Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends
food you must try on your trip to malta
The island of Malta lies between Europe and Africa, and its cuisine reflects elements of both. There are also some dishes that have their origins further afield. The local spicy sausages, for example, reflect traditions brought in from the UK and there are stuffed dates that arrived from the Middle East.
Here are seven tips that can help to identify some of the great foods that visitors will encounter on a trip to Malta.
• Fresh Fish and Seafood
As you might expect, an island surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea has developed a taste for all kinds of different fish and seafood dishes. Octopus is served in a delicious stew with tomatoes, onions, and capers, for example. There is also a fish soup called Aljotta, that tastes of tomatoes and garlic. Other fish including sea bass and swordfish are often available too. You can go down to the shore and see the lobsters, crabs, prawns and other shellfish that are delivered daily. The variety of fresh produce from the sea is astonishing, and so this is definitely something visitors can enjoy when they are visiting Malta.
• Salty Local Cheese
The local cheese is called Gbejniet , and it is made from the milk of sheep or goats. There are very few cows on Malta, and so it is natural that these smaller animals are used to supply the local dairies. This slightly chewy cheese keeps well in the heat of summer and often has pepper or some other spice or herb added. It is also a key ingredient in many pies and pasta dishes, and so you are likely to run into it at some point on your travels through the island.
• Rabbit Stew
For those who like meat, there is always the local delicacy that’s called Stuffat Tal-Fenek. It is a rabbit dish, cooked long and slow with tomatoes, herbs and root vegetables including potato and carrots. The concept is simple, and indeed it was an everyday dish for the ordinary people for centuries. Today it is a national specialty, and you can find this rich and nourishing dish featuring on many a restaurant menu.
• Don’t Forget the Salad
The great thing about Malta is that you can expect warm weather all year round, with a lot of sunshine. There is very little rain, especially in summer, and so most people enjoy eating out in the gardens and terraces of the many restaurants and cafés dotted around the island. Salads are, of course, always to be recommended for al fresco eating. Fresh, juicy tomatoes and a variety of lettuce types are core ingredients, but there are dozens of different types of salad available, garnished with herbs and relishes from the Mediterranean. As the main course or healthy side dish, salads in Malta are super fresh with fine ingredients such as olives, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese and many other treats.
• Pasta, But Not As You Know It!
Italian food is a strong influence on Maltese cuisine, and pasta is understandably very popular. The usual meals of spaghetti, tortellini, and gnocchi are easily found in the Italian restaurants in the bigger towns. There’s a special type of baked macaroni pie called Timpana that is very satisfying. It has a meat and bacon sauce with added cheese, garlic, onions, and tomatoes. The calorie count is impressive, but it could always be sliced into smaller portions if you wish.
•A Thirst-Quenching Soft Drink Called Kinnie
The sweet and fizzy local drink called Kinnie is made from the juice of bitter oranges with some herbs added. The locals drink it in summer, with a heap of ice, sitting under a shady parasol when the summer sun is at its hottest. The recipe is secret, but it contains a unique mix of tasty herbs and spices.
• Tip number seven: Bigilla
Bigilla is a paste made of crushed fava beans with olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and herbs. You can eat it as a starter, with thin Galletti crackers, or as part of a salad platter. It has a cool, mild taste that goes very well with spicy foods too.
There is no better way of finding out about the rich and diverse cuisine of Malta than trying it out for yourself. Malta Holidays would be a great partner in reaching this lovely place and see for yourself that this small island nation has a lot of choices to offer in terms of interesting dishes for
its many visitors.
These seven tips are just a preliminary guideline, not an exhaustive account. The peppers, the lemons, the aubergines, the local beer and all the fast-food snacks are well worth further