Organized for the past 12 years, the Bread Festival in Malta becomes international, beginning this year, and bakers across all over Europe now have the chance to be part of it.
The festival is an exhibition that brings bakers together to present their products in Qormi, Malta, October 18-19. The event is spread along the streets of Qormi, where many traditional bakeries can still be found. Organized by Maypole, one of the biggest bread producers in the country, the Festival is today considered to be one of the main events on the island. This year’s edition is a special one because the organizers decided to open the event to other European bakers for the first time. Participation is free.
Mario Debono, director of Maypole, organizer of the International Bread Festival, told WorldBakers that they wanted to give the festival an international approach, thus providing the public with the opportunity to see the international side of bread. “The bread festival in Malta is unique in many ways. Needless to say, the main feature is bread and the different baking techniques used in Malta along the years. However, the main feature is the unique location where the festival is held. The location is, in fact, Hal-Qormi, a city historically connected to the bakery scene, so much so, that the city’s former official name was Casal Fornaro (literally translated to ‘the home of the baker’). The bread festival adopted the former name of the city – Casal Fornaro,” Debono said.
The festival celebrates the Maltese traditional bread and any derivatives as well as Maltese bread pudding, the official from Maypole explains. The most popular is known as Il-Hobza tal-Malti – the bread of the Maltese which is stone bottom baked bread with a very hard crust. However, the company also produces other types of Maltese bread such as Panini tal-Kwart, Panini tal-Kwart Brown or Ftira.
Besides bread, the company also sells a wide range of cakes & gateaux, frozen food, pastries, ice-creams and seasonal items.
The Organizers, Masters in Breadmaking
Maypole is still baking the traditional Maltese bread as they had been doing in their first days, according to its officials. However, following investment in several R&D programs, the bakery today offers various types of the same bread, such as the Maltese brown bread, the Maltese break with less salt, low GI sliced, additives free sliced and others. “The low GI sliced bread is one of the strongest in our portfolio,” Debono underlines. Maypole’s official explains that the Maltese ranges, white bread and wholemeal sliced bread is 100% natural with no preservatives and additives.
The R&D process starts off with a consultation with the bakers’ team, who then, along with the management team identify an area which is interesting to explore. Once the brief is well focused, this is passed on the R&D team who start the process related to their brief. Once testing is over, the product is launched.
New Maypole Outlets
Maypole outlets follow strict protocols which also include the interior and exterior furnishings and equipment used.
The main challenge faced by the sector is human capital. It is becoming increasingly difficult to encourage young people to invest in a related career. This was overcome by providing in-house training to foreign nationals and those interested in the sector.
Maypole is Malta’s leading bakery, with over 50,000 clients daily (from Maypole’s different outlets across the islands). The bakery brings together Malta’s finest bakers as well as a team of professionals dedicated to research and development.
The brand is committed to traditional values associated with the culinary aspect of the islands. Maypole has become a reference for both bakers and scholars when researching the Maltese traditional bread.
The history of Maypole takes us back to 1900 when the company itself was established as the main bakery in Casal Fornaro. As time passed by and lifestyle changed, the bakery always addressed new needs and trends in an Avantgarde style, thus resulting in an ever-growing list of clients, the official of the company explained. The year 2000 brought along a big change in the way Maypole was presenting its services to its clients as the owners, family Debono, decided to take a risk and open a shop in a locality with the aim of increasing distribution. Since then, Maypole’s brand further strengthened its position and became the bakery of choice to thousands of families through their 24 shops.
Looking to the future, Maypole is striving to go green wherever possible. The use of modern machinery allows the bakery to reduce carbon emission and single plastic use while using environmentally friendly packaging.
Photo source: Maypole