If the Mediterranean were to release a Greatest Hits album, Malta would be it. So says the mind of travel vlogger Mitchell Mingorance. The ex-property agent runs a YouTube channel called ‘Mitchell Travels’ that sees him delving into a country once per month, exploring everything its culture and history has to offer.
Mitchell recently travelled to Malta and recorded his journey across the islands in one of the best travel vlogs we’ve seen for a while
Within minutes, Mitchell already plays the tourist’s role far too well by commenting on our traffic. Like, you come to an island with some of the oldest standing structures in human history and enough churches to fill a gap year to the brim, and you still feel the need to point out that we have a lot of cars. He also erroneously refers to Golden Bay as a town, but we’ll let that one slide.
Yes, we know there’s a typo. Thank you and goodbye.
Why? Because he actually does Malta justice for the next 14 minutes.
Mitchell really manages to shine a spotlight on some of the less-talked-about (but still much-loved) tourist attractions of the island. Walking through the capital city Valletta, he makes sure to show off the multicoloured gallarija balconies and then proceeds to talk about our indigenous foods.
Serkin makes a much-deserved cameo in the video, with a focus being put on the fact that Mitchell just can’t keep the pastizzi flakes out of his beard. His choice of filling is irkotta so we’re just going to use this opportunity to say the war against piżelli is now officially over (we polled this a while back and piżelli came out on top by 2%, but we’ll just blame that on something like the weather, or better yet the foreigners and their awful taste).
Mitchell must’ve majored in history back in college, because the video also details Malta’s history very well. Specifically looking into maritime history, Mitchell refers to Malta as a “tiny, strategic island placed smack in the middle of one of the most navigated maritime passages in human history”.
“Unsinkable aircraft carrier to some, limestone bullseye to most”
And if that doesn’t make you think “wow, this is what we’re known for”, then I don’t know what will.
Continuing on in the spirit of giving Mitchell his due credit, he absolutely nails the pronunciation of the Three Cities: Senglea, Cospicua and Vittoriosa. I can’t tell if that’s because he’s American so can really nail the Italian twang, or if he actually did his research and practised in front of a mirror a thousand times (which is totally not something I do when learning a new word in Maltese).
His next stop on the grand tour of Malta is his hotel restaurant, where local encyclopedia gra-Malti-ca, Paul Spiteri, introduces him to the best thing ever: fenek moqli. Sliced bread? Better. We have fried rabbit with enough garlic to send Dracula six feet under.
Over the course of his meal, the tone shifts more towards focusing on the change Malta is currently going through.
Mitchell really has done his research – he brings up the hyper-development the country is currently going through and wants Paul’s take on the changes.
Paul brings up the fact that Malta is still doing relatively well, with 4% unemployment and a registered growth of 7% (one of the highest within Europe), but Mitchell then wants to know if all of the erratic growth is forcing locals out. But as Paul mentions, almost 80% of Maltese own their property.
What Paul fails to bring up, though, is the fact that 100% of the property owners can’t decide what to do with their parents’ villa, so it sits empty for years and will most probably be sold off to the next flashy development project that lines the pockets of a higher power.
Changing the subject rather seamlessly, Mitchell makes it his mission to find out what exactly a Maltese person is.
What do you get when you mix the English culture of overbearing and indoctrination with the whimsicality of the Italians? According to Paul you get the “quintessential Mediterranean,” held together by a love of football.
Taking a trip over to Caviar and Bull, Mitchell gears up to learn more about Malta’s budding gastronomical empire.
Malta’s superstar chef Marvin Gauci himself takes to the screen and sings nothing but praise for Malta’s community of chefs. Understandable, too, as they are making headlines all over the culinary airspace. Again, wanting to discover the identity of everything, Gauci details the origins of Maltese cuisine as having an influence from Italy, who gave us pasta, and the Arabic effect in our ftira. Also fish, because we’re an island, which makes total sense.
What’s next for our cuisine, you ask?
Marvin explains to Mitchell that Maltese chefs can be found in all corners of the world, but the ones who remain in Malta are currently trying to focus on creating an identity of Maltese cuisine that remains impartial to outside influences – adapting local dishes into something truly Maltese by using only local ingredients and traditional methods.
The video then runs the usual catalogue footage of Mdina, but the vibrancy of the clips really does shine a light on Malta that is somewhat different to the usual scenes. The alleyways light up with glorious yellows, the flora beam in Spring-bright greens, and colourful doors pop out like an Andy Warhol collage. All of this comes together to paint a beautiful picture of Malta that anyone could fall in love with.