The Maltese Ice Ship

Taste History

Second episode by Taste History focusses on the importation of ice from Sicily to Malta. An interesting story demonstrating the enterprise and grit of Maltese traders.

Heritage Malta’s gastronomy initiative ‘Taste History’ have made available a second video feature on social media and YouTube. The second episode focuses on the importation of such a basic kitchen essential – ice.

Ice was being imported in the 17th century by the Knights of Malta from Mount Etna in Sicily. The order actually had their own grotto on the mountain to store snow and ice. Ice was used to make iced drinks, ice cream and sorbet. The ice would be sold at a shop on St. Ursola Street in Valletta.

A French visitor to Malta in 1679 once wrote, “although the island lies on the 34th degree, there is no lack of ice dishes and of snow, thanks to the efforts of a contractor who charges two sols six deniers a pound on the understanding that he supplies it all the year round. He brings it from the mountains of Sicily and pays a fine of nine écus for every day that he fails to deliver it.” (Nouvelle Relation du Voyage et Description exacte de l’Isle de Malte per un Gentilhomme francais, Paris 1679)

In the following feature by Taste History, one can appreciate the enterprise and grit of Maltese traders operating from the centre of the Mediterranean. Another great feature which we hope you will enjoy.

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