When our friends at Offbeat Malta Food Trails invited us on their Valletta Food Tour, we jumped at the opportunity. Jonathan and I love food tours; it’s such a great way to experience local food and also to learn a little about the history and culture of a region.
And even though we have lived in Malta for a few months now, we still enjoy playing tourists on our own doorstep. Malta has an incredible history, and although we visit Valletta regularly (well, it’s only a five-minute ferry ride away for us), we are still always amazed by how much there is still to discover about our new home.
Meet And Greet
The meeting point for the Valletta Food Tour is on the steps outside the front entrance to St. John’s Co-Cathedral in St. John’s Square. If you get the chance when you visit Malta, you really should visit the cathedral; the interior is gorgeous.
But I digress (as always!).
The Valletta food tour starts promptly at 10.00 am, and you are advised to arrive by 09:45 am. We took the ferry from our home in the Three Cities, but with it being carnival weekend and the ferries running a bit late, we arrived at the meeting point with only a few minutes to spare.
Our guide, Nick, along with six other tourists from all over Europe, all eager to experience typical Maltese food were already waiting for us!
Some Of The Delicious Traditional Maltese Food That You’ll Experience On The Food Tour
Pastizzi: Malta’s Favourite Street Food
A great start to the day – well, any time really, in Malta is a cup of tea, or rather a glass of tea and a pastizzi.
Tea was once a luxury drink in Malta, only available for the Grand Masters of Malta, that was until the Brits came along. Well, we Brits do enjoy our tea, and we introduced tea to the masses.
The pastizzi – ooh yum! The diamond-shaped delights are traditionally filled with mushy peas or ricotta. Served hot, one bite into the warm crunchy pastry, and there’s an explosion of flakes in your mouth, along with the delicious stuffing. There’s also a good chance if you’re like me that you’ll be finding flaky pastry on your face and clothes for the rest of the day, but oh, the taste is so good. Pastizzis are classic Maltese street food and a must-eat!
Timpana – (Macaroni Pie)
Now, this is a filling dish. I can’t believe this is usually served as a starter.
It’s basically the ultimate pasta pie. Macaroni in a bolognese sauce baked in pastry. Filling and very cheap!
Traditionally, timpana was prepared for the Sunday meal. In the past, the Maltese women would carry large trays of timpana to the communal ovens in the village bakeries.
Now Jonathan and I have this dish a lot, especially in the summer with friends and a glass or two of wine. It’s a dish made for sharing.
Everywhere has its own variation, but the Maltese platter typically comes with bread covered with a tomato paste, some stuffed olives, gbejniet – a local sheep’s cheese, Maltese crackers, sausage, and bigilla – a paste made with broad beans.
Fenek Moqli (Rabbit Served With Mashed Potatoes)
Fenek moqli is a fried rabbit that’s been marinated in wine with bay leaves and seasoning. It’s then fried in good quality olive oil, then simmered in a casserole until tender.
It looked and smelled delicious, and Jonathan said it was the best rabbit dish he’d ever eaten. Tempting as it seemed, I just couldn’t eat it because I used to have a pet rabbit named Gilbert, and it would feel so wrong.
When I explained to the waiter why I couldn’t eat the rabbit, he exclaimed, ‘You are justa like my wife!’ Was that good or bad? Anyway, he brought some stuffed olives and yummy nibbles over in case I was peckish.
After all this savoury food, now it was time for something sweet. Yay!
Carob Infused Drink
Now, you probably don’t think of chocolate when you think of Malta, but a quick visit to Chocolate District will change your mind. We have walked passed this shop a hundred times, how was I unaware of the yummy, chocolate delights that lay behind the door.
After nibbling a few chocolate samples, well, I hadn’t eaten the rabbit! We enjoyed a delicious carob infused drink with prickly pear. Other choices on offer included fig, fennel, or honey!
The chocolate is extremely rich, so you don’t need much to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Comfortably stuffed, it was time for a real dessert.
Date Fritter Served With Ice Cream
It’s amazing how full you can be, but there’s always room for dessert, isn’t there?
The end of the food tour was nigh, just as well, really, not sure I could squeeze much more food inside. Certainly, there would be no need to eat later.
We finished our tour with fabulous views overlooking Malta’s Grand Harbour and the Three Cities with a delicious date fritter with a side serving of ice cream. A perfect end to a great food tour.
Prickly Pear Liquor
But wait, it wasn’t quite over. It was time to toast our new friends and our guide, Nick. We had a shot of local Maltese Prickly Pear liquor. It was incredibly sweet, you could feel the sugar syrup coating your teeth, but oh, it was so good! But just a small shot was enough.
Our Guide Nick
Nick was an excellent guide!
He was friendly and knowledgeable. Born in Malta, he was clearly passionate about Valletta and his country and was very keen for us all to understand its history and culture and eat!
He totally exceeded our expectations in terms of what he showed us and what we learned. And he appeared more than happy to answer the tour group’s endless questions.
One couple on our food tour (no, it wasn’t Jonathan and me) got caught up in the carnival crowds and ended up getting separated from the group. But Nick was immediately on the case, he phoned them and guided them to where we were waiting. I’ve been on a few city tours in the past, where guides haven’t been quite so concerned when people have gone missing!
How To Get To Valletta And The Meeting Point For The Maltese Food Tour
The best way to get to Valletta is by bus unless you’re coming from the Three Cities or Sliema, then I’d recommend the ferry (it’s not normally running late), and it’s a much nicer way to travel.
From the bus terminus, it is a five-minute walk to St John’s Square. Walk down Republic Street and turn right into St John’s Square. The food tour guide will be waiting on the steps of St John’s Co-Cathedral.
From the Three Cities Ferry, take the lift up to Upper Barrakka Gardens. Don’t forget to stop to admire the view from the top! The price for the lift ticket is included in your ferry ticket, so don’t lose it. Although, worst case scenario it’s only a euro if you do. It’s also only a five-minute walk. Take the first right onto Triq Sant Orsla, then left into Melita Street, right into St Zachery Street, which leads into St John’s Square.
From the Sliema Ferry, it’s an eleven-minute walk. Walk up from the ferry until you reach Melita Street. Turn left onto Melita Street, then left onto St Zachery Street, which leads into St John’s Square.
If you’re planning to drive to Valletta, do allow time for finding a parking space – not an easy task in Valletta.
What Did We Think Of The Malta Food Tour?
We loved it! We would definitely recommend a Valletta Food Tour to everyone that visits Malta. It’s a great introduction to traditional Maltese food and a fantastic way to learn about the history of Malta and, in particular, Valletta. And you most definitely won’t be hungry at the end of the tour.
Want To Experience A Malta Food Tour For Yourself?
Here’s a summary of all the information you need!
- Name of Tour – Valletta Food Tour
- Company – https://offbeatmaltafoodtrails.com
- Number of People – Minimum 8 / Maximum 14 people
- Duration – 3 hours
- When- Departs every Saturday at 10 am.
- Cost – Adults and children 10 years+ : 65 EUROS (Includes tax)
- Price includes a licensed tour guide, all food tastings plus a copy of The Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants in Malta & Gozo
- Tours are conducted in English. However, it’s possible to request a private tour in another language if booked in advance.
- Wear comfy shoes.
- Most importantly, bring an empty stomach – there’s a lot of fabulous food to try on this tour!
The Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants in Malta & Gozo
The Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants in Malta & Gozo lists many of the best restaurants in Malta and food to suit your mood. Choose from romantic restaurants in Malta, seafood restaurants, and restaurants by the sea, to name but a few. It’s all in here. Never realised there were quite so many places to eat in Malta, Jonathan and I definitely need to get out more.
Ready To Book Your Valletta Food Tour?
If you fancy experiencing a Malta Food Tour tour for yourself, click on the link below. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Click here, https://offbeatmaltafoodtrails.com.
Disclaimer: We joined the Valletta Food Tour as guests of Off Beat Malta Food Trails. However, all opinions are entirely and genuinely our own. We would never recommend anything that we hadn’t enjoyed and experienced firsthand.