One of the most relatable ways to understand a culture is through the food. It’s also the first way you survive long enough to write about that culture. Since Jason and I are travelling Europe on a budget, the food we often eat is cheap of the variety. The cheaper, the better.
Each of our food posts focus on cheap, easily found dishes that seem culturally exclusive to a specific country or region. Most often, the dishes we choose our vegetarian.
Today I’d like to introduce you to the champion of cheap, delicious, vegetarian food found almost exclusively on the little island of Malta.
Pastizzi (pronounced pah-stit-zee) is a flaky Philo dough pastry filled with one of two fillings. There’s ricotta pastizzi and pea mash pastizzi. The pea mash has a particular spice with a subtle kick that tastes distinctly North African. Ricotta is a common cheese on the island and makes for a semi-sweet and savory pastry. Each type of has its own shape. The Pea mash is completely enclosed in dough and the ricotta…well the Maltese say that the ricotta pastizz is shaped like a vagina and also use the word “pastizz” as an insult.
Pastizzi is a Maltese staple and pastizzeras can be found all over the island. Jason and I would take daily walks to Jeff’s for our regular pastizzi quota which was usually two peas and two ricotta that ran at about .60 euro total. You can definitely get a lot of pastizz for your buck.
To help explain the glory of this pastry, this video perfectly encapsulates our pastizzi experience in Malta.