Malta, Malta, oh where oh where is Malta? Somewhere in the Mediterranean; actually 50km south of Sicily. My interest piked. My grandparents were from Italy, and one grandfather from Sicily. To find another island in close proximity! How exciting! Because Italians live for their food, I was interested in what types of food you’d find in Malta. Sure enough, there were some familiar sounding words: fish in pasta sauces, sponge like desserts, kinnoli stuffed with ricotta, and a sugary paste of crushed and whole almonds.
In Malta, the fish in the pasta sauces are squid and octopus. Not that I am familiar with such dishes. But interestingly, my other half just made a pasta dish topped with “sawdust”, which is breadcrumbs mixed with sardines, anchovies, and sauce. My Aunt Anne passed the recipe onto her 4 boys, and yes, her father (my grandfather), Nunzio, was from Sicily.
Kinnoli, richly stuffed with ricotta, can be found around the US if you look for it. And the sugary sweet almond candy is one I so remember from my childhood. I recently tasted this sweet dessert again when I found it in a restaurant called Eataly, in New York City. It is called Torrone, but in Malta it is known as Helwa-tat-Tork.I do imagine they are very similar in taste and texture.
There is another very appealing reason why I’d seriously consider traveling to Malta: the language. They have 2 official languages: Maltese, and English! Yes, English, I know how to speak the language. And that makes for an easier and more enjoyable time.