Eat Like a Local with this Delicious 'Ftira' Recipe

14 July 2016

The Maltese Ftira is something that the Maltese hold dearly as part of their history and culture. A disc-shaped semi-flat bread made with flour, water and salt is reminiscent of a ciabatta in both texture and taste, but is uniquely different at the same time. The Maltese ftira makes for a simple, fast and delicious snack, especially when filled with the right fresh ingredients. If you’re thinking of booking flights to Malta and want to experience the island like a local then a ftira sandwich is a must-try!

Ftira, like most simple bread foods around the world, takes its origins from the working people hundreds of years ago who made the most of the resources they had. Most towns and villages in Malta had a communal oven at the time where everyone from the area would bake their breads. The communal ovens may have been lost through the ages but the delectable ftira bread that was made there certainly hasn’t.

Traditional Maltese baking oven

The process involved in making a ftira sandwich can be quite time-consuming, especially if you want to make it from scratch. Luckily though, every bakery you come across on the island will sell it. All you need to do is fill it with traditional Maltese fillings, and like most things in life, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. In Malta, the most typical ftira sandwich is that of ħobz biż-żejt, which literally translates to “bread with oil” but it is so much more than just that.

To make ħobz biż-żejt:

  • First, take the ftira, slice it in half and dip the slices in olive oil until they are covered in a generous coating of oil. Maltese olive oil is some of the best in the world so don’t be tempted to eat it as is!
  • Next, you’ll need fresh tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes in half and rub the cut side over the bread until it’s red.
  • Sprinkle to taste with sea salt and pepper
  • After this you can add anything that tickles your fancy. Typically, ingredients such as pickled capers, ripe olives, tuna, and pickled onion are added.
  • An abundance of other ingredients such as sundried tomatoes and lettuce can also be added.


Every locality has its own preferences so be creative and come up with something that appeals to you. And there you have it: an easy, delicious snack that you can enjoy wherever you are – perfect for a day at the beach! 

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