Food & drink
Bigilla, arjoli & gbejna? 9 perfectly Maltese galletti toppings for the ultimate snack time
Malta has its own version of tapas ... these bite-sized snacks will have you reaching out for more

Melanie Drury

In Spain you have tapas. In France they call them hors d'euvres. In Malta we have Maltese platters with galletti, the water biscuits that give the crunch to some of Malta's favourite bite-sized snack foods. Here's what you'll need to prepare the perfect Maltese party or booze platter.

Galletti (water biscuits)

These water biscuits are the traditional base for a variety of toppings that will make Malta's favourite finger foods. They are also used for dips. Maltese bread cut in little squares and topped with tomato paste, a dash of olive oil and salt and pepper also do the job.

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1. Bigilla (Maltese bean paste)

You can't have a Maltese platter without Malta's traditional bigilla, a paste made from tic beans (Djerba beans) and garlic, topped with parsley and chilli.

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2. Arjoli (Maltese tuna or anchovy paste)

Another favourite dip is made from tuna, anchovies, tomatoes, garlic, onion and herbs. This recipe varies from kitchen to kitchen.

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3. Gbejna (sheep's cheeselet)

Whether it's goats, sheep or even cows milk that's used for your favourite gbejniet, no serious Maltese platter is complete without them.

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4. Zebbug mimli (stuffed olives)

Many countries stuff their olives, but the Maltese version is an anchovy stuffing.

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5. Inchova (anchovies)

They're featuring often enough in other recipes such as arjoli and stuffed olives, so why not throw them in whole for good measure?

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6. Kappar (capers)

Like we haven't had enough salt, let's add strong-tasting capers to the equation. These flower buds are marinated in salted brine and added to many Maltese recipes.

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7. Tadam imqadded (sundried tomatoes)

Another for the salty-loving palate, sundried tomatoes have a strong flavour that adds a nice kick to your Maltese tapas.

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8. Zalzett tal-Malti (Maltese sausage)

It's not all about fish, beans and veg. The Maltese sausage is a cured sausage that is delicious eaten raw or cooked.

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9. Artichoke hearts

Artichoke hearts find a place in many delicious Maltese dishes. Pickled or in oil, they also make a wonderful galletti topping.

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BONUS: Bebbux (snails)

Not exactly a topping, but these sure go down well as a finger food. The snails that are a delicacy to the French are more of a farmer's dish in Malta.

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How to prepare:

Place all the ingredients in separate bowls with plenty of galletti to go around, and allow your guests to make their own fantasy combinations with these amazing Maltese tapas toppings!

10th August 2019


Melanie Drury
Written by
Melanie Drury
Melanie was born and raised in Malta and has spent a large chunk of her life travelling solo around the world. Back on the island with a new outlook, she realised just how much wealth her little island home possesses.

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