Andrea Critien, of With Love from our Kitchen, is a happily married, young-at-heart, full-time working mum of two older kids. Preparing jams and chutneys has helped her to discover more of who she is and what really makes her happy as it’s been an integral part of her life for the last 13 years.
When and how did you get started on your artisanal skills?
The thought of feeding my first born the healthiest food choices was always a priority so after I had my second child and reduced my working hours drastically I found myself regularly strolling through Qrendi’s picturesque walkways. All the fruit trees and veggie patches inspired me on how I could capture the colour, flavour and retain as many of their health properties as possible.
Describe your work in 10 words or less
Preserving what Malta’s nature has provided as healthily as possible.
Do you have a favourite from among your own creations? If so, why?
I really couldn’t choose but a favourite jam has to be the locally grown passion fruit jam which is absolutely divine whether eaten alone or with yogurt, oats or spread across ice-cream or cake. Whilst my favourite chutney would be pumpkin & ginger with naspli & lavender a close second – these are a must with cheese, raw veg or simply added to plain rice.
What are you working on at the moment?
Orange and grapefruit marmalade as well as candied peel that I can add to my mince come October.
If you weren’t an artisan, what would you be?
Preparing jams & chutneys has made me more aware of my surroundings and each fruit or veg inspires me to try different combinations so I guess not doing this would make me a very mundane person.
What is the epitome of happiness for you?
When satisfied customers give honest feedback and order over and over again; and above all when my work inspires others to try their hands at preserving local fruit & veg.
What do you love about Malta?
The colourful and flavoursome fruit & veg.
What do you hate about Malta?
The increasingly fast rate at which the dwindling country side is being built up.
Favourite colour and what it means to you?
Malta’s bright blue sky – it spreads happiness all over me
What is your favourite indulgence?
Oats with fresh yogurt topped with any of my jams but particularly passion fruit, strawberry or pomegranate.
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Paula has a pedigree in TV and stage production (children's and family entertainment) and a passion for the arts. She's taken the reins on The Artists' Directory - Malta and the relevant content for the site.