Fresh and fabulous in Malta
My wife and I are staying in the tiny and beautiful coastal village of Xlendi on the Mediterranean island of Gozo, the second-largest in the Maltese archipelago. It is late October and certainly not high tourist season.
It turns out we are the only guests in our hotel, which makes for personalised service and secures us an accommodation upgrade.
On our last evening in Xlendi we decide to take pot luck where to have our evening meal. We wander down to the waterfront just on dusk and stop to have a drink as we watch another gorgeous sunset over the water.
We meander along the shore looking at menu boards outside restaurants, not in any real rush. At one of the last cafes there is a table right beside the water, so we settle there to peruse the offerings. Just as we sit down, one of the local multi-coloured fishing boats pulls into shore near us to add to the atmosphere.
A young man arrives to ask what we would like to drink and inquires where we are from. When he delivers our order he asks if we have any special preference for our meal. We both say fresh seafood and he replies, “Wait just a moment.” He returns with a tray bearing a whole fish about half a metre long.
“My father just returned in that boat,” he says, pointing to the fishing vessel. “This is his catch. Would you like this divided into two fillets, grilled and served with some fresh salad?” Yes, please — jackpot.
Our meal is mouth-wateringly delicious, accompanied by a chilled bottle of white wine and set off to perfection by the moon reflected in the Mediterranean.
Our waiter asks if we have enjoyed the food and, of course, we assure him we have. He invites us to come with him to the back room of the cafe and meet his father, the fisherman, who has just completed his meal.
Through a combination of English, Maltese and sign language we manage to have a sort of conversation and convey our thanks to him for providing us with such a tasty dinner.
As we slowly walk back to our hotel, we discuss what a lucky catch we made choosing that particular cafe. Fresh food in an unforgettable setting has been a fitting finale to our holiday in Malta. Send your 400-word contribution to Follow the Reader : firstname.lastname@example.org. Columnists will receive an elegant Cross Classic Century Medalist Ball Point Pen, in production since 1946, with a polished chrome casing and 23-carat gold-plated trim; black or blue ink; $89.95. More: luxurypens.net.au