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ood tastes di erent in Malta. It tastes more real. Almost
every bite of every dish - from sea-caught sh and squid
to farm-reared rabbit and handmade cheese - explodes
with Mediterranean zing. We're here to explore everything
that makes up Malta's gastronomic reputation.
'My brother lives in Newmarket,' says our guide, Clive
Cortis, at one point. 'When he comes home, the rst thing he
does is eat a tomato. You don't get them like this in England.'
Malta may be one of the world's smallest countries - just
400,000 people live on its three islands of 122 sq miles - but
when it comes to food, it's a big hitter. This little archipelago
some 90 miles south of Italy is already popular with holidaymakers
from northern Europe because of its warm climate, stunning
scenery, buzzy nightlife and 7,000-year heritage. But in an age
when holidaymakers increasingly want to eat fresh and eat local,
the place is earning a reputation as a cuisine paradise too.
And it's easy to see why. From our rst lunch - at Gululu, an amazing
waterfront diner overlooking touristy St Julian's bay and specialising in
Maltese food - to our last lunch at Rogantino's, a restaurant housed in
a 16th-century hunting lodge near the ancient city of Rabat, it's one
taste sensation after another.
We take in tiny eateries in
medieval towns, cook Maltese
pizza, learn how to make
goats' cheese and sample
more than our fair share of the
local vineyard produce.
The latter is so good, we ask
our guide if it results in English
people getting more tipsy than
they should. 'It does,' he replies.
'But it's no problem - the Maltese get tipsy too.'
The foodie highlights are plentiful but a visit to the Ta' Mena Estate, a
lush agro-visitor holding on Malta's second island, Gozo, is a must.
There, in an open-air kitchen and dining area looking across a
working farm, chef George Borg serves up everything from fresh fruit
and vegetables to pork, squid and octopus while we relax, taking in
the hustle and bustle of this sun-kissed plot of green.
Earlier that same day we'd been to Ta' Rikardu, a rustic little
restaurant in Victoria, to see cheese being made. The owner - who has
Opposite: The Three Cities and the Grand Harbour. Clockwise from
top left: seasonal delights at Ta'Mena Estate; exclusive addresses at
Portomaso marina; St Julian's Bay; indigenous cuisine at Rogantino's
MALTA MAY BE ONE
OF THE WORLD'S
BUT WHEN IT COMES TO
FOOD, IT'S A BIG HITTER