Food & Drink Malta - Traditional Maltese Dishes

The dinner tables in Malta are a true blend of Mediterranean cuisine with a splash of Sicilian and North African influences. Like their Mediterranean neighbours, the Maltese subscribe to the philosophy that fresh, seasonal produce is best and make the most of their abundant natural resources.

The country's fertile soil ensures that plenty of fruit and vegetables are grown - among them zucchini, artichokes, tomatoes, potatoes, figs, peaches, apricots and citrus. Fresh produce forms the basis of many Maltese dishes.

Although Maltese food is influenced by the country's Mediterranean neighbours Malta also boasts its own unique dishes. Patizzi, flaky pastry filled with cheese or vegetables, is famous in Malta. Lampuki, a pie made with the local dorado fish and vegetables, is one of the country's best loved dishes. Aljotta is a famous fish soup with marjoram, tomatoes, garlic and rice.

Maltese bread is known as something of an institution in itself. Traditionally the bread is made from sour dough, left over from the previous day, and is renowned for being crisp and crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. Pastry is also used a lot in both savoury and sweet forms, and tarts, pies and sweet pastries are all eaten on a regular basis. Sweets are an integral part of Maltese eating. Nougat is popular, as are macaroons and the Italian influenced dessert cannoli - fried pastry rolled up and filled with ricotta and either chocolate chips or fruit.

The waters around Malta teem with fish and you'll find sea bass, stonefish, bream, red mullet, swordfish and tuna on menus around the islands. Lobsters and octopus are also extremely popular, and seafood forms an integral part of the Maltese diet. Soup and stews are eaten a lot on Malta, and rabbit stew (in either tomato or garlic sauce) is a much-loved dish.

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