What To Eat When You’re In…Valletta

25th January 2019

Food is often one of the best parts of any holiday, helping you to discover local flavours that tell you so much about the people who live there and the history of the destination. When you sail with Star Clippers, you are sure to taste some fantastic dishes from the region in which you are travelling, but that doesn’t mean you can’t step ashore to savour some more.

Here are a few tantalising things to try when you find yourself in Valletta, one of the ports visited on our Sicily and Greece itinerary. This is just one of the many Eastern Mediterranean cruises we have available.

On The Go

Pastizzi

Pastizzi

Say the word slowly and it almost reveals the name of its English counterpart. Pastizzi (pastizz if you’re talking about just one) resemble a typical Cornish pasty and are a great choice is you’re looking for a snack. Delicious fillings such as ricotta, peas and chicken are enveloped in crispy layers of pastry to create a parcel of joy that is sure to leave you finding flakes long after you’ve finished it.

Chefs in Valletta have been pushing the boundaries when it comes to pastizzi fillings, so you may come across some experimental options as you walk around the city. These include Nutella, rabbit (a Maltese staple), and lamb and mint.

Ftira

Ftira Malta

Ftira is the name of circular Maltese bread that is a bit like ciabatta in the way it looks and the way it tastes. In Valletta, you’re most likely to see ftira being used to make delicious sandwiches that offer a satisfying crunch which contrasts perfectly with the fresh, soft filling.

Meanwhile, in Gozo, ftira is used to make colourful pizzas that feature thin slices of potato amongst other toppings. Although a speciality of the neighbouring island, many bakeries and delis in Valletta will provide the chance to try Gozitan Ftira.

Honey Rings

Honey ring

If you’re in need of a sweet treat to fuel your explorations of Valletta, you can’t go wrong with a honey ring or two. Qaghaq tal-ghasel, as they are called in Maltese, get their flavour from a treacle mixture that also includes spices, semolina and citrus peel. This is then stuffed inside a ring of pastry that has small slits in the top so that the treacle can ooze out. Honey rings were once reserved for Christmas but can now be found all year round.

Light Lunch

Bigilla

Bigilla Malta

Highlighting the influence of Middle Eastern cooking in Maltese cuisine, bigilla is the perfect option for a slow lunch in the sun when you have some time to kill. Predominantly made from broad beans that are soaked in boiling water, the flavour is enhanced with dashes of garlic, chilli, herbs, capers and olive oil. Grab some of the aforementioned ftira or some traditional Maltese crackers (called galletti) and start dipping.

Incidentally, the olive oil in Malta is of a very high quality. A small bottle makes an ideal souvenir from your time in Valletta.

Lampuki

Lampuki Malta

This fish is known as Mahi-Mahi in America and often called dorado in other parts of the world. The flavour is light but robust, meaning it is easily paired with a variety of sauces and won’t be too heavy to eat on a hot day. Lampuki season is between August and December, resulting in it being a staple Maltese dish during the autumn months.

As well as simply oven baking the fish, a popular way to prepare it is in a pie. Lampuki pie takes inspiration from Britain (a golden pastry lid), Italy (tomatoes and olives), and the Middle East (lemon peel and raisins) to create a modern dish that celebrates the country’s varied history.

Dinners To Die For

Widow’s Soup

Goats Cheese

When it comes to hearty dishes, Maltese menus feature plenty of soups and stews that are great when the weather isn’t too great or if you’re feeling extra hungry. Widow’s Soup is a true Maltese speciality and gets its name from the fact that the ingredients are cheap and therefore affordable for widows.

The best part of this soup is that everyone gets their own wheel of ġbejna, a Maltese goat’s cheese that goes into the pan just before the end and then explodes with flavour when you cut into it. As for the other ingredients, they can vary from restaurant to restaurant. However, cauliflower, onions and potatoes are nearly always used.

Stuffat Tal-Fenek

Malta Rabbit Stew

Rabbit stew to me and you, stuffat tal-fenek is the closest thing Malta has to a national dish and something of which every family will have its own version. The rabbit is marinated and then slow-cooked in a mixture of red wine, garlic and bay and then potatoes, onions and tomato puree are added later. This rustic meal will be served everywhere in Valletta, from side street bistros to fine-dining restaurants – so go on, give it a try.


If you would like to know more about our Sicily and Greece itineraries that can take you to Valletta, call the Star Clippers team on 0845 200 6145. Alternatively, you can talk to an advisor using our online chat facility.

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