Come with me to an 8-stop journey into the most typical Sardinian gastronomic traditions to capture scents that enclose a whole sensory universe, as ancient as the island and discover where to taste and buy these rare delicacies.
The most typical bread of Sardinia is crispy, thin and tasty. It is the bread used by the sheperds, the sort that must last for weeks or months. The secret lies in making it carasare, (to toast) to the right point. When it is put into a wood -oven, it swells up like a balloon and looks like it will explode at any moment instead as by in miracle it sags is transformed into carasau.
- Buy it at Panificio Giulio Bulloni, via Minerva 8, Bitti.
- Eat it everywhere in Sardinia
The Precious Saffron
It is the yellow that both colors and flavors the traditional dishes of Sardinia such as fregula, (semolina balls) the ricotta ravioli, the pardula(Easter cakes stuffed with ricotta) as well as the famous Milanese risotto all zafferano(rice with saffron )and International dishes such as the Spanish Paella and Bouillabaisse.
Sardinia is Italy’s principal producer of saffron and if you go in November you can admire spectacular explosions of violet flowers between San Gavino ,Turri and Vilanovafranca where ritual and tasting take place. The precious dish condiment has arrived to the island from the Middle East via Spain and it’s greatly appreciated for it’s refined aroma.
- Buy :Agriturismo su Massaiu 30E Turri Provinciale 46, km
- Eat: “il Tramonto” restaurant at the Hotel Marinedda for traditional dishes
One of my favorites! The Arabs gave it a name of Botarikh but the fragrance is wholly Sardinian. It comes from the lagoon on Cabras on the island’s West coast. These roes of mullets in Sardinia, are traditionally salted and dried in the wind and I promise you , are food fit for the gods and the local fisherman in wetlands of Sinis a rich resource ever since the times of the Phoenician merchants. The amber colored bottarga costs as much as caviar, and increasingly rare and more expensive.
- Buy : “Agriturismo Pinuccia” for excellent bottarga pate
- Taste : Restaurante ” il Quattrino” Sao Paulo for a pasta dish or eggs with bottarga
Mirto a scented liquor
It is said that the berries of murtauccimust be gathered in the early morning wet with with the night dew, they give off a distinguished aroma that gives birth to the digestive nectar. The shrub grows al around the Mediterranean but it is only in Sardinia that it is transformed into a red-ruby liquor. (3M bottles produced every year) made from an infusion of the white myrtle leaves in alcohol. Field of essences that spread from Santa Teresa di Gallura to Sarrabus are perfumes of Summer evenings and symbols of the local uncontaminated nature and biodiversity.
- Buy: Distillerie Fratelli Rau Sassari , Predda Niedda Sud strada 15
- Buy: Mercato San Pantaleo
- Drink anywhere in Sardinia
Casizolu the Ancient Cheese
It was always made by women, who watch the milk curd rise, knead it and shape it until they finish making that pear-shaped yellow provola a masterpiece of taste, slightly piccante (if matured) with an aroma of herbs and dried fruits. The Slow Food Foundation’s Su Cazilou is the cheese that comes from the cows ‘s milk in the Modica part of Sardinia. It is an ancient rite, handed down by generations of families who keep the red cattle in Santu Lussurgiu Oristano-Montiferru area.
You can purchase these local cheese in this region, on the road at any open air local market in Sardinia.
- Taste the cheese recipe “Antica Dimora del Gruccione” , via Orbinu 31- Santu Lussurgiu
- Buy: San Benas Via Cambosu 6, Santu Lussurgiu
- Buy:Villa Sant’Antonio farmer’s market
Culurgionis renowened filled pasta
Among the tastiest pasta dishes in the whole of Italy, the pasta in Culurgiones is filled with a combination of potato, pecorino cheese, animal fats, garlic, olive oil and mint leaves, creating a striking flavour. A topping of sweet tomato sauce takes the dish to an even greater depth of flavour.
Sweet Seada (or Sebada)
Originally it was a single plate for the whole meal served in portions much larger than today’s. Well balanced from a nutrition point of view (semolina, cheese, honey, different vegetables or dried meat) the seada is today the main dish in agroturismo restaurants around the island, street fairs and festivals. When served as a dessert, the magic zest of the slightly acidic pecorino (sheep’s cheese) is beyond unique when served the island typical honey ‘nectar ‘ based on corbezzoli (arbutus or strawberry trees) or honeys based on millefiori, or thistle. To end your meal with a sweet seaada wash it with a glass of moscato,malvasiaor a few drops of myrtle liquor.
- Taste: “Sebaderia Dulcinea” for authentic seadas the best Sardinian “street food’ according to the Gambero Rosso , via Ballero,92 Nuoro
Quite what is the secret ingredient of this soups still not clear. Suppa Cuata otherwise ‘ secret soup”. Perhaps because it comes covered up with a crust of bread and cheese? The soup based on state bread, cow’s milk cheese and then, and this is the secret, a meat stock. A delicacy that originates in the world of shepherds and herdsmen, it was once kept for village feasts above all for weddings, today it is an irreplaceable first course for holiday menu of restaurants and agriturismo.
- Agriturismo “Il Muto di Gallura” Aggius Località Fraiga
- Ristorante del ‘ Hotel Su Gologone”
The world rare and most highly valued pasta, has it’s origin in the ancient and many layered region of Barbagia where according to the legend, a ‘distracted God’ offering womenfolk the gift of weaving also though them how to prepare this extraordinary recipe. Water, semolina, the right amount of salt and the know-how of women’s handiwork are it’s simple ingredients. The three hundred years old technique sets.
Taste : Ristorante “Il Rifugio ” Nuoro