With much more to offer than beaches and sun, this tiny little rock in the the Mediterranean Sea is a culinary force to be reckoned with. The Sicilians, Phoenicians, Arabs, Romans and the British have played an important role as to why Maltese cuisine is so rich in culture, diversity and history.
When visiting, experiences are aplenty. Think intimate wine tours where you can sip a glass or six in lavish buildings with local producers, olive oil tasting sessions to learn about the process from pressing to bottling, or how about taking a jab at a Ġbejna (goat cheeselets) masterclass? Rub shoulders with the local beekeepers that will interactively and passionately educate you on how Malta’s liquid gold is created and why it’s so renowned all over the world.
Sunday mornings are made to experience everything Marsaxlokk’s vibrant fish market has to offer. There you will be taken aback by the endless options of the freshest seafood which Malta is notoriously known for. Lampuki is a national staple, a white flakey seasonal fish that can be found in September until about November (locals love to stuff it in a pie).
A variety of bread (with a reputation to be some of the best in the world), vibrant prickly pears, home-grown strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, global artichokes, Gozitian sea salt, and honey make up just some of the produce that this 7,000-year-old archipelago takes pride in. Sustainability, whether it’s restaurants raising the flag for farm-to-fork eating or elevating seasonal ingredients to the centre of dishes, is a big thing on the island.
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Maltese dishes to try
Malta’s number one snack. This cheap and cheerful (almost diamond-shaped) pastry is the ultimate comfort food. Flaky on the outside and stuffed with traditional fillings such as peas or ricotta cheese. Pastizzi are mainly found in kiosks or snack bars; however, some restaurants serve their own modernised version as an appetiser.
It is impossible to go to a traditional Maltese restaurant and not find fenek (rabbit) on the menu. This beloved cultural delicacy can be served either in a stew simmered with red wine, herbs, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes (stuffat tal-fenek) or gently fried in olive oil, garlic and spices (fenek moqli), which is typically served with potatoes.
The utmost snack or lunch time treat, and a real ode to Maltese cuisine. Ftira biż-żejt typically involves tuna, tomato paste, olive oil, capers, mint, sun-dried tomatoes and olives, sandwiched between a large, thick, crusty Maltese disc-shaped bread roll.
Book a trip now, with seven nights at 4* Pergola Hotel & Spa and direct flights from London Gatwick with Easyjet, from £295 per person, based on 2 adults sharing on a room only basis. Find out more here.