Due to Malta’s tiny size and lack of resources, one might assume that foods and even beverages are mainly imported. This assumption would prove correct. Nevertheless, our locally produced specialties, though relatively few, have long enticed Maltese and foreigners alike.
Here, we list four staples of Maltese refreshments – food and drink – that one must try when visiting the country, since they’re found only in this little gem of the Mediterranean Sea!
There’s nothing more refreshing than a zesty, ice-cold glass of Kinnie! You could say that it’s Malta’s national soda or soft drink. No tourist escapes the exhortation, seemingly on every Maltese’s lips, to sample this drink, which is orange-based, bittersweet, and mixed with aromatic herbs. We have to admit, though, that due to its strong and rather uncommon taste, Kinnie is a decidedly hit-or-miss affair!
This addictive savory snack occupies a corner of the kitchen cupboard in the house of virtually every local grandmother, who traditionally will give it to her grandchildren as a treat when they come over for that weekly “nanna” visit!
The iconic Twistees brand also includes Twistees Lite and Tastees as healthier options. And just last year, new Twistees with new flavors hit the market following Valletta’s designation as European Capital of Culture for 2018.
Pastries & Desserts
Maltese people tend to have a sweet tooth, so we’re almost constantly preparing a variety of scrumptious pastries and desserts! Consider, for example, Qaghaq tal-Ghasel (with its treacle), and Mqarret (with dates).
And how about this? When the clock strikes four p.m., make yourself a cup of tea and pull up a chair on your balcony. Then, dunk a Biskuttina tal-Lewz (almond biscuit) in the tea, sit back, and munch and sip while enjoying the view.
Also, don’t forget our seasonal treats. There’s the classic Prinjolata, a pine nut cake that’s been around since the era of the Knights, and the Figolla, an almond cake. Both are popular during the Easter season – and worth the yearlong wait!
Galletti & Bigilla
You walk into a restaurant or bar and are puzzled when given a complimentary plate of round crackers accompanied by a dark dip.
At first, you equivocate as to whether you should try the unusual-looking snack. Presently, however, you pluck up the courage to grab the rounded cracker and dip it into the thick paste, after which you gobble it up in one go. As soon as the taste hits you, your eyes widen in absolute delight, and you promptly reach out for another and then another.
That, ladies and gents, is the power of the delectable duo called Galletti and Bigilla!
Galletti comes with a variety of herbs, and, as it happens, goes well with a multitude of toppings – but we just had to pair it with Bigilla, a brown bean paste. After all, there is no more fitting combination, and no better way to whet your appetite as you await a meal!
Have you ever looked at a bare loaf of bread and asked yourself, “What delicious concoction could I fashion out of this blank canvas?” Well, we have a simple yet mouth-watering answer for you!
Hop down to the nearest grocery store and ask for a can of Kunserva. Pop it open and generously apply this rich and distinctive tomato spread to your loaf of bread. Pour some olive oil, and add capers, onion, garlic, olives, and parsley. (If you like seafood, throw in some tuna and or/anchovies.) Finally, sprinkle some salt and black pepper over it. Then take a bite and savor the moment.
Make sure to add all of the above to your checklist of what to eat and drink when visiting Malta. Who knows? Maybe for your return flight you’ll want to fill up an extra suitcase with these goodies!