22 Dec 2016

Sardinian cuisine: that mysterious stranger. A gastronomical journey to discover some of the famous and not-so- famous culinary delights of Sardinia.


That Sardinia is the pearl of the Mediterranean is a well-known fact: breath-taking natural beauty, unrivalled welcoming services and a millenary culture… However, what’s not so well-known is the richness and variety of its food and wine.

So, here’s a mouth-watering itinerary for lovers of this magical island: cross the confines of crispy carasau bread, rise above the tasty heights of malloreddus, go beyond the sweet shores of mirto (myrtle liqueur) and discover the real joys of Sardinian cuisine.

Sardinian cooking has its roots in some very ancient recipes, passed down from generation to generation, which are made using only local products – the bounty of an almost untouched nature. If you add to this the fact that some of the most brilliant chefs have made a few tweaks of their own, what more can we say? There’s nothing left to do but sit down at the dinner table and indulge in this tantalising culinary adventure.

But it’s probably best to start from the beginning, with the hors d’oeuvres. A typical Sardinian dish usually consists of a mixed selection of salami and cheese, which ranges from aromatic hams, lots of different types of pork sausage and wild boar, right the way through to mustela,

a typical Sardinian salami that is made from pork loin. If you fancy something a bit different, why not try pesce a scabecciu? It’s a fried fish in a tomato, onion and vinegar sauce, similar to sweet and sour, which is also known locally as filatrota. It’s made with the typical, Sardinian eel, which is very fatty, because it’s getting ready to migrate to the Sargasso Sea.

But how about the first course? Why not try fregula, a Sardinian semolina pasta, which is a bit like couscous, or why not indulge your taste buds with a plate of ‘Cassoletta di fregula ai frutti di mare’ (a seafood pasta dish), in the revisited version, by the great Antonello Arrus, from the Belvedere restaurant at Forte Village, in Santa Margherita di Pula.

Alternatively, you can opt for some culurgiones pasta cases, which are similar to ravioli. You can go for the classic version, which are filled with fresh sheep or goat Ricotta cheese, egg and saffron or the more contemporary version, with mint and Campidanese sausage, San Gavino saffron flowers and cream of mild Pecorino cheese, all made in-house by Forte Village!

For seconds, how about burrida? A dish made with catshark or other types of fatty fish (dogfish, ray, etc.), which is highly appreciated by Chef Cracco. And whilst we’re on the theme of the favourite dishes of this multi-starred chef, Bottarga di Muggine by Cabras, is delicious served finely sliced with a drizzle of olive oil.

But if you want to fully honour Sardinian tradition, then you’ll just have to abandon yourself to the comforting and homely taste of char-grilled suckling pig and myrtle, served with an olive oil dip and raw summer vegetables. It’s a unique and unusual pork dish, because the pig is butchered before it’s been weaned and is so small it can be cooked whole.

And when it comes to dessert, you’ll be spoilt for choice: seadas, tiliccas, cajadhine, papassini, prichittas, gueffuse cuppuletta. All different types of pastries, cakes, biscuits and doughnuts, made with ricotta, almonds, cheese, icing, honey and a whole bunch of other moreish ingredients!