Maltese Magic: What’s to Eat?

June 7, 2011

When you hear “Maltese food,” what do you think of? Come on, quick!!!

Do you think honey rings?

You should. (Made with black treacle. Mmm.)

Maltese honey rings, copyright Jann Huizenga

Sample one outdoors at Caffè Cordina in Valletta, the place to see and be seen.

Caffe Cordina in Valletta, Malta, copyright Jann Huizenga

Do you think ftira?

Maltese flatbread (ftira), copyright Jann Huizenga

Buy this flatbread piping hot from the oven, and see if you can resist eating the whole damn thing in three minutes flat. According to one national survey, the Maltese eat about a kilo of bread a day. Easy to see why.

Maltese bread oven, copyright Jann Huizenga

Borg Bakery in Valletta

Do you think pastizzi?

They’re the national snack: melting puff pastries stuffed with mashed peas or creamy ricotta.  Drink with a glass of milky tea.

Pastizzi, the Maltese Snack, copyright Jann Huizenga

How to prepare this snack? Take a Tunisian glass of sweet tea, and add some British milk. Stuff Sicilian ricotta into a French puff pastry and give it a good Maltese twist. Talk about fusion cuisine! Malta may have invented it.

Maltese Men, copyright Jann Huizenga

Enjoy your pastizzi with the good old boys at Crystal Palace Bar in Rabat, or at any old-fashioned bar.

Do you think fenek (rabbit)? You should. It’s the national dish of Malta.

Rabbits at the Market in Valletta, Malta, copyright Jann HuizengaYou can find rabbit at most restaurants in Malta, but for a special treat head to Salvino’s in Valletta to sample Chef Andrew Pace’s version (slow-cooked in wine, garlic, and wild thyme). He makes a mean fish soup, too.

Chef Andrew Pace at Salvino's in Valletta, Malta, copyright jann Huizenga

Chef Andrew Pace of Salvino's in Valletta, Malta


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11 comments to Maltese Magic: What’s to Eat?

  • Okay, it’s going on midnight and I want a pastizzi di ricotta about now. It looks and sounds fabulous. Your photos and descriptions are mah-velous. I love seeing things through your eyes. Thanks for sharing.

  • Please excuse my Canadian, provincial ways but the only food that comes to mind associated with Malta is “Maltezers”…those crunchy-centred, malt-flavoured, chocolate-coated candies that wreak havoc on one’s teeth. Thank you for broadening my mind!

    • Jann

      Never heard of Maltezers, Louciao, but it think I’d like them, never mind the teeth. Wonder where they got their name?

  • Sam

    Do you spread the Honey Ring on the flatbread? I’m not sure what to do with my Honey Ring.

  • I’d like to know: what’s the trick to eating a kilo a day of bread and not getting obese? Keep this up and you may make a foodie of me yet!

    • Jann

      Aysha, the capital, Valletta, has steep hills like San Francisco. So hiking up and down hills all day keeps the weight off.

  • Jann, You take the MOST incredible photos! You make us feel like we are right there with you! My mouth is watering!
    Mille Grazie!!

  • Jann, I’ll take a ricotta pastizzi and an espresso, per favore. The honey rings and the flat bread, I’ll take to go! 🙂 How I love your food posts and your accompanying photos which always serve to set the tone and the mood of what must be a “tickle the palette” experience!

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