Gluten Free Malta – Surviving on a Gluten Free diet in Malta and Gozo was easy!
One of the first things we have to do quickly when arriving in any new destination is source gluten free options. We thrived on a gluten free Malta diet of salads, pizza, bread and pasta as compliments to our meat and vegetable choices. We managed to time a 10 week stay in Mellieha with the local supermarket giving away FREE packets of gluten free cookies every time we bought 3 products from the Schar gluten free range! We rarely say NO to FREE even if it is full of sugar, so we may have eaten too many gluten free cookies in Malta!
We have found eating out to be a challenge as many restaurants and cafes have no indication on their menus of items that are gluten free. When trying to find somewhere to eat with four hungry children it helps to have an indication on the window displayed menus of gluten free options. We always check local supermarkets for bread, pasta and pizza as they are easy staples to have in the pantry for snacks or quick and easy dinners after a day out. It is a good thing we can always buy eggs, rice, chicken and vegetables as the children all love Mum’s special fried rice!
Read on for some of our great finds, images and advice on surviving in Malta gluten free.
We found the best gluten free pizza in Malta!
We were in Malta for almost 3 months so that was quite a few meals to source gluten free. Some of the restaurants we visited stated that gluten free pizza bases, pasta and bread were available. We had to ask before sitting down though as they didn’t always have enough for all 6 of us! Often items were frozen especially the cakes and bread. Pizza bases were usually smaller in diameter and incurred a surcharge of around 2 euros. Gluten free pasta and bread options also carried a surcharge but not always. Some items were store bought or prepackaged whilst others were homemade. In fact the best gluten free spaghetti I had was made fresh by the chef in our favourite restaurant in Mellieha. We stayed in Mellieha for 10 weeks and kept returning to our ‘table’ at Ta Randi as the chef and waitress were very knowledgeable about their menu and ingredients and what was safe for us to eat – mostly pizza and chips for the kids.
Ta Randi in Mellieha was our favourite gluten free Malta restaurant!
Gluten Free Products in Supermarkets in Malta
We discovered that a couple of the supermarkets had a gluten free section generally supporting one brand as pictured below. Schar have a full range of bread, pasta, pizza bases, biscuits, cereals, snacks and cakes etc… we try to limit our sweet and carbohydrate intake but sometimes it’s just easier for the children to have sandwiches, pizza or pasta. We also came across a ‘Free From’ range but it is not as widely available as Schar, who seem to be able to get a whole shelf or stand to themselves in some supermarkets.
How much do gluten free products cost in Malta?
We shopped at a number of different supermarkets but during March to May 2016 we found gluten free products to cost the following amounts in (€) euros:
- gluten free bread – €2.50 to €3.50 (300 to 370g)
- gluten free pasta – €2.30 (550g)
- gluten free ciabatta – €2.90 (200g)
- gluten free pizza bases – €4.30 (pack of two plain bases approx 150 g each)
- gluten free pizza – €4.75 (ham & pineapple, pepperoni or margarita from GoodFella’s)
- gluten free bacon – €2.10 (275g)
There was a wide range of sweet treats, biscuits and cakes that were gluten free especially from Schar but there were other product ranges e.g. Free From and Nairns to look out for.
A gluten free pasta dish in a restaurant cost between €6.95 and €9.95, gluten free pizza varied between €7.35 and €11. There were restaurants charging a lot more of course but they were not in our budget!
Traditional Maltese Almond Biscuits that are Gluten Free!
Walking past a little shop on our way to the local bus stop in Mellieha we saw ‘The Caterer’ – nearly didn’t go in but spotted a sign in the window that said they did gluten free products to order. We never did get around to ordering any gluten free sausage rolls but these almond biscuits were delicious if a little heavy on the sugar!
We follow a gluten free diet for our health and wellbeing as its consumption affects us all. We are not officially diagnosed as coeliacs and our reactions are milder now compared to 7 years ago (that’s another diet story). Also we do not worry as much about cross-contamination or trace amounts as coeliacs have to. Eating gluten free Malta and Gozo wide we found good restaurants often having more than just a plain salad to offer us. Pizza, pasta, salads and gluten free bread were all good options for us and the children.
As always when eating out with any food allergy or specific dietary requirement it is best to ask the wait staff and chef if you can for their assistance with making choices. Oh and don’t wait until everyone is really hungry to start looking for somewhere suitable to eat!
We survived being gluten free Malta and Gozo wide, but to be honest there was a fair amount of pizza and pasta involved!