La Malta Venezolana

Everything you know and don't know about Venezuelan malt .

By Verónika Popic

Malt or rather maltín polar is a drink that is undoubtedly deeply rooted in the taste memory of Venezuelans . For more than 70 years it has been part of the daily table of any Venezuelan family. For breakfast, lunch or dinner. At home, at school or at the corner kiosk. A cold bullet in the middle of the morning to last until lunch after having left without breakfast. The best ally of a fried empanada accompanied with plenty of garlic sauce. There is no Venezuelan who does not know what a maltín polar is . They also know that it can be considered a complete meal due to its caloric content, but not many know its origin and history.

Throughout this article we will learn how and when it started, its history and one or another curious fact about this leading brand in the Venezuelan beverage market that is little by little gaining international presence due to the demand of all of us who leave our country. mother earth in search of a better future.

Definition of Malta , the drink.

If we look for the definition of the word malta in the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, in its third statement it specifies: 3. f. Cuba and R. Dom. Refreshing drink made from roasted, non-fermented barley . But this definition is not exclusive to Cuba and the Dominican Republic, it extends throughout the Latin American Caribbean including Venezuela.

In Venezuela it refers to a drink based on malted barley, non-alcoholic, very sweet, that resembles a soft drink, but is less carbonated. This drink is not exclusive to Venezuela, its concept originates from Germany where it is known as Malzbier or Kinderbier, for being the children's beer since it does not contain alcohol. In its beginnings it was a dark malty drink whose fermentation was stopped to prevent the formation of alcohol. Over the years its original composition has changed and today it is composed of malt extract , molasses extract, glucose syrup and water. Currently, due to German laws, it cannot be marketed as beer in that country since it is not a fermented drink and you find it mainly under the Vitamalz brand.

In the world there are more than 30 brands in the global market, each one addressing the specific characteristics of each local market. One of the most recognized brands, outside of Venezuela, is the Colombian Pony, which is marketed internationally like Maltín Polar .

From its beginnings it was considered a drink for nursing women or sick people in recovery due to the large amount of nutrients that are also often added with vitamins such as vitamin B12.

In other countries that are not close to the equator this drink has other characteristics, for example, in Chile malt does refer to a fermented dark beer that does contain alcohol and the drink we refer to in this article is known as “ Caribbean malt .” It should also not be confused with American root beer, since they have a similar color but their ingredients and preparation are completely different.

The beginnings of Maltín polar , the Venezuelan malt by preference.

Cervecería Polar was founded in 1941 by Lorenzo Alejandro Fleury, as a beer producing and marketing company. With the help of Carlos Roubiqueck, a brewer from Czechoslovakia, they created what we know today as Polar Pilsen, a “tropicalized” beer to adapt to the Venezuelan palate and climate. After its resounding success and need for expansion to be able to cover the entire national market, in 1950, the second bottling plant of Cervecería Polar, home to Malta Polar, was inaugurated in Barcelona, ​​Anzoátegui state, which due to market issues would finally come to market . light on October 29, 1951 under the name of Malta Polar, which would later change its name to Maltín Polar , with an image that does not differ much from the current one, after its first label was banned by the government of Marcos Peres Jimenéz, since it illustrated an image of a breastfeeding woman alluding to the characteristic attribute of this drink and its power to help mothers increase their production of breast milk and thus help them feed their newborn creatures, which was considered an attack against morality.

This drink would quickly become the market leader in its category due to its refreshing and sweet flavor, coupled with Cevecería Polar's successful distribution strategy capable of reaching the most distant corners of the national territory. Today this brand covers 95% of the market, competing with other brands with a long history such as Malta Regional and Malta Caracas, but which have not managed to take Maltín Polar 's position as the leader in its segment.

Cooking with Venezuelan malt .

Being such a popular drink in Venezuela, the Maltín Polar , it would not be out of place to think that it could be considered a frequent ingredient in current Venezuelan cuisine. If you enter “recipes with maltin a search engine, you can get multiple links that will take us to instructions that mention malt as an ingredient in one of the most popular dishes in Caracas homes, not to mention nationally, as It is the black roast, which we should actually call asado criollo since this name does not appear in the formal gastronomic literature of our country with the first name, but with the last one. Neither Scannone in his famous book, My Kitchen in the Caracas Way , published in 1982, nor Professor Rafael Cartay in his Dictionary of Venezuelan Cooking , from 2005, nor in any of the multiple publications that describe the peculiarities and origins of our complex kitchen, said ingredient appears in the lists. Although it sounds tempting to assume that it could be an ingenious and simple shortcut to achieve that sweet flavor and caramel notes of said recipe. If you do it, please share your results with us in our comments, we would love to know how it turned out for you.

Others are more creative like our allies from Inedit Gourmet, who bring us this ready-to-eat delight, chicken in malt sauce , which has this dark and dense drink in its ingredients to present us with an original dish ready to solve a lunch or a dinner, also if you try them, do not hesitate to share it.

Where to get Venezuelan malt in the United States

Wikipedia alleges in this article that “ Malt is easily found in Latin America . It is more difficult to get in the United States, Mexico and Canada statement with which we do not agree, at least as far as the United States refers, since our main mission at MamaFoods is to reduce the difficulty of getting Maltín Polar , as well like any other Venezuelan product you are looking for, throughout the United States. We have local delivery in Miami and adjacencies between 1 and 2 days, and between 3 and 5 days nationwide with shipments by ground or express mail. This will vary if they are non-perishable, refrigerated or frozen products. If you want to know more about our shipping policies, click here .

Now that we are outside our beloved country we have no other option than to use our taste memory to remember pleasant moments and travel in time, fortunately here in the United States we have MamaFoods, your Venezuelan market that ships to the entire United States regardless of your zip code and that in just a few clicks puts all those products that we miss so much at our fingertips.

Have you already wanted a polar briefcase ? Order it here and receive it at the door of your house along with any other craving you may think of.