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Ġbejna

Ġbejna (plural Ġbejniet) are cheeselets made on the Maltese islands from goat’s milk, salt and rennet, while those from the Gozo islands are generally made from sheep’s milk. Gozo cheeselets are a little larger than those in Malta. Ġbejna (Maltese cheese) is white, flaky and semi hard texture. It has a mild taste. They are stored in a mixture of brine and vinegar to keep them moist and covered with pepper to make its taste more exciting. In Malta most of the goat and the sheep’s milk is used for the production of cheeselets on cottage industries. There are various varieties of these cheeselets such as : pickled, salted (ġbejniet maħsula), peppered (ġbejniet tal-bżar), dried (ġbejniet friski / ġbejniet tal-lima). Most of these originated in Gozo. Maltese riccotta cheese is known as ‘irkotta’. These cheeselets form as important part of Malatese cuisine, such as in soups, etc. Grated, sliced, or fried they can be used in any form. They are served alongside breads and vegetable dishes as appetizers. Used as bread spread, or for making cheese cakes and ravioli, Ġbejna is a popular ingredient in Maltese cuisine. Today Ġbejna is used more than riccotta cheese. They are manufactured in the form of cheese hurdles. These cheese hurdles in the previous times were made of dried reeds, but today they are replaced by plastic ones. These hurdles are dried in ventilated rooms whose windows are covered with nets. Its served in cake shaped sized around 50 mm diameter. To preserve the cheese, keep them in a cool, dry place. Other types of cheese that are used on these islands are Feta and Riccotta. Wines that go with the cheese: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Carignan, Chenin Blanc, Moscato

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