Photo credit Alan Carville
The word “tea” is almost synonymous with “warmth”. Especially in winter time, when you want to hide from the humid cold and piercing wind, a hot cup of aromatic tea promises comfort and serenity.
Many of you would agree if I said that it can be challenging to find a real whole leaf tea in Malta. There are only few worthy places serving afternoon tea, so you can imagine how delighted I was to find one more. To be honest, I stumbled upon it by accident- a very happy accident I must admit!
Locanda La Gelsomina is a Boutique Hotel set within one of Birgu’s oldest buildings, dating from the early 16th century. It features 4 well-appointed suites, a charming boutique and (best of all) a teahouse.
As soon as you step into this house, which has been carefully restored to its former glory, you feel immersed in a truly unique atmosphere. An interesting mixture of traditional Maltese architectural features with a collection of exotic Asian antiquities reflects the intriguing story of the family behind the La Gelsomina. Although the family is Maltese – Italian in origin, they have been travelling in Asia for the past 20 years, finally returning to the island to establish this splendid boutique hotel.
I like this concept very much. You feel like you’ve been invited as a guest into the house, where each item has a story all its own and a cordial host is waiting with a cup of aromatic tea and warm welcome.
Rossella and her mother serve a good selection of teas by BELLOCQ, an award-winning tea company known for their superlative teas and handcrafted blends. At La Gelsomina you can taste the Hibiscus, Siam Basil Lemongrass, Queen’s Guard, Yunan Green, Majorelle Mint and Little Dickens blends. I’m sure you’ll find something to satisfy your personal tastes.
As a delicious accompaniment to the teas, they have a variety of home-made jams. The preserves are made with organic local fruits, including peaches, oranges and strawberries, which are picked from their very own rooftop terrace! We tried peach jam and it was absolutely divine, conjuring up memories of the jams my grandmother used to make. Very delicate, not too sweet, and exceptionally flavourful. In short- the type of jams that taste of real fruit, not sugar.
Apart from jams, there is a small, yet sumptuous, selection of sweets which changes every weekend. You’ll be able to choose from artisanal sweet crisps from Italy, available in dark chocolate, dark chocolate with a hint of chili, pistachio, almond and hazelnut, as well as artisanally baked raisins and candied fruit cake. We absolutely loved the cake, which was quite similar to a Panettone, with a very fresh, light texture and a rich, robust taste.
Also on offer in the display is a selection of fine, artisanal Belgian chocolates made by Mary, along with fancy handcrafted confetti from Italy. Personally I believe it’s more than enough to enjoy a small piece with cup of tea.
It was a wonderful experience! A warm atmosphere and friendly hosts, a cup of hot tea, a piece of chocolate… what a great way to finish a week!
Thank you, Rossella!
Tea afternoons at Locanda La Gelsomina take place every Sunday between 3.30pm and 5.30pm by reservation only, for the price of €12 per person.
3 Triq il-Kunsill Popolari, Birgu 1131, Malta
(+356) 2180 7897 firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit Alan Carville