At the very bottom of Strait Street, right before you reach that part of the bastions leading to Fort St Elmo, you will find a tiny baker’s shop with the legend Borg Bakery on the facade. To look at it from the outside, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it doesn’t look like much.
But trust us. And, more importantly, trust your own nose because you will be able to smell the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread from a block away at least. Borg Bakery’s facade has not changed in the 50 odd years it’s been in operation. And, thankfully, neither has the bread.
Here, you will find the freshest bread Valletta has to offer, especially if you show up very early in the morning when the first batches of Ħobz tal-Malti are coming out of the oven. Sadly, traditional bakeries are a dying trade in Malta, but Borg Bakery have continued doing things the proper way, and their Maltese bread is just the right degree of crispy and browned. Our advice is not to wait until you get to your hotel to eat it. As everyone knows, Maltese bread is best eaten fresh, when it’s still piping hot – it doesn’t even need anything added to it, though if you get your hands on a slab of salted butter, you definitely can’t go wrong!
Borg Bakery is also known for the freshly baked Maltese pastries like the qagħaq tal-għasel (honey rings) and biskuttini tal-lewz (almond biscuits), so if you have a sweet tooth make sure you don’t miss out.
Borg Bakery – a baker for the community
Until the early 1990s, most Maltese households did not have their own kitchen oven. This meant that anything that needed baking would have to be taken to the baker’s. Borg Baker, together with other bakeries around Valletta, would fulfill this function for the neighbourhood and it was a common sight on Sunday early morning to see a queue of housewives waiting to hand over their roast and potatoes to ‘Chalie l-furnar’.
Every household would be given a numbered ticket to redeem towards lunchtime. This avoided the confusion of swapping roast lamb for roast chicken, and having to deal with irate families when the mistake would be discovered.
The custom died down towards the beginning of the 1990s, when household ovens became more common.