I had pasta that was prepared in a flaming wheel of “Pecorino Romano della Sardegna” cheese with botarga as a first course and “porceddu” as a second course which is spit-roasted suckling pig. Sardinia’s cuisine is influenced by its insular geographic position as well as its farming and pastoral roots.
The island prepares a special paper-thin bread called “carasau” that is served warm. Sometimes it is sprinkled with oil, tomato, pecorino cheese and eggs. It is simple but delicious. For special events and holidays like Easter the bread is embellished to represent sacred objects or shapes.
The regional specialty in the pasta arena is “malloreddus” which are small elongated shells that are spiced with saffron and prepared “alla campidanese” with tomatoe, sausage and pecorino cheese. These little dumplings are still made by hand in many towns in Sardinia. Local restaurants also serve spagehetti alla ricotta e noci (with walnuts). Another interesting Sardinian specialty is “culurgiones” which are large ravioli filled with potatoe, mint and cheese.
In the coastal regions, seaside restaurants serve pasta with sea-urchins or bottarga (sea urchin roe). In the summer, spaghetti with lobster is your best bet. Fish soups like “fregula con cocciula” or “ziminu” are quite tasty. The “filetti di spigola allo zafferano” offers sea bass with saffron. Tuna is plentiful on the Isola di San Pietro.
The island has more sheep than people so lamb and mutton are regional favorites. The “pecora bolita” is mutton stew and the “cosciotto di agnello alla vernacia” is leg of lamb cooked in wine.
For dessert, try some “seadas” or sebadas” which are round pastry disks filled with cheese and lemon zest that are fried and served with strawberry honey. I love the “amaretti” cookies made with almond paste. Don’t miss the “mirto” which is a dessert liquor made from the myrtle bushes that cloak the island.
On the western coast, many Catalans migrated to Sardinia and brought their wine making expertise with them which you can enjoy when you try the “Vernaccia d’Oristano.” I prefer the dry red “Cannonau” di Sardegna.
The Nuragus vine is found exclusively in Sardinia to produce the white Nuragus di Cagliari wine. Don’t forget to visit the UNESCO World Heritage ancient Nuragi structures in Sardinia. To learn more about Italy visit www.vino-con-vista.com