For many holidaymakers, the real fun of traveling to new destinations around the globe is when they begin sampling local cuisine. Even within countries, culinary styles will vary between regions, perhaps best exemplified by foods prepared throughout regions of Italy. There will be slight differences in ingredients used in the north and south, and then when you add Sicily into the mix, you get a totally different style altogether.

Mediterranean Cuisine with a Maltese Twist

That’s one of the amazing things you’ll find when sampling local cuisine in Malta and Gozo. Because of the various cultures which influenced our cuisine, you will get a hint here and there of favorite dishes from other ethnic groups that at one time or another ruled the Maltese archipelago. Even so, all traditional Maltese and Gozitan dishes are unique and a delight to anyone who has the pleasure of tasting some of the Mediterranean’s most delightful cuisine.

Locally Sourced Foods in Malta & Gozo Give New Meaning to the Term

When the Maltese say, “locally sourced foods,” they mean locally sourced foods. Unlike the foods sold throughout most of Europe and the United States, locally sourced foods are from producers probably just a mile or two away. The ingredients are fresh and brought in daily, especially fish, which are caught by local fishermen. Anyone who has ever sampled Maltese cuisine admits that it is highly influenced by Mediterranean flavors, but with a unique blend of ingredients that make it their own. However, there is nothing which can equal fresh produce, fresh seafood, and herbs are often grown right on the premises!  To this one has to add a delightful array of sweet treats that are often tied with special holidays or seasons.

Finding a Restaurant in Malta or Gozo

When it comes to restaurants, there really isn’t much difference between Malta and Gozo, other than the fact that Gozo is a smaller island and the locals cater to locals as well as to tourists. While many holidaymakers have found this beautiful sister to Malta in recent years, the typical traveler is looking for an authentic experience with a personal touch. When looking for a restaurant in Gozo, you only need ask the locals where they eat! There are a number of restaurants serving traditional Gozitan food in Victoria, the island’s capital, and these are frequented by visitors and locals alike.

Unlike some of the trendier restaurants in Malta, most restaurants in Gozo remain true to their cultural heritage. Not to say that Malta doesn’t serve authentic Maltese cuisine, but understandably, they would often modify recipes to appeal more to European tastes. If you are going to visit restaurants in Gozo, you will get a better price and authentically traditional foods, and even the 5-star hotels and restaurants strive to bring a menu that mirrors the culinary spirit of the island!

Traditional Maltese Foods You Must Try

It has been said that pastizzi is the one Maltese staple you can’t refuse. This crusty pastry is filled with ricotta and peas, or your choice of one or the other. As a luncheon, there is nothing better, unless you sample a plate of Gozitan cheeselets with a loaf of fresh Maltese bread to be dipped in kunserva, a rich tomato paste, unlike what you would expect. Not fond of tomatoes? Try dipping it in olive oil instead. There’s nothing to fear here because olive oil is actually heart-healthy!

While you can always do a quick Google search for the best restaurants in Malta and Gozo, it is far better to take a local aside and ask them where they like to eat. If it’s traditional Maltese cuisine you are after, dine with the locals. By all means, enjoy the fabulous 5-star service you’ll be pampered with at the resorts and popular restaurants, but you’ll probably enjoy the local haunts better.