Is the ftira a marker of identity?

Is the ftira a marker of identity?

Lecture on this Maltese staple on January 24

A talk about the historical, artisanal and culinary qualities of the Maltese ftira by food historian Noel Buttigieg is being held at the Inquisitor’s Palace in Vittoriosa.

The lecture, on January 24 at 7pm, will be delivered in English.

For centuries, bread has been an integral part of Malta’s food patterns. Not only was it essential in the Maltese diet, it was also intrinsically ingrained in historical consciousness and culture.

Bread strengthened historical political ties, was key in securing social control and has occasionally generated unrest. It has been a social marker distinguishing classes, and has penetrated in the Maltese language with numerous idioms and metaphors describing various life situations.

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The ftira, which has been proposed for inclusion in Unesco’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, falls perfectly in this scenario.

Its distinguishable flat shape has baptised it as ftira, from the verb fattar - meaning to flatten (the dough), as described by the linguist Giovanni Francesco Agius de Soldanis in his "Damma" - a 1766 dictionary, or the Italian equivalent schiacciata, as referred to when being prepared in the Order’s bakery in 1742.

This points towards the artisan nature of the ftira, which still remains at the centre of its production.

Attendance is free of charge. For reservations and more information one should call 2182 7006 or visit Heritage Malta’s website


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