The food delights of Malta

I always had a love affair with food. In a sentence, I would refer to food as ‘one of the three pleasures of life’ (will leave it up to you to guess the other two), and my favourite cuisine was always from the Southern Italian regions especially that of Puglia; simple, fresh, wholesome and oozing flavour!

The way they cook fish, their cheeses and pasta are simply to die for!

But I also am a great fan of certain dishes which are synonymous with Malta, such as Timpana which being a lover of pasta and pastry comes as no surprise to love this dish having them both as the core ingredients. Basically a Timpana is a pasta casserole with a juicy succulent Bolognese sauce with a pastry covering on top and baked in the oven. A variation of this dish is Imqarrun which is basically the same dish without the pastry topping.

Now the list of Maltese dishes is very vast and some are even a variation or at times, an exact copy with a Maltese tint from other countries, particularly Italy and the UK.  Think Roast Pork on Sundays with some Maltese people even taking their joint to the baker for it to be cooked in his oven. It is a fact that the baker’s oven gives off a better flavour to the meat dish.  So seeing that this blog cannot mention all the typical Maltese dishes, I shall only mention the ones which I am very fond of.

So; another dish which I love to indulge in, is Bragioli. This is basically minced beef, bacon garlic and breadcrumbs wrapped with thin slices of beef. Some even put hard boiled eggs in the stuffing but i prefer to eat them without since the eggs would otherwise have been cooked twice. In English they are called Beef Olives and whilst there are no olives in them, the word ‘olive’ comes from the old English verb, ‘to olive’ meaning ‘to roll it up’. Bragioli are best served with a mouth-watering tomato and carrot sauce and accompanied with roasted potatoes. Have plenty of scrumptious Maltese bread at the ready to dip into the sauce.

As mentioned, I simply adore a pie; meat pies in particular! Pity that such awesome fare is fattening. I would be eating them every day instead of twice or thrice a year if they were not. But I do have to mention one particular pie which is perhaps typically Maltese from time immemorial – Spinach and Tuna Pie!

Both spinach and tuna are very popular in Malta and therefore it is only naturally that the industrious Maltese housewife concocted ages ago a wholesome and very comforting dish using both of these ingredients.  The flavour of this pie is further enhanced with anchovies, olives and of course garlic. When the Lampuki fish is in season, it replaces tuna. Most Maltese simply cannot eat enough of the popular and tasty Lampuki Pie.

At be.Hotel, our hotel restaurant Fornelli, organises a Maltese Cuisine Buffet evening every Wed and one can enjoy the many delights of typical Maltese dishes which, some are traditional and others given a more modern twist, by our Head Chef and his brigade.

Come and enjoy!

James Davis is the COO of Bay Street Group that operates be.HOTEL

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