Things to do in Malta

There is something reassuring about the compact size of Malta, especially in today’s climate, as we ease ourselves back into the world of travel. I have missed European minibreaks more than anything else over the last 18 months, nothing can replace that exhilarating feeling of waking up in a new city, with a whole new culture to discover. Malta’s capital Valletta is just a 3 hour flight from London but boasts sunny weather for much of the year. There is lots to entertain you in town but also many natural sights to see under an hour away by car or bus. Here are my favourite things to do from a long weekend in Malta.

Best Malta hotel

To Stay

Iniala Harbour House – With an advantageous location on the St Barbara Bastion this luxurious hotel boasts spectacular vistas of the Grand Harbour. There are 23 elegant rooms and suites, a relaxing spa, world-class cuisine and wonderful service. The hotel is housed within four historic Maltese houses, immaculately restored and lavishly decorated inside to ensure you have the most comfortable base while exploring Malta.

Malta

To Eat

Ion the Harbour – The fine dining destination atop the Iniala Hotel. This beautiful rooftop restaurant has recently welcomed one of my favourite chefs, Alex Dilling, to the kitchen. Save time and appetite for the memorable tasting menu, featuring some of Alex’s most iconic creations, such as the divine ‘Hunter Chicken’ with Sauce Albufera. The menu draws on Maltese influences and local ingredients, but is classically French in style. The restaurant was recently awarded its first star, and I predict a second will follow soon. (Other fine dining spots worth visiting include Noni and Under Grain).

Guze – This friendly restaurant serves local Maltese dishes with a twist. Found in a 400 year old historic building, dinner here is atmospheric and special. Expect refined rabbit dishes and stylish desserts from the kitchen of this celebrated bistro.

Legligin – A great spot to get acquainted with the local cuisine. This cosy restaurant offers a tasting menu with a variety of delicious homely cuisine, using the finest Maltese ingredients. Book ahead as it’s always busy.

San Paolo Naufrago – Sit on the steps outdoors and order a pizza and glass of local wine. The pizzas are generous and delicious and the atmosphere is great fun.

Museum Cafe – Established in 1921 the Museum Cafe is the best place in Valletta to pick up the local delicacy of Pastizzi.

Manouche Bakery – Head to this petite bakery (Malta’s first craft bakery) for indulgent viennoiserie and French baked treats.

Malta

To Drink

Lot Sixty One – My first stop in a new city is always a local speciality coffee shop, and Lot Sixty One is the only place in Valletta serving really good coffee. Everyone recommended it to me and it did not disappoint. Open long hours and serving their own roasted beans, the coffee here is strong and delicious. Perch on the al fresco tables with a flat white and plan the rest of your Maltese adventure.

Alchemy – If you are a cocktail fan this is the place to visit. Alchemy is serious about mixology and the knowledgable staff here will create you a totally unique and delicious drink. Open daily from 6pm and found tucked away on the revamped Strait Street.

Bridge Bar – A lovely outdoor spot for an evening drink and a bite to eat while listening to some live jazz, overlooking the Grand Harbour.

Malta

To Explore

Barrakka Gardens – Found at the top of the city of Valletta the magical Barrakka Gardens are well worth a visit while in town. The colonnaded gardens were created in 1661, and were originally the private gardens and exercise grounds of the Knights of the of the langue of Italy, they were opened to the public in 1824. It is a romantic spot to sit and admire the view.

Blue Grotto – There are a number of sea caverns on the south east coast of Malta and the term ‘Blue Grotto’ refers to the collection of them. It is a short taxi ride or bus journey from Valletta, and makes a great half day trip. Head down to the water where you can swim or take a boat ride to see the inside of these incredible caves.

Mdina – This fortified city (and Unesco World Heritage site) is known as ‘The Silent City’ and is 20 minutes drive from Valletta. Here you can wander round by foot, take a charming horse and carriage ride, and enjoy delicious ice-cream from Fior di Latte. Before heading back walk over to the neighbouring town Rabat to pick up traditional Pastizzi lunch from Is Serkin – for just 40 cents you can get a delicious savoury pastry filled with curried peas, cheese or chicken.

Boat to the Three Cities – Take a boat from the Valletta waterfront to explore the Three Cities (Birgu, Bormla and Senglea). I spent most of my time wandering round Birgu and stopped for comforting Italian food at Terrone, run by ex-River cafe alumni.

I was a guest of Iniala Harbour House and Ion – the Harbour restaurant.

Introducing FodaBox…

FodaBox (formerly Borough Box) is a community and quality focused foodie force. The company prides itself on curating beautiful and abundant hampers filled with delicious products from special independent producers. FodaBox was founded by Andy Lawson who knows the importance of shopping small as he was an independent producer himself.

Andy understands more than most how much hard work it is being a producer – very often working relentlessly for rewards that can initially be quite small – he set up FodaBox to create a supportive community for all those great sellers out there. Connecting people with a varied range of products, championing the finest food and drinks.

FodaBox

FodaBox is a communal hub that showcases the work of the hard-working producers; ultimately putting people and their fabulous products above profit. At a time of excess and festive chaos FodaBox is a mindful way of shopping for the best independent food and drink – each product and producer is handpicked for their unique story and wonderful product.

FodaBox

FodaBox kindly sent me one of their stunning Christmas Hampers. The food and drink gift box contains lots of my favourite things, I thought I would highlight a few of the artisan products that particularly caught my eye:

  • Brut Champagne from Virginie T. An exclusive champagne from Virginie Tattinger, fresh and dry in taste. FodaBox are one of the few retailers lucky enough to be offering this rare champagne.
  • Metro London Honey from Bermondsey Street Bees. This ethical brand is based in South London and has won many awards including ‘Small Artisan Producer of The Year’.
  • Raspberry Champagne Chocolate Truffles from Love Cocoa. Inspired by his great-great-great-grandfather, James Cadbury founded Love Cocoa. These white chocolate shells are adorned with raspberry pieces all encased in creamy and rich ganache.
  • Truffle Oil from Truffle Hunter. Truffle Hunter finds the highest quality black English truffles in Southern England, before blending them with their delicious cold-pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil from Oxfordshire. A really special oil that will add a touch of magic drizzled on pizzas, risottos and pastas.
  • Honey & Mustard Dressing from Lucy’s Dressings. Inspired by her mum making dressings in jam jars, Lucy was compelled to create Lucy’s Dressings to share the magic of real home cooking. Mix into marinades, roasties or salads for an intense and tasty flavour.

FodaBox

Head to FodaBox.com to see the full contents of the Luxury Food & Drink Gift Hamper or browse the other beautiful boxes on offer… There’s something for every budget and every occasion, and I can’t think of a more joyful gift to send to someone this holiday season.

See FodaBox on instagram here, and visit their website here.

This is a paid partnership with FodaBox.com.

Recipe – Indulgent Scrambled Eggs with Parma Ham & Chives

Scrambled eggs with Parma Ham and chives

Parma Ham

Ingredients

(For two people)

Four medium high quality eggs (extra yolk if you want to make it extra indulgent)

4 slices of Parma ham

A few sprigs of chives

25g Butter

S+P

Sliced sourdough of Farmhouse bread

Parma Ham

Method

Get everything ready before putting the eggs on the heat as they cook quickly and need to be eaten immediately.

Toast bread and lightly butter. Fry the slices of Parma Ham on a low head until they crisp (they won’t take long and don’t need oil in the pan). Leave in the pan until you are ready. Get some kitchen scissors and cut the chives into very small pieces.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Put the 25g of butter in a pan on a low heat, when the butter is completely melted pour in the egg mixture and stir with a wooden spoon, lifting and folding it over from the bottom of the pan.

Continue stirring until the eggs are softly set and slightly runny in places. Remove from the heat and leave for a moment to finish cooking.

Serve immediately on buttered toast and top with the crispy Palma ham, chopped chives and season to your taste with coarsely ground black pepper and sea salt.

Parma Ham

Recipe as part of paid collaboration with Parma Ham.