Midnight Mdina Mystery: The Secret Pastizz Recipe Vanishes

The Cast of Culinary Catastrophe

It was a dark and stormy night in Mdina, the Silent City with streets as quiet as a mouse at a cat convention. But in one particular kitchen, the pans clattered and the ovens roared as Carmenu, Malta’s most secretive chef, guarded his legendary pastizz recipe. Meanwhile, in the narrow street outside, Żeppi, a goal-oriented (and occasionally misguided) local amateur detective, schemed with his trusty sidekick, Doreen—knowing that their gastronomic glory could skyrocket if they could uncover Carmenu’s culinary secret.

Żeppi’s Over-Zealous Detective Work

Żeppi’s love of pastizzi was no secret in Mdina. His infatuation often led to wild goose chases, believing that every stray cat must be Carmenu’s undercover guardian of the secret recipe. But Doreen, somewhat the sceptic yet eager to indulge in her friend’s antics, rolled her eyes and followed suit, a notepad ready to document every absurd and unexpected turn of events.

The Plot Puffs Up

Under night’s cover, Żeppi donned his best Sherlock Holmes impersonation—complete with a hat two sizes too small—and instructed Doreen to update their “Operazzjoni Pastizz” Facebook group. The aim? To crowdsource clues from the locals on the whispers of any ħobż biż-żejt gossip that might lead to the elusive pastizz recipe.

“Calling all Mdina night owls! Keep your eyes wide for the master chef who whips up magic! #OperazzjoniPastizz” – Żeppi on Facebook

Doreen’s Sudden Spark

Just as the two stood under a flickering lamp post, Doreen had a moment of brilliance—or so she thought. “Uwejja, Żeppi, what if the recipe isn’t in Mdina at all, but hidden in Valletta, beneath the Siege Bell War Memorial? A perfect hiding spot, hemm beneath the tourists’ noses!” she exclaimed.

Both darted towards the bus stop, visions of fame and all-you-can-eat pastizzi dancing in their heads. With this new destination, our dynamic duo set out to uncover the biggest secret since the infamous unsolved case of who put the lampuki in the festa fireworks.

A Turn for the Tummy

Little did they know that Carmenu, wise to their pastry pursuits, had devised an entrapment as crafty as an imqaret’s twist. In preparation, he placed a trail of breadcrumb-like clues to lead the pair not to his coveted pastizz recipe but toward a surprise that would twist their taste buds into knots.

The Entropic Enigma of Gozo

As the sun rose, they found themselves not in Valletta but aboard a ferry to Gozo, a “clue” suggesting the recipe was encrypted within the Citadella’s enigmatic walls. Excitement bubbled within them like a pot of rabbit stew left on too long. Could Gozo, Malta’s sister island, hold the key to the pastizz pandemonium?

The Culinary Conundrum’s Climax

As the pair scoured the Citadella’s every nook and cranny, they stumbled upon an ancient stone tablet with a mysterious recipe scrawled in what appeared to be archaic Maltese. Elated, Żeppi and Doreen dashed back to their culinary headquarters, ready to become the island’s newest gastronomic geniuses.

The Final Snackdown

With the “ancient recipe” in hand, they toiled day and night, mixing and folding until… disaster struck. The recipe was not for pastizzi, but for an experimental ħobż biż-żejt infused with limoncello—an unprecedented combination of tang and tradition that left their taste testers puzzled and puckered.

“Kollox spiċċa! Our taste testers are marching down the streets demanding traditional flavours! #OperazzjoniPastizzDisaster” – Doreen on Facebook

The Real Pastizz Power Play

As Żeppi and Doreen licked their lemony wounds, Carmenu revealed himself smirking with the satisfaction of a mischievous żunżana (bee). “My dear investigators,” he began, “In Malta, the true pastizz recipe isn’t just about ingredients; it’s about heritage, community, and the warmth of a well-told joke. You can’t steal a feeling, uwejja!”

Taking a bite of a freshly baked pastizz, Carmenu patted the back of the defeated duo. “Besides, I added a little limoncello to the pastizz filling today, and guess what? People loved it. Sometimes, a twist in the tale—or in the taste—is just what we need.”


In the end, Żeppi and Doreen learned an important lesson: In their quest for olfactory domination, they had overlooked the essence of Maltese life—a mix of tradition, innovation, and the laughter shared over a good old platter of pastizzi. As for Times of Mela, we promise to keep bringing you the mystery, humour, and the occasional snack revelation, straight from the heart of Malta.

“The secret’s in the smile, not in the sauce, my friends! Mela, keep cooking up joy!” – Carmenu’s final words