Spring brings yet another wave of Malta’s delicious fresh produce – and it’s also the peak season for one of its favourites: locally-grown strawberries!
With their uniquely sweet flavour and unusually large size, strawberries from the Maltese islands are so renowned for their superb quality that there is even an annual festival in their honour.
Here’s how to join in the strawberry-related fun this April at ‘Festa Frawli’.
What is Festa Frawli?
‘Festa Frawli’, or ‘Il-Festa Tal-Frawli’ as it is known by locals, literally translates to ‘Festival of the Strawberries’, and has been a fixture on the Maltese events calendar for over a decade.
This annual celebration of Malta’s favourite berry is held every April in the tiny village of Mgarr, with thousands of strawberries picked, prepared, packed and eaten at the event.
In 2018, the 12th edition of Festa Frawli will take place on Sunday 8th April.
Why is it held in Mgarr?
Festa Frawli always take place in the picturesque parish square in the village of Mgarr. As it is surrounded by lush green valleys and fertile farming land, and boasts a rich agricultural history, Mgarr is the ideal place for local farmers to show off their outstanding strawberry harvest to the rest of Malta.
Since Festa Frawli is such a hugely popular event, with thousands of locals and tourists flocking to the village for the occasion, there is often extra public transport and park and ride schemes provided to and from Mgarr, which is in the west of Malta.
What food will be available on the day?
At Festa Frawli, there is an incredible amount of food on offer, but with one common ingredient: Malta’s exquisite, bright red strawberries.
In one of the festival’s previous years, it was recorded that more than eight tons of fresh strawberries were sold, and a further 800 kilos used in the food and beverages at the day-long event.
As well as a constant supply of freshly-picked strawberries brought to the festival throughout the day by the farmers themselves, there is a massive variety of desserts, snacks and beverages available to buy from the open-air kitchen.
Besides professional chefs preparing gourmet strawberry-based cuisine, there are also stalls selling strawberry-related products including homemade jams and conserves, non-alcoholic cocktails, wines, chocolate gateaux, tarts, custards, ice-creams, smoothies, pancakes, waffles, cakes and even strawberry risotto or ravioli with strawberry sauce.
Will there be any family entertainment at Festa Frawli?
Although the main attraction is the delicious strawberry-related food, there is no shortage of family fun to be enjoyed at Festa Frawli.
Maltese folk and ethnic music is often performed by leading local artists using traditional instruments such as iż-żaqq (Maltese bagpipes), it-tambur (Maltese tambourine), and il-flejguta (Maltese folk flute). Meanwhile, folk dance troupes provide entertainment in keeping with this celebration of Malta’s agricultural heritage.
There’s plenty to keep the kids amused as well, with train rides, horse-riding, sports activities, storytelling, face-painting, and fun games and competitions organised by a team of animators.
Fancy heading to Festa Frawli this month? Why not book your holiday to Malta to do exactly that! The Radisson Blu Resort, St Julian’s has excellent springtime rates, bookable here.