Malta, the small yet beautiful island nation located in the Mediterranean Sea, has a rich and diverse culinary culture that reflects its long and storied history. From traditional Maltese dishes, such as rabbit stew and pastizzi, to the influence of Italian, British, and Arabic cuisine, Malta is a must-visit destination for food lovers.
Famous Dishes in Malta
Rabbit stew, or “Fenkata” in Maltese, is perhaps the most famous dish in Malta. It is traditionally served on special occasions, such as family gatherings, weddings, and religious festivals. The dish consists of rabbit, potatoes, onions, garlic, tomato paste, and wine, slow-cooked in a pot until the meat is tender and the sauce is rich and flavorful. Some variations include adding spices such as cinnamon or bay leaves to enhance the flavor.
Pastizzi is a flaky pastry that can be found all over Malta and is a staple of the island’s street food scene. It consists of a crispy outer shell filled with ricotta cheese or a mixture of peas and meat called “kaccang.” The pastry is typically heated and served as a snack or small meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Gbejniet, a traditional Maltese cheese, is made from sheep or goat’s milk and is usually served with fresh bread or sliced vegetables. There are two main types of Gbejniet: fresh and dried. Fresh Gbejniet is soft and creamy, while dried Gbejniet is aged and has a crumbly texture. The cheese is often infused with herbs or spices such as pepper or fennel.
Timpana is a pasta dish that is similar to a baked ziti. It is made with macaroni, tomato sauce, minced beef, and vegetables such as onions, carrots, and celery. The dish is typically baked in a round casserole dish and topped with a layer of puff pastry.
Culinary Culture in Malta
Maltese cuisine has been influenced by the various cultures that have passed through the island over the centuries. The cuisine features a mix of Italian, British, and Arabic influences, as well as traditional Maltese dishes. Some of the typical ingredients used in Maltese cuisine include olives, tomatoes, capers, and olive oil.
Maltese cuisine also has a strong connection to religious and cultural traditions. During holy festivals such as Christmas and Easter, traditional sweets and pastries such as figolli and kwarezimal are prepared. Similarly, during the Muslim month of Ramadan, Maltese Muslims prepare traditional dishes such as Imqarrun il-Forn (baked macaroni) and Ross il-Forn (baked rice).
What is the national dish of Malta?
The national dish of Malta is rabbit stew, also known as “Fenkata.”
What are some traditional Maltese sweets?
Some traditional Maltese sweets include figolli, a sweet pastry usually made during Easter, and qaghaq tal-gidra, a traditional love-knot shaped sweet pastry.
What is the origin of Maltese cuisine?
Maltese cuisine has been influenced by the various cultures that have passed through the island over the centuries, including Italian, British, and Arabic influences as well as traditional Maltese dishes.
What is the most famous street food in Malta?
The most famous street food in Malta is Pastizzi, a flaky pastry filled with ricotta cheese or a mixture of peas and meat called “kaccang.”
Malta’s culinary culture is as diverse and rich as its long and storied history. From traditional Maltese dishes such as rabbit stew and pastizzi to the influence of Italian, British, and Arabic cuisine, Malta is a must-visit destination for food lovers. The island’s connection to religion and cultural traditions is also reflected in its cuisine, which offers a unique and authentic experience for visitors.