Travelling to any country means trying out and hopefully appreciating their cuisine, their traditional dishes and their best restaurants; but something we all do when we’re on holiday is savour the food products that locals use and enjoy on a daily basis! Malta’s Food Products might soon become some of your favourite treats, staples and cravings.
While the Fenkata (rabbit feast), Bragoli (beef olives) and Timpana (pasta pie) will always be the nation’s favourites, these 10 food products are undoubtedly a household name in Malta.
The water biscuits that find their way onto every cheese board, served with every dip you can think of and perfect as an on-the-go snack! Galletti are your typical water biscuits but the Maltese brands are something else! The ultimate supreme galletti are the bigger-than-usual ones you can get from the village baker – served with thick-cut salted butter, of course!
One of the favourites in Malta has to be the Tal-Furnar brand that offers different flavour variations for every palette and occasion. From the classic Original, the salty Maltese Sausage and the herby Rosemary to the cheesy Gbejna ones and the puckery Sundried Tomato varieties, any of these addictive crackers are perfect with a quality bigilla (bean dip) by your side.
If you want something extra special for the flight home, pack some Mini Galletti to keep you occupied and 100% in holiday mode!
Nothing in the cheesy world of snack food can compete with Twistees – Maltese or not, once you dive into a packet of these yellow rice puffs you’ll never go back. Twistees come in a few flavours, including Chicken, Smokey Barbeque and Reduced Fat Cheese for all those counting calories but hungry to get in on the Twistee action!
The signs of fully enjoying a pack of Twistees – regular size or sharing size, we don’t judge – are some cheese covered thumb, index and middle fingers; aka the best crisp utensils about!
A close call in the ‘Malta’s Favourite Crisp Race’ would point you in the direction of Krips – not Krisps… Krips. Back in the day (and very often to this day) a number of locals would ask for a packet of potato crisps using the word “krips” so the genius crew over at the Krips factory decided this was the best name for their iconic yellow packet of crisps.
If you dare to give your tastebuds a wild adventure, add these Salt and Vinegar lovelies to a buttered roll – it’s the crisp sandwich but Maltese style. Who knows, you might be grabbing a multi-pack to take home with you after this Mediterranean escape.
Chocstick & Wiggle
Chocstick is just a personal favourite that makes my list from the Smiles ice-cream range. The Raspberry flavour, not the Chocolate one for me. It’s just perfect! The creamy raspberry filling is dipped in dark chocolate leaving the bright pink interior to poke out from the bottom and covered in nuts for that added crunch. It’s the pinnacle of summer – this is what makes your day at the beach a homerun!
The Strawberry Wiggle is also a big contender in the beach-snack category – or any snack category for that matter – it’s a ice-cream-come-ice-lolly combo that hits the spot just right when the heat’s doing a number on you.
The milk gods of the Maltese Islands, Benna always know what’s up when it comes to quality, flavours and creativity. They’ve got a full range of milk products for your everyday needs like fresh milk, yoghurt, butter, Gbejniet (local cheeselets), Irkotta (local ricotta) and mozzarella.
But their milkshakes are pure candy! With crazy flavours like Bubblegum, Maple Syrup Waffle and White Chocolate to the uncontrollably delicious Vanilla Biscuit, Caramel Toffee and Coconut that sell out in minutes whenever they’re re-released. Seriously, try one, any one will do.
A lesser favourite, but far superior to most teas out there, in my humble Maltese opinion, Lion Tea. It’s stronger, it’s deeper and it’s richer, and it’s served at Malta’s number one te u pastizz (tea and pea/cheese cake) spot; Is-Serkin.
You can get this double brew tea as loose tea leaves or even as your regular tea bags; the loose tea leaves are as authentic as you get when it comes to tea in Malta but the regular tea bags are the ones Nanna (granny) uses – so we can’t help but love them more.
Traditional Maltese Coffee is cooked coffee, heated in a stanjata (traditional coffee pot) for a long duration of time – thus creating the name Kafe Msajjar (cooked coffee). Now, you can get your hands on this lightly spiced coffee with hints of chicory, clove and aniseed to take you back through Malta’s history circa 1565 – that’s when the Great Siege of Malta hit the islands.
During the Knights of John’s rule, Turkish conquestors tried to take hold of Malta, but the Hospitallers quickly gathered some Turkish as slaves and tasked them with preparing Turkish coffee – giving Malta yet another cultural asset – abeit through some seriously dark times.
Cafe Jubilee make a great Maltese Coffee Arabica-Robusta blend that’s an ideal gift to take home with you. If you’re on the go and fancy a cup of Joe, Lot 61 and Coffee Circus both make a fine latte, cold brew or espresso tonic to keep your caffeine levels up.
Since we’re on the topic of local drinks, highlighting Malta’s finest soft drink is a must! You’ll either love it or hate it, but if aromatic citrus goodness is your kinda thing; it’s going to be a summer-long love affair.
Kinnie is a carbonated soft drink made with bitter oranges and aromatic herbs for a bittersweet zesty treat perfect on those sunny days. Luckily with 300+ days of sunshine on the Maltese islands, there’s always a great reason to pour yourself a Kinnie.
If you’re after more punch, try Kinnie Zest for an amped up flavour profile and if you still want even more punch, the Kinnie Spritz will do the trick for a smooth and totally Mediterranean alcopop.
Kinnie Spritz might be your aperitivo of choice, but when it comes to the real good stuff that (literally) ever local tasted as their first beer and never looked back, there’s got to be one definite winner: Cisk!
Cracking open a Cisk is a ritual to Maltese folk. We open a cold one when we’re setting up a BBQ on the beach, when we’ve dropped anchor in Comino, after a long day at the office, even as a Sunday lunch tipple. Cisk is Cisk and there’s no straying… unless a Blue Label or Hopleaf need to take their turn as your bevvy of choice.
New kids on the block and killing the cider game are Tuff, a local company that strut their stuff with an awesome cider range that is seriously too good to miss. The word ‘“tuff” is the shortened version of the Maltese word “tuffieha” which means “apple”.
They’ve got an Apple Cider, Pear Cider and a Cherry Cider for all those looking for some alcohol percentage in their drink! Plus they’ve also got a range of soft drinks that are great mixers or stand alone drinks.
Their Mandolina (mandarine) soda is sweet and delicate, the Rummien (pomegranate) is highly refreshing and the Orzata (almond cordial) is so nostalgic and so delicious.
So when you’re voyaging around Malta and getting a bit hangry, you know what you need to do. It’s either a quick pastizzi call or a handy packet of Twistees followed by a glug of Kinnie or any other combo that floats your boat!
Dive into flavour town the Malta way to get a true feeling of what Maltese folk munch on when those cravings kick in. Locals would even say, “Ahh, gandhi aptit xi haga tajba!” – translated as “Hmm, I really want to eat something tasty!” – and you’ll be hearing a lot of that!