With the arrival of the winter months in Malta, comes a new bounty of delicious fruit and vegetables that are in season especially at this time of year. Here’s some you simply cannot miss during your next visit to the Maltese Islands.
Along with the colder weather from November to February, an abundance of these delectable little squid arrives in Maltese waters, and become a prominent feature of most local restaurant menus, particularly in the popular calamari stew.
Fennel is a key ingredient of many dishes in traditional Maltese cuisine, including the local recipe for oven-roasted potatoes that are plentifully seasoned with the dried seeds. From October to May fresh fennel is in season, adding this rich aniseed taste to vegetable selections offered across the islands.
With pasta dishes a constant favourite due to Malta’s close geography with Italy, spinach often features among other vegetables on the menu, and also makes a tasty partner to ricotta cooked within the locally produced ravioli or cannelloni.
While you may think of this as a spring vegetable for obvious reasons, the primary spring onion harvest in Malta tends to be later in the year, around the winter months. This mild and delicate, sweet-yet-savoury flavour is added both raw and cooked to everything from salads to sandwiches, or even used as a garnish.
Malta’s signature sandwich, the ‘hobz biz-zejt’ (a crusty bread roll filled with tomato puree, oil, tuna and salad) would be incomplete without the addition of locally-grown capers. These salty bursts of flavour are also commonly found in the tomato sauces that traditionally accompany most fish dishes served on the island.
Olives are at their best in Malta from September through to November. Served stuffed as appetisers, or added to sandwiches, salads, pasta sauces and pizzas, you won’t have to go far to sample homegrown Maltese olives. For a truly immersive experience, however, don’t miss the chance to attend one of the number of festivals that are held in honour of these little delicacies.
Famed for producing some of the largest and juiciest citrus fruits in the world, Malta’s oranges are the standard by which all others are measured. Officially in season from October through to April, the Christmas season takes full advantage of the abundant harvest of these juicy citrus wonders by adding them to many local dishes. But we think Maltese oranges are best enjoyed neat, direct from the tree, with a view across the glistening Mediterranean Sea, whilst watching the sunset (well, that’s serving suggestion anyway!).
Bonus: Seasonal Special at Le Bistro
If you’re hankering for a dish that combines all these seasonal ingredients, look no further than Le Bistro in St. Julian’s! They’ve added Pan-fried Calamari with citrus segments, baby spinach, and local caper berries to their specials menu for November and it’s seriously mouth-watering!
To check out Le Bistro’s full menu or make a reservation, click here.