Maltese cuisine is the of-spring of a long relationship between the indigenous people of the islands and the many foreign dominations over the centuries. Ironically, though mostly unwelcome and finally banished, the foreigners’ predilection for their own native food greatly influenced local tastes and many of the most popular Maltese specialities are Moorish or Sicilian.
Nowadays, since tourists are getting more interested in the Maltese culture itself, more restaurants are including a lot of the Maltese specialities. There are quite a few places to be sought out by the inquisite tourist, ranging from unpretentious family-run village bars.
They do specialise in the national dish “Fenek” (rabbit), “Bragioli” (Beef Olives) or “Lampuki Pie” (Fish), to beautiful old courtyard restaurants where the menu is more extensive, in an ambience of trailing bougainvilla and jasmin, in houses that once belonged to the Maltese nobility.
Armed with this redimentary knowledge of Maltese cuisine you can now look for the right variety of settings to try out the food. There are some very attractive restaurants nestling in the small bays where you can dine to the water’s edge with a view of the fishing boats. Other restaurants are perched high up within the ancient bastions of the capital city Valletta or Victoria in Gozo, with spectacular harbour views or Gozo’s terraced countryside.
A favourite delicacy with coffee or tea is “kannoli”, believed to have originated from Sicily. This the is “mouth-watering”, tube shaped confection of deep-fried crisp pastry stuffed with fresh ricotta cheese and sweetened with pieces of chocolate and candied fruit. After dinner you may also be offered “helwa tat-Tork”, a very sweet sugary mixture of crushed and whole almonds.