During this phase the Maltese archipelago passed under the control of various leading Mediterranean powers. The Phoenicians, the Romans and the Byzantines continued to incorporate Malta into a Mediterranean food culture dictated mainly by bread, wine and oil. Local evidence of bread making and bread consumption is rudimentary and practically non-existent. With maybe few exceptions, the local scene must have reflected practices found in other parts of the Mediterranean region.
The Romans had instituted efficient regulatory systems to protect grains and their distribution within society. Grain prices were established by the state. Through the Annona considerable amounts of bread were distributed for free among the needy. Bakers were given particular attention and their service closely watched over to minimize waste and any other form of abuse.
The favourable climatic conditions indicate that grains were also cultivated in Roman Malta (218 B.C.). This is further supported by the representation of grain on the effigy on a Roman-Malta coin. The inscription on this same coin refers to the temple of Prosperina, goddess of grain. Consumption of grain is further supported by the remains of a piece of carbonized bread found in Mqabba.
Bread, as well as wine and oil, became important symbols of the Christian congregation that was inspired by the teachings of St. Paul.
During the Byzantine rule (c. Sixth Century AD) bread was one of the foods which distinguished the behaviour and means of association for the faithful believers of three different religions that coexisted on the Maltese archipelago: Jews, pagans and Christians.
Expanding its westward commercial links out of Lebanon, the Phoenicians colonised a number of Mediterranean outposts. Renown to be a formidable community of sailors and traders, the Phoenician would reach the shores of Spain, in a commercial network that would also include Cyprus, Sardinia, east Sicily and Malta.
In Malta, the Phoenicians would gradually take over the island community and integrate it within their system. The Phoenicians also specialised in farming techniques. In Malta, they will introduce agricultural activity further inland thus expanding the cultivation of agricultural land. The Phoenicians are also attributed with the introduction of the local cultivation of vines and olives for the production of wine and oil.
Some of the most interesting archaeological remains dating from the Phoenician period were found at the tas-Silg sanctuary. Fragments of earthenware attributed to the Phoenician period shed light on the local practise of ritual dinners on special religious occasions such as the passing of a family member. In what was originally a megalithic temple, the Phoenicians started the cult of Astarte. Its function as a fortified place of Phoenician ritual eventually also remained a place of worship during the Roman era, then dedicated to Juno.
By 218 B.C. Malta passed under the control of Rome. In general, the Roman interregnum was a largely a prosperous one as indicated by the several countryside estates and artefacts found in a town house just outside of Mdina. The Roman culture must have had its influences over the local island mentality.
The consumption of vegetables, honey, bread, wine and oil were considered as indicators of civilisation as opposed to the Barbarian food culture of raw and uncooked food commonly found in Northern Europe.
Following the recognition of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire, food consumption and table manners experienced gradually modifications. For instance, fish [a fasting food] and meat would no longer be presented on dinner table at the same time.
Malta was annexed to the Byzantine Empire around A.D. 535. Recent archaeological studies indicate Byzantine activity within the vicinity of harbour settlements