How to make the most comforting Christmas beverage with Hotel Calypso

Thu, 02 December 2021

With an average maximum temperature of 17°C and almost 160 hours of sunshine expected, December weather in Gozo will certainly not have you singing - or moaning rather - “Oh, the weather outside is frightful.” While some 100mm of rainfall are expected during the month, there still are a good number of December days that are bathed in glorious sunshine, and are just perfect for exploring the island. Following an afternoon of exploration in the crisp yet not uncomfortable cold weather, a comforting beverage which warms you right up is possibly the most delightful treat to come back to.

 

Are we talking about hot chocolate here? No. Mulled wine, perhaps? Not even. It’s the thick and nutty imbuljuta tal-qastan we start dreaming of when November gives way to December, and more houses across the island start to put on their festive attire. The imbuljuta tal-qastan is a festive drink whose main ingredients are chestnuts (qastan in Maltese), and is generally served piping hot after the Christmas Eve midnight mass. Dating back to 1883, the midnight mass tradition is still going strong on our predominantly Catholic island. Many brave the evening chill – nighttime temperatures average at around 11.5°C in December - and flock to the nearest church to hear a message of hope and peace delivered by a little boy or girl shortly after the stroke of midnight.

 

If you’ll be trading a possibly white Christmas for a golden one with hues of blue in Gozo, you can experience the midnight mass tradition and sample the imbuljuta tal-qastan at Hotel Calypso’s Early Christmas Breakfast right after. But if you won’t be visiting us for the holidays, you can always get a taste of a Gozitan Christmas by following one of our chefs’ imbuljuta recipe and making the beverage at home. We’ve even curated a Christmas carol playlist featuring some of our favourite homegrown artists, local bands, and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, to play on in the background as you whip up your imbuljuta and fill the house with the smell of Christmas - just scan the QR code below!

CHEF'S IMBULJUTA RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 350g chestnuts

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup cocoa powder

  • 50g dark chocolate

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 6 cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc)

  • Grated orange rind

  • Finely chopped mandarin rind

METHOD

  • If your chestnuts are dried, soak them in water overnight for around 8 hours. If your chestnuts are fresh, roast them for around 20 to 25 minutes in the oven until the external shell starts peeling away from the fleshy part. Do not forget to cut an X into one of the sides of the chestnut, which will allow for the fleshy part to expand while cooking without causing the chestnut to explode.

  • If you’re using dried chestnuts, drain them and put them in a saucepan, covering completely with water.

  • Add the rest of the ingredients.

  • Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring, then lower the heat and simmer for about an hour or until the chestnuts are soft.

  • Fish out the mandarin peel and break the chestnuts gently with a spoon, taking care not to crush them too much.

  • Serve your imbuljuta in a cup or a bowl, and let the aroma permeate the house!

WE WISH YOU A JOYOUS FESTIVE SEASON!

Contacts

(+356) 2156 2000

Hotel Calypso Marsalforn Bay Marsalforn, MFN 1104 Gozo, Malta

VAT Number - MT1133-3405
MTA Licence Number - H/0083

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- 24/7 Reception
- Check-In: 14:00 onwards
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