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Being such a small country, Malta cannot compete in terms of size of the Maltese community in London, or Maltese restaurants, or anything that goes down that line of thought. However, London has been a destination for Maltese people for quite some time now, so once I learnt where to look I could find some of the home comforts I would otherwise miss out on.
My biggest disappointment when I moved to London two years ago was that I could not get my favourite Maltese soft drink in the UK. For a good chunk of these years, people coming over to visit me lugged packs of it over here for me. However, things changed this summer: Kinnie arrived in London!
Kinnie is “a lightly carbonated [softdrink] with an infusion of unique aromatic flavours and energetic twists of bitter and sweet oranges”. You can definitely tell it’s a favourite of the Maltese as when you go to buy it in the shops in the West End (where it is stocked), you’re immediately asked about your link to Malta!
Maltese products in London are not just Kinnie though! The one big event where everything Maltese is brought together under one roof is Malta Day organised each September by the Maltese Culture Movement. There, besides ready-cooked snacks such as timpana (baked pasta) and qassatat (pastry filled with a ricotta filling), you can also buy packs of pastizzi (Maltese cheesecakes and peacakes), ravjul (pasta parcels), or whatever you want to stock up on for the rest of the year.
Food-related things are not the only Maltese product you can find here. London is also a destination for Maltese musicians. One of the most popular Maltese artists in London right now is singer/songwriter Carrie Haber, who won the title of best songwriter and best female artist in the 2009 Malta Music Awards. And of course there is Tiffany Pisani, the Maltese girl who won Britian’s Next Top Model this year.
So you can not only get some Maltese food and drink, but also Maltese entertainment. How’s that for a full package?
Have you been to Malta Day or found any other examples of Malta in London? Tell us in the comments below