The Maltese Falcon’s Diet: The Quest for Artisanal Ħobż biż-Żejt

The Most Peculiar Harvest in Sliema

Word in the streets of Sliema was that Manwel, a local farmer known for his inventive if sometimes daft agricultural endeavors, had decided to make a bold move in Maltese cuisine that would baffle both nanna and the science community. In a somewhat misunderstood interpretation of ‘farm-to-table,’ Manwel took it upon himself to produce the nation’s first ‘wholemeal’ experience by planting slices of wholemeal bread in his fertile fields.

“Ejjew hawn, take a look at my crop,” said Manwel proudly, patting a mound of soil nurturing what he believed would blossom into ħobż biż-żejt bushes. “My secret ingredient? Mediterranean sunshine and a sprinkle of hope,” he explained, oblivious to the flock of bemused tourists snapping photos.

An Unexpected Turn in Mdina

Meanwhile, in Mdina, a flock of the famed Maltese falcons had developed an unusual craving for Manwel’s experimental bread. Ċetta, a spirited Maltese falcon with an appetite for gourmet food, swooped down on the fields and mistaking them for a grand Maltese picnic, pilfered a slice right out of the ground, Manwel’s dreams flapping away with every beat of her wings.

“Uwejja, who would have thought Maltese falcons fancied my field-to-table fare?” exclaimed Manwel as he chased Ċetta through the narrow Mdina streets, only to find her perched atop the bastions, liberally smearing her stolen bread with sun-ripened tomatoes and a drizzle of the finest olive oil, just as humans would.

“Kemm hi ħelwa ħajja! This is the life!” Ċetta chirped happily, her beak dripping with the glistening oil.

Twists, Tweets, and the Tables Turn in Gozo

In the sister isle of Gozo, the news of a gourmet-loving falcon had gone viral. Food bloggers flocked to the island, desperate for a glimpse of Ċetta indulging in her artisanal treats. But Gozo had something even more twisted in store. As everyone focused on Ċetta, Manwel’s slice of bread had somehow, against all logic, sprouted a tiny tomato vine. It appeared that the Maltese soil, blessed by sheer willpower and some leftover tomato seeds, had birthed a new culinary wonder.

Dear Times of Mela readers,
I am absolutely gobsmacked by the bountiful surprises of our beloved islands. Have we uncovered an agricultural magic spell? Is the Maltese falcon the next influencer in the foodie world? Stay tuned for more updates.
Love, Bonġu Blogger

The Festival of Ħobż biż-Żejt

In a final, delicious twist, the modest town of Għajnsielem, inspired by the events, launched its inaugural Festival of Ħobż biż-Żejt. They built statues of Ċetta, and the farmers, led by Manwel, planted rows of bread, tomatoes, onions, and capers, hoping for a miracle bumper crop. To everyone’s awe and the tourists’ delight, the fields did indeed turn into a peculiar garden-café, with the offerings ready to be plucked and savored right there among the olive trees.

“This festival goes against every grain of traditional farming sense. It’s madness, madness I tell you! But mela, it’s a delicious madness,” chuckled Xmun, the mayor of Għajnsielem, as he bit into a ripe tomato hanging off a bread crust branch.

And so, the Maltese falcons, no longer mere predators of the sky, became the unlikely ambassadors for the most unexpected agricultural revolution Malta had ever seen. As for Manwel, he found unexpected fame as an avant-garde artisan farmer who, against all odds, had everyone asking, “Taf xi ħadd għandu zokkor?” as they sipped flat whites amongst the wheat.

The Times of Mela readers had witnessed the entirety of this saga through their screens and pages, a story full of surprises, bread, and feathers. The tale of Manwel and Ċetta, the foodie falcon, became a parable of innovation and whimsy that would be shared over many a ħobż biż-żejt for years to come.

“After all is said and done, kollox possibli in this little rock in the Mediterranean,” declared Manwel, now affectionately known as the Ħobż biż-Żejt Hero, donning a wreath made of bread crusts and a smile as wide as the Ta’ Pinu basilica.

Mela, dear readers, next time you’re nibbling on that tasty traditional sandwich, just remember, in Malta, even the wildest dreams can sprout from the simplest of seeds… or slices.