A toast to the dragon slayer
The red and white emblem is out in full force and the chilled pints are being prepared as I write this. Despite it not being a national holiday, St George’s Day sees one of Britain’s most beloved celebrations create an indescribable vibe every April 23. And, thanks to the over seven thousand expats who have made our islands their home, the festivities are spreading even to Malta and Gozo. I spoke with Mr Peter Robinson, Chairman of the British Residents’ Association Council, about the rituals and traditions tied to this holiday.
“Although technically it’s not a public holiday, in Britain different villages tend to come up with their own celebrations and the vibe is certainly a jolly one. You can tell that it’s time to remember St George from the way all the gentlemen put a red rose on their lapels. This is supposed to signify the rose that grew from the blood of the slain dragon. British expats in Malta do get rather nostalgic about this sort of thing, which is why we will be celebrating this Sunday with a gala dinner featuring some traditionally British recipes.”
One ingredient that definitely plays an important part in these celebrations is the good, traditional English ale. Marco Debono, Farsons Brand Executive, explained that the company was already setting up for the influx of orders expected to coincide with this Sunday’s festivities.
“Much like the Irish St Patrick’s Day has become tremendously popular in Malta, the festivities related to St George’s Day have also taken hold on our islands. A number of bars will be holding special offers and activities for the day and the British ales, like John Smith’s Extra Smooth, are turning out to be very much in demand.”
Ales like John Smith’s Extra Smooth, Marco explained, also complement the English pub recipes that we all seem to love. One of the recipes being prepared by The Radisson Blu Golden Sands sous chef Stefan Meilaq for the occassion is one such example.
Oh – and if you were wondering what exactly we are celebrating on St George’s Day, St George is of course patron saint of England but there’s more to it than that. His is, in fact, a story that is steeped in legend and that involves the slaying of a dragon and the rescue of a damsel in distress.
And if the slaying of a dragon and the rescuing of damsels in distress don’t merit a celebratory pint or two, then I really don’t know what the world is coming to...
Find sous chef Stefan Meilaq’s chicken Casserole recipe, prepared using John Smith’s Extra Smooth Ale, on tomorrow’s edition of The TV Guide.