Sardegna’s Culinary Treats
Ebé! (Hey Mate!) Headed to Sardegna this summer? White sandy beaches and endless rugged wild coastline are the first images to come to mind when planning a trip to Italy’s incredible island. But there’s more to the island than the selvaggia (wild) landscape and emerald kissed sea. Sardegna’s rich gastronomic traditions rival and, dare we say, surpass many other Italian regions. Culinary variations and recipes vary from village to village, though meat and cheese-based dishes are regional mainstays while fresh fish and seafood can be found in coastal towns and adjacent dotted islands. Good food is a surety, wherever you go – is it any wonder that this region is a Blue Zone? Here’s a list of our favourite items to taste. Ready? Ajò!
Bottarga di muggine Grey Mullet Fish Roe. Eja (Yes), you can thank us later. Salty and briny, spaghetti alla bottarga is the usual go-to but grated bottarga is also delicious over raw sliced sardo artichokes, as well as served on its own with a drizzle of EVOO and a spritz of lemon.
Cannonau Of course, you’ll want to order un’ampudda ‘e ‘inu (some wine) with your meal. This full-bodied 14 degree red wine is made with grenache grapes, offering herbaceous notes of black cherry, raspberry and spice paired with silky smooth tannins.
Culurgiones A bit more dumpling than raviolo, this fresh pasta hails from the region of Ogliastra. The dough is made with milled semolina or durum wheat flour and water and traditionally stuffed with potatoes, fresh mint, pecorino sardo and garlic.
Filu ‘e ferru Directly translated as “iron wire”, the distilled crystal clear spirit is similar to aquavit and is made from skins of grapes exclusively grown and vinified on the island. Also known as sardo Grappa or abbardente (water that burns), this 40 degree hooch isn’t for the faint of heart.
Malloreddus Otherwise known as sardo gnocchi, this pretty little pasta is made with durum wheat semolina flour, water, salt, and a smidge of saffron. Best served with a meaty sugo (sauce) and grated pecorino sardo.
Mirto The island’s signature digestif, this typical sardo liqueur is made from distilled wild myrtle berries. Familes pass down recipes and keep hush hush on the ratio of berries to sugar (or honey) to alcohol, so you’ll have to get very friendly with a Sardo to get the recipe. Salude, a chent’annos! (To your health, 100 years!)
Pane Carasau sardo flatbread, also known as carta musica (sheet music) for its paper-thin and crispy texture. Made from hard wheat bran, yeast and salt, carta musica is delicious plain, and we suggest dressing it up with some extra virgin olive oil, fresh tomatoes, oregano and a pinch of salt.
Pani ‘e saba Traditionally eaten during All Saints Day in November and the Christmas season, this typical sardo sweet celebrates the end of the autumn harvest blending a sweet reduction of must (saba/sapa) with almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, raisins and orange zest, as well as a touch of filu ‘e ferru to give it some kick.
Pardulas and casadinas Petite pastry pies, originally an Easter dolce (sweet), cute as a button and deliciously addictive. Puff pastry is primped, pursed and filled with a mix of ricotta, saffron, and lemon for pardulas, while casadinas sub fresh pecorino sardo in place of ricotta.
Porceddu arrosto A traditional pastoral dish, the suckling pig is roasted for more than half the day in an earthen pit filled with myrtle and herbs. Porchetta, you’ve been warned!
Seadas, Sebadas, Sevadas These sweet n’ savoury cheese pastry pillows were originally served as a secondo before morphing into dolce, akin to pudding consistency. One of the more famous sardo desserts, their name changes according to the village. Made with fresh pecorino sardo (cheese), orange zest, wheat, eggs and a sweet veil of honey or sugar on top, again, depending on the village.