Malta is not alone, it is an archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean, and Gozo is the second largest island. A 4 km ferry ride from Malta, from Italian students and excursionists, Gozo is a small, slow and silent paradise. Island of the island, in Gozo life flows following the rhythm of the past and the spaces are immense despite the small distances, because people are few and tourists even less. Many come on an excursion, spend a few hours and leave, leaving to its inhabitants an environment and traditions that are still alive and genuine. Retreat for those seeking peace and tranquility, even in the most populous town of Rabat (6000 souls), life is that of a village and the evening nightlife runs between a game of cards and a glass of wine. Gozo remains protected from the sea and a place where the Mediterranean can still be found as it was. It's enough to stop to understand it and to live a truly human-sized vacation.
Pastizzi and kapunate
The summer never ends, the sun shines all year and Gozo has always been a destination for nature lovers, underwater diving in the clear sea and archeology enthusiasts. But it is also a paradise for foodies, because there is also authentic food. The ingredients and flavors are those of our sea: juicy vegetables, lemons, olives, almonds, pine nuts, aromatic herbs … All the good things Spain and Greece, Italy and the Maghreb have in common: they eat pasta, fregola , but also the Hävla; the caponata is sweeter, with honey and raisins and is served as an appetizer, as the Arabs would do, together with a cream of broad beans which is a kind of encounter between a chickpea hummus and the macco of Apulian broad beans. There are the rustics, the Sicilian cannoli, the espresso coffee: there is a lot of Italy, but with incomprehensible names at the moment, because if the Kapunata, i ravjule the minestrasi immediately understands what they are, the timpana instead or the pastizzi leave dumbfounded: baked macaroni timbale, the first, puff pastry filled with ricotta or peas, the second.
Maltese cuisine is a crossroads of centuries of history, but the cuisine of Gozo has something unique. Island of the island has slowly absorbed the influences, and today this means that while in Valletta restaurants and clubs open, cocktail bars and emerging chefs, in Gozo the flavors, the recipes, the ingredients are those of the past: authentic.
Homemade cheese and carob syrup
Gozo specializes in traditional food products such as the gbejniet, a sheep's milk cheese that is used fresh, as a filling also for pastizzi and ravioli, or seasoned, dried, marinated or peppered. Famous for his cheese, the breeder and producer Ta ’Rikardu, who also has a restaurant and a laboratory in the center of Victoria. Local specialties that cannot be found elsewhere, the sweet tomato sauce spread on bread (known as the Magro Brothers a Xewkija), carob syrup and prickly pear liqueur (found in stores like Jubilee Food or Vini e Capricci) . To take home an easy-to-carry souvenir instead, the salt of the traditional salt-works by the sea, carved into the rock, is the perfect idea.
Kinnie and craft beers
The national drink in Malta is called Kinnie, halfway between a cola and a chinotto, it is drunk in cans almost everywhere and the recipe remains secret since 1952, but there is also a production of craft beer and native wines to be discovered . Even on the small island of Gozo, the Lord Chambray brewery produces ipa, ale and stout very rock'n'roll and is found distributed a little in all the bars. To find out how to produce the island's unique wine and terroir, book an aperitif with traditional snacks from Tal Massar, a winery in the village of l-Gharb.
Street food in bakeries
The food here is genuine, you feel it by tasting the products of small artisans. The Gozo ovens are one of the island's attractions, at least for those looking for real experiences. You find them following the smell of freshly baked bread and they are the most correct (and really cheap) addresses to try a couple of the island's specialties. From the wood-fired ovens the Gozitan ftira is baked, a pizza topped with tomatoes, olives, capers or the sandwich-symbol of lunches on the beach: the Ħobż biż-żejt, a typical tomato, anchovy, caper, olive and cheese based sandwich that looks a bit like Sicilian cunzatu bread. To taste the best, no bar or gourmet restaurant, it is better to enter the bakeries that repeat the same gestures every day for decades, and sit outside on the tables, holding a great gastronomic experience for a few euros!
At the restaurant for fish and genuine food
In addition to street food, genuine Gozo food is tasted at the restaurant, by the sea to eat fresh fish in the picturesque Xlendi bay or along the seafront of Marsalforn or at the port of Mgarr. The resorts of Ir-Rabat, Mgarr and ix-Xlendi are the most popular, rich in offer, but the most renowned restaurants for making a gourmet dinner are Ta 'Philip in Ghajnsielem, Ta' Frenc on the road to Marsalforn – also famous for its excellent offer of the winery- and Tatitas on the square of San Lawrenz – Ta 'means Da, and they are all family management! The menu is classic, nothing international that can be found anywhere: bigilla of beans to eat with bread, zalzett, coriander sausages, cockerels, crackers that accompany olives and cheese the moment of the aperitif with a glass of wine. And if the cold really comes, you warm up with bowls of steaming soup like thealjotta, a delicious garlic fish soup. With 300 days of sunshine a year, it's hard to find a gray day in Gozo – so there's no need to wait, every moment is good to taste it!
Browse the gallery