MedSNAIL: The production of salt from Gozo (Malta)
ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC LANDSCAPES IS MALTA IS DECIDEDLY SALTY: GREAT BATHS DUG DIRECTLY INTO THE ROCK ALONG THE COAST, WITH AN ALMOST LUNAR FEEL, EVOCATIVE AND UNFORGETTABLE. THE MOST FAMOUS SALT PANS ARE IN THE AREA OF XWEJNI ON THE ISLAND OF GOZO, MANAGED BY THE CINI FAMILY SINCE 1860.
The harvest and production of sea salt is probably the oldest industry in Malta, stretching back to Roman times. Sea salt has always been a highly-appreciated ingredient, and has even been used as a form of currency. The Maltese word for salt is melh, and the city of Mellieha in the north of Malta, (which means place of salt production) takes it name from the salt which was produced in the ancient salt lake in the Bay of Ghadira during the Arab period.
We may be tempted to take salt for granted, a practically-free food, yet behind it there’s a difficult production process, influenced by climatic conditions. An ancient profession, and in many ways, a magical one.