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Monday
May062013

Gozo: We're Not Maltese, and Neither Is Our Food

Don’t ever make the mistake of saying the people are Gozo are Maltese. They’ll cut your head off. No, they won’t. They’ll rip you a new one. No, no, that’s not true. But they are Gozitans, and their food is Gozitan. And don’t you ever forget it!

The food of Gozo is a bit different. The people are different and the way of life is different, so it makes sense that the food is not quite the same. I learned all of this when the Malta Tourism Authority took me around the island to eat, learn, and photograph. This tiny island has just over 30,000 inhabitants, and the island measures just 14 km x 7 km, featuring farmhouses, cliffs, sea caves, and farmland.

 A Gozitan stuffed ftira

The Gozitans have some of the usual streetside corner stands selling pastizzi and pizza—but this time they have mini ftira and giant ones. In fact, we had a giant ftira baked in an old-fashioned (and not New York old fashioned, European old fashioned) wood-burning oven by an old baker with greasy hands. It was salty, filled with egg and cheese, and super delicious.

 

Honey is another pride of Gozo, as is the goat cheese ravioli. Though I never saw any goats in my time living there, I finally saw cows on the island of Gozo. The goats must be there somewhere…but maybe they fell off all the cliffs?

Either way, Gozo loses in terms of public transportation (though hitchhiking is the way to get around),Your ETR representative up on the Azure Window but wins in terms of peacefulness, natural beauty, and miles of hiking trails. You’d be surprised how out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere you can get just by walking along the coast. And don’t forget wild Gozitan cactus fruit, which tastes like a cucumber and…well, that one was a disappointment. But many people love ‘em. They even make cactus liqueur. And carob liqueur. And pomegranate jam. Yes, pomegranates grow here! You’ll also find hard and soft goat cheese and cheeselets, often served in restaurants with tomatoes, briny sun-dried tomatoes, capers, onions, and olive oil. No, don’t confuse Gozo with Malta.

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