We started discovering the breads at a morning market in Birkirkara, the little baker stand had so many varieties. I fell for the little sesame rings called Qagħaq tal-Ħmira.
While they look like a bagel they are so much more delicious!!! Slighly flavored with anis, cloves, and lemon, they are a little soft and slightly sweet, sonething closer to a very light brioche. I’ve already found the recipe and will try very soon making some. The other bread that was really nice was the ftira, a kind of flat bread, used often for sandwiches. It’s a bit like focaccia but much less oily. It can be served with all kind of things inside. I opted for an English contemporary version at Emma’s kitchen, a cafe recommended by my IG friend @junkikat who lived in Malta last year.
The other savory discovery was the pastizzi. A Maltese pastry filled with ricotta, or green bean puree, or sometimes chicken or meat. While the one with ricotta were super delicious, the one with green beans purée slightly spicy were just over the top! The mix of the buttery pastry dough, crunchy and light and the thick purée slightly flavored with clove and other spices… damned that was sooo…. delicious!!! Pastizzi are a big tourist thing so you can find some everywhere. Sphynx is a chain store making some, but not necessarily my favorite. The Crystal Palace in Mdina had a good selection and they were quite good. In Birkikara we had some from a small cafe that were really good. Each are different so you can try them all and find the one one you like best!!
Finally, let’s talk sweets! Maltese traditional sweets are made with honey, almonds, figs and are super delicious too. The most famous is probably Qagħaq tal-għasel. A ring with fig and honey in a little dough.
While they look rather dry and stuffy, the fig and honey filling is actually all creamy and soft. My favorite ones were from Parruċċan in Mdina. There are also sweets with almond base paste such as what they called macaroons and that can be found in any confectionary, and also the delicious Kwarezimal, normally for Lenten, but available all year round at cafe Cordina in Valetta.
Well of course we just didn’t spend all our time in Malta eating. We also visited many places, went horse riding and enjoyed the nice weather. I really loved Mdina for walking around the nicely renovated and clean city, all the places to visit, the vista of the island from up there, and the lack of touristic shops (may be because it’s winter…). There were also much fewer people than in Valetta hence it was very quiet.