Fact: Tap water is very safe to drink but may taste unpleasant due to the high mineral content
Malta is a foodie's paradise. Its character is rustic and Mediterranean but it has influences from many different cultures, notably Sicily, North Africa and Britain.
Being an island nation, it is therefore perhaps unsurprising that seafood and fish in particular play a large role in the cuisine of Malta. The colourful Maltese fishing boats that throng the harbours bring in fresh catches daily and one of the must-try dishes is the delicious Aljotta which is a garlicky fish soup.
Basked as Malta is in Mediterranean sunshine for much of the year, local grown produce such as olives, coriander, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, figs, peaches and fresh crusty bread form a significant part of many a meal. Add to that locally made cheeses such as gbejniet (sheep's cheese), and dishes such as minestra (chunky vegetable soup) and pastizzi (ricotta filled pasties) and you start to get a picture for the culinary delights that await. Of course there is also the obligatory rabbit dishes that your Maltese host will no doubt want you to try!
With such a climate you will also come across many very palatable local wines from the vineyards of Malta and Gozo. Many of these are gaining international recognition and are available even in UK supermarkets.
Our favourite restaurants / bars:
Gululu Spinola Bay, St Juliens Casual Maltese Cuisine www.gululu.com.mt
Tartarun Marsaxlokk Seafood tel 2165 8089
Ta' Rikardu Victoria, Gozo Traditional Maltese Platters Tel 2155 5953
The Stone Crab - Xlendi Bay, Gozo Seafood - www.thestonecrab.com
Patricks T'mun - Victoria, Gozo - www.patrickstmun.com
Dubliner Irish Pub St Juliens - www.dublinermalta.com/index.html
The Bar at Hilton - Portomaso, St Georges Bay