To sit at a Maltese table for dinner or lunch is to sit at a table that will groan under the weight of multiple overflowing dishes of food.

The Maltese enjoy their meals. This is a country where restaurant managers apologise that a starter is smaller than a main and then upgrade it with salads and sides turning it into a full course in itself. To receive anything less would be an insult.

Hobz Biz-Zejt
Such innocent flavours when combined result in huge flavour. (Photo Credit: Heather Tucker)

And that is exactly how, ten minutes from Rabat – the town with catacombs on the UNESCO World Heritage List – our table at Rogantino’s Restaurant became full.

A late 16th century hunting lodge with vaulted ceilings and original stone floors, Rogantino’s feels more like a kindly neighbour’s house than a restaurant. And taking advantage of the warming sunshine at a table on the terrace outside amongst fields of flowers, only intensified the feeling further.

Many things were brought to our table: plump red-black olives, creamy white cheese, and crunchy crust bread quickly yet carefully topped with tomato puree, olive oil, and chopped mint. While Hobz Biz-Zejt actually translates to “bread with oil” it is anything but so simple. Covered with a sweet tomato puree – kunserva – and then topped with olive oil and other ingredients such as black pepper, garlic, olives, capers, or even tuna or anchovies – depending on the preparer.

The fragrant smell of tomatoes and mint, the zang of sweet and umami on my tongue, and the warmth of sunshine on my shoulders are sensations I will never forget from my time on the island of Malta.

Related Posts

About Heather Tucker

Heather is a writer, photographer and explorer of the world with bylines in Archaeology Magazine, Porthole Cruise Magazine, Taste & Travel, amongst others. She is addicted to pen, paper, hotels, organisation and hippos. In addition to Travel Gluttons, you can find her over at Cloggie Central.


More Posts...

One Response to "Food Postcard: Hobz Biz-Zejt"

  1. Pingback: City Guide: Valletta, Malta | Travel Gluttons

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.