When tradition becomes trendy: social distinction in Maltese food culture

  • Elise Billiard Université de Provence
Keywords: tradition, identity, social distinction, Malta, food culture


This article looks at the revival of traditional Maltese food as a medium with which the Maltese represent, and contest, relationships among social classes. The recent revival of traditional Maltese food represents the quest of a young Maltese nation for originality, especially by the elite of that society. I argue that the Maltese elite, by using traditional, picturesque images of themselves, is succumbing to foreign ideals, and accepting the symbolic domination of Europe. Food habits have always been part of one’s everyday passive identity, but the revival of traditional food in Malta is an active and political claim for a desired identity.