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MALTESE CUISINE: "THE KITCHEN OF THE POOR"
The basics of Maltese cooking are the so-called "cucina povera" which translates to "poorman's cuisine." It refers to the use of very simple ingredients such as bread, oil, garlic, tomatoes and eggs.
Maltese cuisine is the fruit of the encounter between Italian and Arabic cuisine...so, needless to say, it is rich and full of flavors! Let's discover together 10 unmissable Maltese dishes.
1. THE PASTIZZI
Pastizzi are the most popular appetizers of Maltese cuisine. These are puff pastries stuffed with ricotta or peas, similar to empanadas. To eat, just make a stop in a pastizzeria that can be found easily on every corner.
2. THE HOBZ BIZ-ZEJT
The hobz biz-zejt is the Maltese "bread with tomato". This is a bread sprinkled with olive oil topped with a mixture of crushed tomatoes, onions and herbs. The most greedy add even a little fish on it. It makes an ideal appetizer!
3. THE SOPPA TA'L-ARMLA
Maltese soup, nicknamed "soup of the widow", is a complete meal all by itself. Composed of vegetables, cheese and egg, it is topped off with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and would fill the stomach of any famished person. Not satisfied yet? Add pasta and you will be full until dinner.
4. THE TAL-FENEK STUFFAT
Stuffat tal-fenek is the biggest specialty of Maltese cuisine. Behind this obscure name hides a rabbit stew cooked over low heat for hours. As a result, the meat is extremely tender, to the point of detaching itself from the bone before being dipped in a delicious sauce made from tomatoes, red wine and garlic.
Like any island, Malta is surrounded by the sea. It is therefore logical that Maltese cuisine is full of good seafood and fish. If you are going on holiday there, try aljotta, a fish soup with garlic and tomatoes.
6. THE FTIRA
The ftira is a pierced flatbread whose appearance is reminiscent of bagels. It is coated with oil, tomatoes, garlic and onion, to be enjoyed with a dish, a soup or simply alone.
7. THE FTIRA GARNI D'OMELETTE
Just as Spaniards prepare huge tortilla sandwiches, Maltese are very fond of an omelette-filled ftira, usually served for breakfast. Start the day with that and say goodbye to that 11 am craving.
8. GOZO CHEESE
Gozo is a rural area of Malta where many shepherds raise goats to make fresh cheese. A delight!
9. THE QAGNAQ TAL-GHASEL (MAIN PHOTO)
If you are taking a holiday in Malta around Christmas, you will probably have the chance to discover this crown-shaped cake topped with citrus fruit, vanilla and spices.
10. The IMQARET
The imqaret is a dessert of Arabic influence in the shape of a diamond, fried and stuffed with dates. Not the lightest but certainly one of the sweetest pleasures on the island.