Mazzit, a Maltese traditional sweet and savoury tasting meat product made from swine or male bovine blood, may be recognised by the European Union as a product with a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), cementing its status as a heritage product.

Earlier this month, the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) launched a public consultation that will run until 9th April 2024.

The consultation follows an application by the ‘Mazzit Stakeholders Group’, and if there are objections, the product will be give provisional national protection until the dossier is submitted to the European Commission and assessed by the European Commission and the EU’s member states.

The traditional recipe for mazzit involves mixing blood with local onions, raisins, cocoa powder or liquid chocolate, and sugar, with the mixture then encased in swine or bovine intestines. In addition to these staple ingredients, producers also add a small quantity of natural sweet flavourings and spices.

The application stipulates that mazzit is cylindrical in shape (sausage-like), weighing up to approximately 0.8 kg, brownish in colour, with a semi-translucent intestine casing.

All blood for the production of mazzit is provided by approved abattoirs in Malta, and comes from pigs and/or male bovine raised within the geographical area.

A report prepared by Xandru Cassar and Kluivert Galea notes that mazzit was historically identified as one of the principal sources of protein for the Maltese population, with early twentieth century sources pointing out that it used to be eaten, in particular but not exclusively, on weekends and festivities, as well as to celebrate the end of fasting from meat following the Lenten period.

A public survey resulted that 95 per cent of participants considered the product as traditional.

Interestingly, more than three quarters of respondents reported having tasted mazzit before, and more than half said they consume or previously consumed it regularly.

Of those who stated they consume/d it regularly, 70.2 per cent said they consume or used to consume mazzit once a week. The authors of the report note that the frequency of reports of once-weekly mazzit consumption is synonymous with the old custom of eating mazzit on a Sunday morning.

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