I first heard about the tiny Island of Malta when I was 16. I met Maltese flamenco dancers in Mumbai, and took lessons from them. We stayed in touch over the last 10 years and today I’m finally in Malta – a beautiful little rock in the Mediterranean, full of smiley jolly people.
Of course, my exploration had to begin belly first. I just spent my morning in a city called Mosta. I did a little shopping; raw materials for lunch. Found it impossible to resist the farm fresh vegetables, typically sold out of the back of mini-trucks. Little fact; Malta, though extremely tiny, grows it’s own vegetables and fruits, and makes it’s own olive oil. So I bought carrots, chubby tomatoes, bell peppers as big as my face and some round zucchini-like gourd, which I am yet to find an English name for. (Locals call them marro)
Then I followed an old toothless granny into a meat shop, (these old wise ones always lead you to the trustiest local shops). There I bought some Maltese sausages; ground pork, heavily seasoned with garlic, pepper, coriander seeds and other spices. The friendly shop keeper told me that the locals eat these sausages raw, but she recommended I pan fry them. Adventurous as I am, raw pork may not be the best idea. Besides, it’s quite cold and I want steaming hot food!
For the carb element of my meal I chose quassatat, a local favourite sold at almost every street corner. Thick pastry wrapped around soft, pillowy ricotta cheese. These things are super heavy! Locals eat them at a single go, but about a fourth is all I can manage for lunch today.
That’s meal no.1 in Malta. Bon appétit to me!