The Mediterranean archipelago of Malta has long been a holiday hotspot for travelers from all over the world. Its intricate culture, stunning architecture, and picturesque coastline provide all the ingredients you need to enjoy an unforgettable week in the sun. And when it comes to food, you’ll never be short of mouthwatering Maltese dishes to stave off the holiday hungries. Due to historical influences and its location, Malta’s culinary landscape has drawn strong influences primarily from Italian cuisine, but flavors from Spain, France, and more recently Britain can also be identified in some of the most popular dishes. If it’s not the 3,000 hours of sunshine per year that attracts you to the archipelago, then maybe this selection of enticing Maltese dishes will inspire your next European adventure.
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Stuffat tal-Fenek, the most beloved of Maltese dishes
What better place to start than with the island’s much-loved national dish? Stuffat tal-Fenek is essentially a hearty stew, with rabbit taking a starring role, whilst red wine, herbs, and a range of vegetables complete this flavorsome dish. Traditionally, the rabbit is slow-cooked to create delicate pieces of meat, which more than hold their own in and around the bold flavors of the accompanying vegetables. As you may expect with such a popular meal, there are many different variations, and chefs will devise their own unique recipes that they treat with as much reverence as they do the rabbit that features in the stew. If you’re visiting the island, be sure to spend some time doing some important research, and find your favorite version of Stuffat tal-Fenek across the many restaurants and cafes that stock it.
Qagħaq tal-Għasel, the most enjoyed of Maltese dishes
Christmas traditions are taken very seriously in Malta. Not only is it important to honor the religious significance of this time of year, but it also brings a chance for socializing that very few locals turn down. The sharing of food is an important part of the festivities, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more crowd-pleasing offering than Qagħaq tal-Għasel. This sweet pastry treat comes in a circular shape and is filled with treacle, semolina, orange, and lemon beef, along with plenty of other festive flavors. Though traditionally they’re most commonly enjoyed at Christmas time, the locals have started snacking on these sumptuous snacks all year round – and who can blame them?
You’ll excuse us for including a second pastry-based item in this list since pastizzi is one of the most popular street food snacks in Malta. These savory cakes are shaped like a diamond and are traditionally filled with mushy peas or ricotta. If you can’t immediately spot them when walking around the streets of Malta, you’ll certainly be able to smell them – their distinctive aroma, emanating from the countless bakeries and street stalls that stock them, fills the air. They’re an affordable option if you’re looking for a quick bite on the go. So don’t pass up the opportunity to indulge in a pastizzi on your Maltese culinary adventure.
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