If you want to experience authentic Maltese cooking you need to eat in a Maltese home, where Maltese food recipes have been handed by word of mouth over many generations.
Maltese food has evolved over thousands of years, influenced by the many cultures brought over by foreign powers who at one time or another occupied or traded with Malta.
This foreign influence mixed with Indigenous peasant food, which was mainly based on local vegetable produce since most farm animals were kept to produce milk and eggs or help on the farm.
Cooking in Malta and Gozo is very important in our way of life, and family meals have survived the changes in Malta’s social fabric.
This recipe collection aims to bring together a wide selection of Maltese food recipes including soups (Sopop), meat and poultry (laħam),pies (torot) bread (ħobż), pasta vegetables, sweets (ħelu), and sauces (zlazi). We are also trying to group these recipes by course or by occasion.
Now, the Maltese recipes are here:
Traditional Maltese Cuisine
Maltese food is rustic in character, full of the flavour and colour typical of a central Mediterranean Island. Our food is influenced by Malta’s proximity to Sicily and North Africa but with a special slant all our own.
Traditional food accompanies us through life; a glass of smooth local wine with friends in a village bar comes with a dish of olives, some gbejniet (local sheep’s cheeses), zalzett (coriander flavoured Maltese sausage) with galletti (Maltese crackers) and some bigilla (broad bean pate) served with Maltese bread and olive oil; or on a cold day hot pastizzi (savoury ricotta filled pastries) are perfect with wine or coffee.
Summer days at the beach means hobs biz-zejt, a popular snack made from a thick slice of crusty Maltese bread, rubbed with juicy, red tomatoes and topped with mint, a little onion, sheep’s cheese and anchovies all soaked in delicious green olive oil; a taste of sunshine, a taste of Malta.
Cold winter nights bring on bowls of golden minestra, a very thick vegetable soup served with Maltese bread and oil. Fish, fresh from the surrounding Mediterranean Sea, plainly cooked is a consistent feature of our cuisine, especially aljotta, a delicious garlicky fish soup.
Summer village festivals produce sweet street foods like imqaret (date pastries) and Qubbajt (nougat) to enjoy along with the fireworks and processions. Special family meals bring on serious dishes like Ross fil-forn, (Baked Rice), Imqarrun (baked Macaroni) or Timpana (a very special rich pasta baked in a pastry case) often followed by rabbit or meat dishes served with Maltese potatoes and vegetables.
Desserts depend on the occasion; Easter Figolli (almond stuffed pastry figures), Christmas qaghaq tal-ghasel (honey rings), or simply a Cassata, (ricotta filled sponge with marzipan) some Cannoli, (Ricotta filled fried pastries) or another of the many traditional desserts, and sweet biscuits are popular snacks, perfect with a cup of strong coffee.
Basically perishable and precarious, cookery is paradoxically the most enduring type of art. It is rooted in culture and history, thus representing a fundamental part of our civilisation.
Environmentally-affected eating habits are deeply settled in populations and, particularly in the Mediterranean region, they date back to the dawn of time.
For ages countless populations peopled the Mediterranean shores; very different from each other in terms of culture and of ethnic belonging. The environment provided them with its resources, similarly the same all along the Mediterranean shores, affecting the blossoming of their civilisations.
A centuries-long experience of trades and commerce enabled the sharing and the dissemination of the different using methods of these resources. The preparations of dishes and products were deeply affected by such a continuous and prolonged cultural exchange.
It is thus absolutely plausible to speak of Mediterranean cookeries, well aware one is not dealing with a whole of identical recipes in all countries, but rather with an often very similar use of resources of an environment presenting close ecological and climatic characteristics.
However, it is important to remember that the term ‘Mediterranean cookery’ is somehow a collective misnomer since such type of cuisine is characterised by a rich, regional, diversity; providing an endless variety of traditional dishes across the whole of the Mediterranean basin.
Each dish possesses a unique charm that reflects ancient culture and family traditions; delicately revealing cultural identity, regional and geographic overtones as well as fundamental religious and social beliefs.
Mediterranean cookery is a delicate concoction of abundant fruits, sweet-scented nuts, sun-ripened vegetables, aromatic herbs, plump grains and colourful pulses. It is characterised by sparse red-meat but plenty of fish – produce of the Mediterranean Sea so central to the whole civilisation.
The highly abundant olive oil or other single-seed vegetable oil serve to enhance the sensual quality, colour, aroma and flavours that render Mediterranean cookery so appealing to those in search of healthy eating.
Over the last few years Mediterranean cookery in Malta has enjoyed a marked resurgence and there are a number of Maltese restaurants that serve a genuine blend of Maltese and Mediterranean cuisine. When you are visiting the Maltese Islands we truly invite not to miss the opportunity to savour and relish Mediterranean cuisine – you will not be disappointed.
Malta: Food and Drink
Maltese cuisine is the result of a long relationship between the Islanders and the many invaders who occupied the Maltese Islands over the centuries. This marriage of tastes has given Malta an eclectic mix of Mediterranean cooking. Although the restaurant scene is a mix of speciality restaurants, there are many eateries that offer or specialise in local fare, serving their own versions of specialities.
Traditional Maltese food is rustic and based on the seasons. Look out for Lampuki Pie (fish pie), Rabbit Stew, Bragioli (beef olives), Kapunata, (Maltese version of ratatouille), and widow’s soup, which includes a small round of Gbejniet (sheep or goat’s cheese). On most food shop counters, you’ll see Bigilla, a thick pate of broad beans with garlic.
The snacks that must be tried are ‘hobz biz-zejt’ (round of bread dipped in olive oil, rubbed with ripe tomatoes and filled with a mix of tuna, onion, garlic, tomatoes and capers) and pastizzi (flaky pastry parcel filled with ricotta or mushy peas).
A trip to the Marsaxlokk fish market on Sunday morning will show you just how varied the fish catch is in Maltese waters. When fish is in abundance, you’ll find Aljotta (fish soup). Depending on the season, you’ll see spnotta (bass), dott (stone fish), cerna (grouper), dentici (dentex), sargu (white bream) and trill (red mullet).
Swordfish and tuna follow later in the season, around early to late autumn, followed by the famed Lampuka, or dolphin fish. Octopus and squid are very often used to make some rich stews and pasta sauces.
Favourite dessert delicacies are Kannoli (tube of crispy, fried pastry filled with ricotta), Sicilian-style, semi-freddo desserts (mix of sponge, ice-cream, candied fruits and cream) and Helwa tat-Tork (sweet sugary mixture of crushed and whole almonds).
Malta may not be renowned like its larger Mediterranean neighbours for wine production, but Maltese vintages are more than holding their own at international competitions, winning several accolades in France, Italy and further afield.
International grape varieties grown on the Islands include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Carignan, Chenin Blanc and Moscato. The indigenous varieties are Gellewza and Ghirghentina, which are producing some excellent wines of distinct body and flavour.
The main wineries organise guided tours and tastings. Depending on the season, tours cover the entire production, from the initial fermentation through to the ageing process. They also include wine history museums and opportunities to taste and buy a variety of vintages.
Local Wines and Vineyards
No Mediterranean meal is complete without a robust red or chilled, crisp white wine as accompaniment. And there is nothing better to accompany local Maltese dishes than a wine produced on the Islands.
Malta may not be renowned like its larger Mediterranean neighbours for wine production, but Maltese vintages are more than holding their own at international competition, winning several accolades in France, Italy and further afield.
International grape varieties grown here include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Carignan, Chenin Blanc and Moscato. Then there are the indigenous varieties, Gellewza and Ghirghentina, which are producing some excellent wines of distinct body and flavour.
Grapes grown in Malta’s hot and humid climate ripen much quicker than their counterparts further north. Wineries are careful to grow varieties suited to the distinct limestone terroir. Soil samples are sent to leading European experts to assess which varieties will thrive here.
The efforts of the past couple of decades are reaping rewards for the local wine industry. Several local wines are found on UK supermarket shelves and deservedly so. Northern European markets are just beginning to discover the secret of Maltese wines.
If wine is your hobby, passion or favourite accompaniment to a sociable meal, the Maltese Islands have plenty to offer.
The main wineries organise guided tours and tastings.
Depending on the season, tours cover the entire production from the initial fermentation through to the ageing process. They also include wine history museums and opportunities to taste and buy a variety of vintages.
Now, you can start with the cooking!!!