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Nenu, the Artisan baker

When the inspiration to write about this place I visited during the weekend stroke me, I did not have a camera with me to properly show you the place, or a notebook to write down some thoughts.. So, please excuse me for the quality of the pictures but for those of you who are searching for an exciting dining experience in Malta, this is something you might find interesting!

Eating like a local, or finding an authentic, not overpriced or commercialized place here in Malta is not an easy task. There are places that serve you food but once you have been here for a while, serving food is not what you really want to look for. 

Eating like a local should be an experience that would give you some knowledge about why people eat like that and where their traditions came from.

To be honest, it has been a while since I went to such a place that would give me and overall experience feeding not only my belly, but also my mind.

Nenu, The Artisan Baker, based in Valletta was a surprisingly good discovery. The bakery was originally based in Qormi in the early 1970 and later on, with the growing business and the idea of preserving the history of the Maltese bread, an old bakery in the Southern part of Valletta has been restored and re-opened. 

Nenu is based on a concept of restoring the dilapidated bakery to its original state whilst creating a place where the art of making bread could not only be tasted, but also viewed and appreciated.

This project turned out to be a success, as once you step into the bakery you can feel the history of the typical Maltese bread coming into life.

The bakery also offers an inside look at a baker`s day where you can see, learn and prepare the traditional Maltese bread yourself!

Though, it took only a quick look at the menu to understand that Ta’ Nenu is more than just a bakery. We were surprisingly amazed to see the variety of dishes offered (the menu is just a few pages long, focusing only on local specialties), and we spent a good ten minutes deciding how to try a little bit of everything without risking to leave something in our plates. Well.. Thankfully there’s no such risk when R. is around.

We started our dinner with a lovely local bread starter served with kunserva (fresh tomato sauce) and chickpea pure.

Then, we shared a gorgeous ftira (kind of Maltese bread) topped with marrows, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, cheeselets, garlic, black olives, capers, mint and olive oil.
It is said that a good ftira requires good ingredients, perfect timing and most importantly slow cooking. Thus the thirty minutes wait, as indicated on the menu, was definitely worth it.

After that, our main courses followed. I tasted an absolutely delicious roughly chopped pumpkin and vegetable soup, served with fried goat cheese and freshly baked potatoes. I can guarantee that I will try to make the soup at home, this is how much i enjoyed it! It was soft and yummy, fulfilling and at the same time not too heavy. Just perfect for those chilly winter evenings.

The other main course was nothing else but some perfectly cooked, tender octopus stew with black olives, capers, walnuts served with toasted Maltese bread and freshly baked potatoes. It was the perfect marriage between the crunchiness of the bread and the juiciness of the octopus.

I had an idea to try one of the local desserts, but after all this feast I was way too full and overwhelmed! I bet though, that local desserts are real tasty at Nenu as well.

I will definitely take my family once they come to visit me to this place. It is something worth the try, and especially for those who look for a hard-core, authentic, fresh ingredient-based cuisine, Nenu would be a great choice!

Alla prossima,

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