Tasting the local gastronomy of a place is a special experience. In fact, whenever people travel to a new destination, they do take the opportunity to get to know and taste the local cuisine.
Yet, do you think that the bigger a country is, the more it has to offer in terms of gastronomy? Well, you will remain amazed knowing that this is not true or, at least, is not the case of Malta. In effect, although it is just a small island, Malta actually has a huge variety and richness of typical food, wines, and drinks.
The Maltese gastronomy is actually unique all over the world due to the fact that many dishes have been adopted and adapted from different cultures (e.g. Arab, British, French, Italian, Spanish).
Then, you need to discover the most characteristic and authentic Maltese specialities, those which the locals feel very proud of.
Aljotta: this fish soup is one of the most traditional Maltese dishes. The main feature of the Aljotta is that it is extremely rich with garlic (hence its name from aglio, the Italian word for garlic) as well as tomatoes, vegetables, and accompanied with some rice.
Braġioli: they are rolls of beef which are filled with bacon and boiled eggs. They are prepared in a tomato sauce with some wine so as to give it a delicious taste.
Kawlata: this dish is a typical vegetable soup with cabbage and pork. It is a must for all those visitors who want to taste a typical Maltese dish originated from the Arabic culinary tradition.
Ravjul: similar to the Italian ones, their major characteristic consists of the use of ġbejna, the local cheeselet. Tomato sauce and garlic are essential to make this dish tastier.
Soppa tal-Armla: means widow’s soup. This dish consists of a vegetable soup with the traditional ġbejniet and ricotta.
Stuffat: there are two main types of Stuffati: Stuffat tal-Fenek (stewed rabbit) and Stuffat tal-Qarnit (stewed octopus). These two national dishes are still prepared according to the traditional Maltese recipe by the locals.
Timpana: this simple dish is basically baked macaroni. Fried aubergine, boiled eggs, and grated cheese can be added to it so as to make the dish even more appetising.
Torti: these are typical Maltese pies which can be filled with ricotta, eggs, parsley, bacon, or peas.
THE MALTESE MAJJALATA
The majjalata is the traditional Maltese hog roast and represents one of the most characteristic culinary activities on the island.
For this occasion, people gather together for a dinner of which the main course is pork. In addition to pork, the meal may also include other typical Maltese specialities (e.g. ravjul, timpana, ross fil-forn, etc.) The majjalati are very common in the rural areas and Gozo.
Bigilla: is a tasty bean paste. You need to taste it together with some traditional galletti, a type of traditional cracker.
Ħobż biż-Żejt: this is one of the simplest and tastiest local specialities. Basically, it consists of a Ftira (typical Maltese bread) with olive oil and sundried tomatoes. For a richer and tastier meal, also add some tuna and olives.
Mqaret: these fried date cakes are appreciated by locals and tourists alike. Numerous street vendors sell these delicacies all over the island.
Pastizzi: they are the most well-known Maltese speciality. Nobody can come to Malta and leave without having tasted them. Ricotta, peas paste, and chicken are the most common fillings. A new variety of Pastizzi filled with Nutella are also available.
Figolli: they are typical of the Easter period. They consist of an almond pastry with marzipan and adorned with icing. They are prepared in different shapes (e.g. lambs, hearts, etc.)
Ħelwa tat-Tork: consists of a traditional sweet consisting of a rich mixture of almonds and nuts.
Kannoli: similar to the Sicilian ones, they are made of a fried pastry shell which is filled in with ricotta and candied peel.
Kwareżimal: this is a traditional sweet of the Lent period (hence its name from Quaresima, the Italian word for Lent). It consists of a dense and rich pastry with almonds and nuts.
Prinjolata: it is a typical Carnival sweet which is made of iced sponge cake, biscuits, almonds, candied fruit, and topped with cream.
The variety and quality of its wines are also a reflection of the richness of the Maltese gastronomy. The two most famous indigenous varieties of Maltese wines are Ġellewża (red wine) and Għirgentina (white wine).
Different companies and denominations exist on the island. Overall, there are five principal winemakers in Malta, namely:
- Emmanuel Delicata
- Camilleri Wines
Ta’ Mena and Tal-Massar are two other important wine producers in Gozo.
To promote the local wine, every year a wine festival is organised in Qormi to attract both locals and tourists to learn and appreciate the high value and quality of the Maltese wines.
Undoubtedly, the national drink par excellence is Kinnie. This carbonated soft drink has a unique bittersweet taste due to the fact that it contains numerous aromatic herbs.
As regards beers, Cisk is definitely the most famous and appreciated Maltese beer. Drinking a cold Cisk is an experience in itself and is actually a must for everyone coming to Malta. Other renowned local beers are Hopleaf and Blue Label.
Finally, it is ideal to end a meal with Limunċell, the Maltese version of the Italian Limoncello. A good alternative is a Zeppi’s Bajtra, a local liqueur of prickly pears.
As we have seen, food plays a central role and forms part of the Maltese cultural identity. Malta has really an astonishing richness of culinary traditions and, thus, it is fundamental to experience the uniqueness of its gastronomy. This is definitely a must for all those who really want to make the best out of any event through the deliciousness of the local cuisine.
Should you decide to plan a particular event, why not including a typical Maltese buffet with the best local delicacies? We can definitely help you in organising it to enhance your experience and to contribute to making your event a special one.