Wednesday 20 March 2019

New book about Gozitan dishes

Gozo’s rich Mediterranean palate of unique tastes and flavours are brought to life in The Gozo Table – Il-Mejda Għawdxija, just launched at Talbot & Bons at the SkyParks Business Centre, Malta International Airport.

Based on over 80 recipes by chef George Borg, it is compiled and edited by Hilda Maguire and Colm Regan, with photography by Claire Borg.

Chef George Borg with the book's co-author Colm Regan

Speaking at the Malta launch – the first print run was sold out after the first launch in Gozo a few weeks back – Borg said the book aims to promote Gozo through familiar recipes that receive new flavours and original combinations.

“There is a whole network of people behind my cooking,” he observed. The book challenges people to think in new ways to develop their own table. “You cannot stand still. History is changing and adapting,” he said.

Regan said the genesis of the book is Gozo – its produce, its people and its particular culture and traditions.  “We wanted to highlight the quality, diversity and character of the traditional Gozitan cuisine while challenging people to be creative and innovative in how they use those traditions.

“We wanted to produce a recipe book that would get locals and tourists alike to look again at what is so often taken for granted. We wanted to place the old familiar ingredients in new contexts and settings to illustrate the potential of local produce and approaches. Finally, we wanted to produce a recipe book that all Gozitans and Maltese would be proud to share regardless of their age – a modern cookbook rooted in tradition and experience.”

Sampling some Gozitan wine

Another issue addressed in the book is the ambivalent attitude that many Gozitans and Maltese have to their own cuisine, frequently feeling it to be inferior in some way to other international cuisines. Three aspects of Gozo are celebrated in The Gozo Table – Il-Mejda Għawdxija:

  • the sheer quality of its produce from wine and cheese to pork and rabbit to olive oil, basil and a huge variety of vegetables;
  • the skill and dedication of local producers and artisans – many are highlighted in the book including, butchers, bakers, vegetable growers, and the makers of Ilma Zahar.  Above all else, the book is a celebration of the creativity, professionalism and vision of one of Gozo’s best known chefs, George Borg; and
  • The traditions and culture of the island as it affects food and the seasons – for example, the 1551 wine label; the broad bean recipes of spring; and traditional Christmas food and styles.

The launch was hosted by Talbot & Bons, along with 1551, represented in Malta by Attard & Co. Ltd.

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