Gozo offers an array of traditional Maltese food and snacks and also some nice local wines. During our stay in Gozo we tried most of the local dishes and wines, and here are our recommendations on what to try when you visit. You might also like to read our review of Otters restaurant in Marsalforn, Gozo.
Gozitan cheese, gbejna
A popular ingredient served as a starter or with a salad on most menus is a peppery Gozitan cheese, gbejna. This mild flavoured sheep or goats’ cheese is sometimes served deep fried with mango sauce, as a hard cheese or as a soft cheese. Personally, we preferred the softer form alongside some tomato-topped bruschetta or bread.
Pastizzi and quassatat (cheese pies)
The Maltese love the combination of cheese and pastry (who doesn’t?). The pastizz (plural pastizzi) is a popular traditional savoury flaky pastry snack, usually filled with either ricotta or peas.
Quassatat is the less rich cousin of the pastizz, a small cheese pie filled traditionally with ricotta. We found these to be quite heavy on the pastry.
We loved the rabbit stew, laced with brandy, and served with some fresh pasta (they’re very big on fresh pasta here) and it was deliciously rich and meaty. Certainly one to try if you’re a meat lover.
Another rabbit dish we would recommend was the rabbit ragu, which was – rather unusually – spiced with warming cinnamon and again served with fresh tubes of pasta and was possibly my favourite meal of the trip. Both rabbit dishes inspired us to recreate them when we got back home (recipes coming soon).
One of the most popular Maltese dips is bigilla, a dip made with broad beans and enjoyed with drinks and olives and spread on bread or served with water biscuits. This really is a Maltese version of hummus.
Fresh local fish lampuki and dentice
Lampuki is a fish that migrates past the Maltese islands in the autumn and is the favoured fish in Malta. Whilst it’s worth trying we weren’t overly struck by this fish. Like many others we’d tried in Gozo, it was so delicately flavoured that the predominant flavour coming through was that of the oil and butter in which it has been cooked. Worth trying as a starter to see what it’s like though.
Dentice is another local fish and similarly tasted mostly of butter and oil. A very sizeable portion though if you’re hungry!
And to drink…
The local tangy soft drink Kinnie, is very popular in Malta and Gozo. Kinnie is a herbal flavour soft drink (think campari but not as harsh) and comes in diet form too.
The best local wine we discovered was the Victoria Height Cabernet Sauvignon, we found it went very well with the rabbit dishes. As Gozo is in close proximity to Sicily some wonderful, reasonably-priced Italian wines were also available and made a good accompaniment to an evening pasta meal.
Cisk is the local lager beer, and is very pleasant. However, the Lord Chambray craft beers stood out the most for us. Their Belgian-style witbier ‘Blue Lagoon’ was one of the nicest we’ve tried in a long time and is a must-try for any Belgian beer fans.
What foods have you enjoyed in Gozo?
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