The Figolla

 In TasteHistory

Malta’s Sicilian connection is beautifully represented through the ultimate Easter sweet, the figolla. Amid its ancient origins in Sicily, the figolla’s unabated popularity continues in Malta. The earliest visual representation of the figolla in Malta to-date was painted by Pasquale Leonetti, possibly of Sicilian origin, in 1762. This sweet was already decorated with coloured sugar coating and eggs. We are not sure how informed was Leonetti about the shape and form of figolli in Malta. Leonetti’s contemporary, the Gozitan De Soldanis, describes the fegkulla [De Soldanis’ spelling in his Damma] as a dough figure baked in the shape of a male or a female holding an egg. Is it possible that both shapes were commonly prepared, maybe shaped differently depending on the recipient?

The figulla in human shape, according to De Soldanis, was given to children to consume on Easter Sunday. To this day, children still receive figolli on Easter Sunday, although the shapes have undergone some significant changes.

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