and oldest annual festivals that takes place across Malta and Gozo, bringing with it boundless high-spiritedness, food and colours that anticipate the warmth of Spring ahead.

Valletta in Malta and Nadur in Gozo play host to the largest of Carnival's celebrations, with each city interpreting the festival in its own unique way. Over 4 days in Valletta, the streets fill with parades, marching bands and costumed dancers, culminating in a spectacular float parade that brings out the largest of crowds. In Nadur, Carnival takes on more of a macabre yet quirky mood, as sunset invites a multitude of masked and hooded creatures to throng the streets of the town.

This year, Carnival is set to take place between 24 - 27 February. With the isle's mild, late winter temperatures, it's the perfect time to book yourself into one of Locanda La Gelsomina's suites to remain close to the action yet far from the maddening crowds. Take advantage of our latest promotions that shall be running throughout this period by visiting our Packages + Deals page.

Palazzo Falson steps into the magical world of snuff boxes

Palazzo Falson Snuff Boxes Boutique Hotel

Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum is one of Mdina's oldest buildings (its roots may be traced back to the 13th century), and one of our favourite little corners of the historical hamlet. You can therefore imagine our sheer delight when it recently unveiled its latest exhibition, which shines a spotlight on the history and magical world of snuff boxes.

Featuring an array of 200 boxes sourced from private, museum and ecclesiastical collections on the isle, the exhibition takes visitors on an insightful historical journey that saw this little accessory rise from being a simple snuff container to an elaborate expression of 16th century, upper-class wealth. 

Silver, enamel, ivory, glass and gold have been masterfully transformed into exquisite pieces of miniature art, and this eye-opening exhibition is certain to thrill history and culture buffs alike.

Until 26 February 2017. Free entrance. For further details, visit http://www.palazzofalson.com/