Just behind the market in Victoria a little shop has slowly been reviving old recipes and traditional flavours before they are forgotten. Sandra Aquilina drops in at It-Tokk Green Grocer and is charmed by the rows of jars with their promise of secret flavours.
They glisten from the depths inside the jars, rows and rows of jams, honey, fruit wines, sun-ripened products, shimmering with flavour. Fruity ambers, rich reds, deep greens and milky whites glow from inside the jars, filling the shelves, which heave with expectation. Every inch of space is packed with polished jars, their flavours packed tight, secrets yet to be discovered.
On the counter, stacks of shiny olives shimmer, drowned in a bath of garlic, oil and parsley while rows of gbejniet, some plain and white, others smothered in pepper, hard and tangy, sit beside them. There is a sense of richness of flavour, as the natural goodness and ripe luxury of Gozo’s traditional foods, once considered the domain of the humble has, in recent years been rediscovered in all its genuine strong flavours.
Outside, crates of fresh fruit and vegetables attract customers who wander past the market to explore the little shops behind. Here, behind the market’s daily bustle of activity, the little shops have been standing for decades, a part of the tableau which daily unfolds before them.