Valletta Journal: On a Mediterranean Island, but Far From a Mediterranean Diet

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The New York Times.

Valletta Journal Customers lined up at a family-run shop for pastizzi, diamond-shaped pastries made with butter and lard and stuffed with ricotta-style cheese or mushy peas, in Paola, Malta. By JAMES KANTER December 21, 2015

VALLETTA, Malta — The Mediterranean has long been known for its mix of sun, sea, fish, nuts and olives, a combination considered an elixir of health and fitness. An entire industry has emerged to promote a Mediterranean diet that promises to unlock the secrets of Greek and Italian islanders who stay active into their 100s.

Then there is Malta.

Throughout the tiny archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean between Italy and Libya, bulging waistlines are a common sight, spilling over at cafes near the vast battlements from where the islanders’ forebears repelled Ottoman invaders and launched raids on North African ships.

At breakfast, customers line up for pastizzi, diamond-shaped pastries made with butter and lard and stuffed with ricotta-style cheese or mushy peas and often sold at small, family-run shops. Many return at lunch for timpana pies that are crammed with pasta and meat — and plenty of calories. Candy stores stack their window displays with jumbo packs…

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