This site is about learing about the world so I thought I'd talk a little bit about the food of Malta today. This picture is taken at a very nice restaurant, owned by a slightly hyperactive but also very nice Frenchman, in the city Rabat
Malta has been ruled by just about every selfrespecting civilization around the Mediterranean sea (plus some others) during the last centuries. This has of course had an impact on the food culture of Malta and you are able to find lots of nationalities represented.
If I had to pick out one influence that is the main one then it would be the south European one such as Italian and French food. But you will also be able to find North African, Middle Eastern and English influences. Since Malta is an island nation you will find alot of very good fish and seafood here.
The one thing that is actually special to Malta, and that you will find in most restaurants, is Rabbit in many forms and shapes, you can even get rabbit pizza, or pasta with rabbit sauce. I am guessing that the reason for this is availability. Malta doesn't have a rich (if any) mammal life. They have tame goats and sheeps but the only wild mammal I ever heard of was rabbits. The dish on this picture is in fact Pasta with Rabbit liver, bacon and cream sauce.
Malta has at least one very good brewery called Farsons, the main beer that you will find everywhere on Malta is called Cisk, it is a lager with a very mild taste, reminding of American beers such as Budweiser (as Monty Pyhton put it "Like making love in a canoe, ..."). Personally I really like that kind of beer on a hot summers day, it is very refreshing, but most people want more taste. The Cisk on the picture is the export version and recognizing that fact, the export version is a great improvement over the local version when it comes to amount of taste.
The next beer in the picture is Lacto, a Stout with added milk sugar (Lactose, hence the name). This beer was a really pleasant suprise, it is a very good Stout on it's own but the Lactose gives it a very creamy smooth taste on top of that. Lovely! If you ever get the chance to try this one, don't miss out.
The third beer is the Farsons Summer Festival 2003, a nice Lager with more taste and definition than the Cisk, it is nice but doesn't really stick out on the international scene.
Lastly we have the Blue Label Ale, unfortunately this was a rather disappointing ale with a slightly fad taste, I'd avoid it.
In addition Malta has a national softdrink called Kinnie, also brewed by Farsons. It was introduced in 1952 as an alternative to Cola. It is made of bitter oranges and aromatic herbs and it has a refreshing bitter tang to it. A very nice alternative to all oversweetned softdrinks out there, it is good on it's own, with a slice of orange or as an ingredient in drinks.
Malta also has it's own Liqueur called Bajtra, it is made from prickly pears which is a fruit that grows on a certain kind of cactuses. You can see these cactus bushes growing all over Malta. Bajtra is pink to the color and has a very pleasing sweet perfumy taste, it works well served cold on it's own or it is a great addition to wine coolers, drinks or poured in champagne.
The picture could have been sharper but I recon I did pretty well for a hand held half second exposure. The food smelled so good that I had to taste some before taking this picture, which unfortunately spoiled the edges of the plate. The dish was really good, and don't worry, I didn't drink all that beer alone (I was the designated driver after all) but I did taste each one of them.
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orme (7215) 2003-11-04 7:48
Great shot. Nice contrast between the dark bottles and the white plate. Nice light reflections. Excellent notes.
mortijo (12828) 2003-11-05 2:43
Very instructive. Thank you for sharing.
Next time I go into a 'beer academy' I'll check it out.
mathiasmo (1755) 2003-11-05 3:12
If knowing the world trough photography is TE's proposal, you did much more than this, Mattias. I really feel like a Malta expert after reading your comments. It's very pleasant to see pictures like yours, because they actually tell us something about places we don't know. Well done. Bon apetit! ps.: I could use a beer of those right now. Regards.
henrye (3500) 2003-11-05 5:04
Great notes! Good photo.
justrob (273) 2003-12-04 14:19
Brilliant note! Two points for that alone!
I'd just like to point out that this is the first image i've seen here at TE with the beer / food ratio correct.
Brilliant note. I'm enriched from reading it, and hungry from seeing the food. Off to lunch now!
- Copyright: Mattias Backlund (sarastro) (588)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2003-07-31
- Categories: Food
- Camera: Nikon Coolpix 3100, JPEG ISO 400
- Exposure: f/2.8, 1/2 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Travelogue: Malta Summer 2003
- Theme(s): Food and Beverage, Beer! [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2003-11-04 7:19