The Maltese cuisine has a rich menu of traditional local dishes. The variety in Maltese cuisine is due to the influence of the cultures that have called Malta their home over the centuries, from the Arabs, Italians, French, Spanish, to the British.
The real local dishes, however, have the unmistakable stamp of the Mediterranean. There are several basic components of Maltese cuisine. Many dishes use a lot of vegetables and greens, such as artichokes, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, and potatoes.
Traditional Maltese Cuisine: Starters
Maltese Bread: It's traditionally made from sourdough with a crisp and crunchy crust. A favorite snack known as ftira consists of a thick piece of bread dipped in olive oil and ripe tomatoes and filled with tuna, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and capers.
Bigilla is a traditional Maltese snack made out of beans (usually fava beans) that used to be sold from carts on the streets around the villages. It is served with galletti, traditional water biscuits. It is a favourite with the Maltese people.
Gbejniet: is a round cheese which is made from either sheep or goat's milk. It can be fresh, sun dried, salt cured or peppered, particularly associated with the island of Gozo. Virtually all sheep milk and most goat milk produced in Malta is used for production of these cheese.
Pastizzi is probably the most popular among Maltese people. It is a savoury, flaky pastry and it's traditionally filled with ricotta cheese or peas.
Traditional Maltese Cuisine: Mains
Ravjul is similar to the Italian ravioli but the pasta pillow is larger. Ravjul is usually made with ricotta cheese and parsley or with minced meat. The dish is covered with a rich tomato-based sauce that is made with celery and basil leaves and then topped with parmigiano or romano cheese
Rabbit (fenek) is an extremely popular dish with the Maltese people and is cooked in a variety of different ways. It may be simmered slowly in a tomato based sauce which is then served with spaghetti. It can also be fried in garlic and wine. Rabbit is one of the staples of Maltese food.
Bragoli also called beef olives is a thinly sliced piece of beef filled with bacon, hardboiled egg and parsley. It is then rolled and secured with a toothpick or string and slowly simmered in a tomato based sauce.
Traditional Maltese Cuisine: Sweets
Puddina: This delicious bread pudding is made from day old bread, cocoa, sultanas, coconut, eggs, sometimes nuts and other ingredients, but the recipe varies from village to village.
Imqaret is a sweet treat that consists of a date filled pastry that is deep fried.
Kannoli is a deep fried crispy tubular pastry casing that is filled with sweet ricotta cheese and sprinkled with chopped chocolate and nuts.