A Déjeuner Amical at the Excelsior Hotel, Floriana on Saturday the 4th of February 2023

The Malta Bailliage hosted its first event of 2023 at the Excelsior Hotel in Floriana on Saturday the 4th of February 2023.


In his introductory speech, the Chancelier Mr Charles Gatt made the following remarks:


It had been a long time {in fact about 8 years) since our last dinner at the Excelsior when we had hosted a contingent from the Bailliage of West Munich. It had been a grand occasion and in fact, the ballroom downstairs was full.


The dinner had been originally scheduled for last June as part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations but was postponed because of ongoing problems with COVID.


The original plan had been to welcome new members of the Chaine - Dame Elsa Meyland Smith and the new General Manager of the Corinthia Palace Hotel, but the former was indisposed and the latter could not attend because of work commitments.


The Chancelier then welcomed new guests H.E. Godwin Bencini and Madame Ann Bonnici together with the honourable Graham Bencini and Dr Julienne Bencini.


Turning to the menu Chancelier said that this was the first time chef Melvin Sammut had prepared a dinner for us, with a typical Maltese Amouse Bouche as an introduction.


Finally, Mr Gatt thanked the very helpful management of the hotel, especially Daniel Mamo and Dylan Caruana.


Following the Chancelier’s speech, Dr Iro Cali-Corleo, our Echanson, discussed the wines which were to be served with the dinner. His comments can be found below accompanying the menu.


After dinner, the Bailli Délégué Dr Joseph Xuereb, toasted the Executive Chef de Cuisine Mr Melvin Sammut, and his brigade for the excellent dinner and very attentive service. He also added that all dishes were served on warm plates, a very important detail which is often overlooked.


Kindly note that besides a photo gallery of this event at the bottom of the page, there is also a link to a photo gallery of the Patronal Dinner which was held at the Radisson Hotel on the 3rd of December of last year at which Chevalier Anthony Busuttil was welcomed as a new Chaine member.




Pre-dinner reception


Amuse Bouche - Gbejna u Tadam


Local fresh sheep's milk cheeseIet, cheeselet mousse and tomatoes

Fromage frais local de brebis, mousse de fromage et tomates


The Chef de Cuisine, Melvin Sammut, offered us a very interesting, original, well executed and artistically well-presented menu.

The amuse-bouche sounded a bit mysterious reading the title, but we were in for a surprise.

It was really nice to look at, like a miniature Maltese Food Nature Morte painting, and very tasty with all the Maltese flavours we know.'


Antinori Franciacorta Curvee Royal Brut (Sparling)


‘Produced from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Blanc grapes and aged on lees bringing out aromas of white peaches, apples, and toast on the nose. Perlage is delicate yet persistent. The palate is lively with notes of dried apricots and apples.’




Starter - Hunting Squid


Squid stuffed with sea bass and red prawn mousse, lemon and samphire, charred cauliflower puree, grilled green onion, split basil cream sauce

Encornets farcis au bar et mousse de crevettes rouges, citron et criste marine.puree de chou-fleur carbonise, cebette grillee, sauce creme use au basilic.

The second course of stuffed squid with sea bass and red prawn mousse was very tasty and light and very well presented.


Wine: Villa Raiaino Fiano 2020 DOCG


100% Fiano from sites with chalky and clay soils in Avellino. The grapes are pressed as whole bunches and the juice is fermented in stainless steel to preserve freshness and ripe primary fruit character. On the nose - delicately floral with light spice, citrus and pear aromas. The palate was of ripe fruit such as white peach and pear balanced by good acidity and minerality.


Main Course – Quail


Butter roasted quail stuffed with free-range chicken and truffle mousse,  quail scotch egg, a medley of baby vegetables, honey roasted figs, pommes anna, port jus


Caille rotie au beurre, farcie de volaille fermiere et mousse de truffe, oeuf de caille pane, melange de mini-legumes, figues roties au miel, pommes anna, jus au porto


The main course of stuffed quail with free range chicken and truffle mousse was very well presented too, and served with very interesting quail scotch eggs, honey roasted figs and melting Pomme Anna with fresh baby vegetables.


Wine: VilIa Raiaino Fiano 2020 DOCG / Donnafugata SuI Vulcano Etna Rosso 2019


'100% Nerello Mascalese. On the nose as expected typical Etna aromas of wild berries (strawberry and red currant) and floral scents. On the palate, it was medium-bodied with fresh tannins with red fruit flavours and a long and balanced finish. James Suckling gave it 93/100'.


Dessert - Citrus chocolate


Almond chocolate biscuit, mandarin chocolate cream, piedmont crunch, exotic textures

Biscuit chocolat amande, creme chocolat mandarine, croustillant piemontais, textures exotiques


'The dessert of Almond chocolate biscuit, mandarin chocolate cream, and exotic textures was not only beautiful to look at but very tasty and rich in different flavours and textures. Well done to Chef Melvin Sammut, his pastry Chef and All his Brigade.'


Wine: Donnafugata Kabir 2021


‘100% Zibibbo Produced from Moscato d'Alessandria vines of over one hundred years of age. The harvest usually takes place at the end of September. The grapes are soft-pressed and fermented in steel where it ages for two months. On the nose - notes of tropical fruits and orange peel and blossom. On the palate, the sweetness was well balanced by the acidity with flavours of ripe fruit such as peaches and nectarines the finish was long and with a creamy texture.’


Coffee/Tea and Petits Fours


Chef de Cuisine: M. Melvin Sammut


The comments on the food were prepared by Conseiller Culinaire M. Marc Besancon. 


Mark Bailey

Charge de Presse

Vive La Chaine!