EATING HABITS & FOOD IN SARDINIA
Sardinian food ranges from seafood, freshly baked breads, olives and wine to roasted suckling pig, cheeses and ice cream, Sardinia is a hungry mans paradise. It is impossible to define a Sardinian meal, as ingredients, recipes and methods of cooking vary greatly from town to town but as a very rough guide here are some of the typical dishes you will find travelling across the island.
A Sardinian meal normally starts with antipasti : proscuitto, cheese, octopus, salami, olives,marinated vegetables, clams or mussels cooked alla marinara with white wine, garlic, and parsley, burrida (A Cagliari speciality of dogfish marinated in a walnut and garlic sauce), bottarga (salted, dried fish eggs of tuna or mullet) which is served in shavings with lemon and olive oil.
First course (Primi) include: sa fregula, a small round shaped pasta often served in fish broth with clams; malloreddus, small grooved pasta flavored with saffron and served with tomato, sausage sauce and topped of with grated pecorino cheese; culingionis, ravioli made with semolina (potato and mint filling, but fillings depend on the region of the island); and panadas, a round pie filled with vegetables, meat or eels. Panadas so popular in Assemini that they have dedicated a festival to it.
Second course(Secondo) Usually a fish or meat dish. Traditional Sardinian meats are spit-roasted suckling pig, cooked over a log fire then left to infuse myrtle leaves. Baby lamb,goat, and rabbit are also very popular. The strong stomached may be brave enough to try sa cordula, lamb intestines with peas tied into an intricate braid with various and oven or spit roasted. Another specialty food is sanguinaccio (a sweet black pudding to us!), a pig-blood sausage sweetened with currants and sugar and served roasted or boiled.
It may seem strange to some that seafood is a relatively new addition to the Sardinian diet. During the Islands long and troubled history, Sardinia was continually invaded: Phoenicians, followed by the Carthaginians, the Greeks, Romans, the Genovese, Pisans, and the Spanish and many islanders were taken as slaves to north Africa. Understandably, this prompted the Sardinians to flee coastal areas, seeking refuge in the safer mountainous regions inland, where the main sources of food came from pigs, goats, sheep and large crops of wheat.
The introduction of seafood into the Sardinian diet was the legacy of some of the later invaders to the Island and thanks to them you will find a fantastic selection of seafood dishes throughout the island and one of the biggest fish markets in Italy is San Benedetto in Cagliari.
Here are some of the more poplular seafood dishes you will find. If you fancy trying these out for yourself then check back as we will be adding a recipies section to help you recreate your fantastic Sardinian holiday dining experiences when you return home
Burrida a Sa Casteddaia (Burrida alla Cagliaritana) Burrida is a antipasta of fish which is served in cagliairi. Its main ingredients are dogfish which is marinaded in walnuts, vinegar and spices for 24 hours. to taste this dish we recommend Ristoranti Italia, Via Sardegna, Cagliari Fregola with Arselle : fregola is a Sardinian pasta which is often served with clams (arselle ). At the market you will find,(depending on the season ) lobster, octopus, sea urchine, king prawns, crab, sea bream , tuna and just about every other type of fish to be found in the med.
Cooking meats of the spit, above a wood fire is probably the most common way meat is prepared on the island. The meat, which is cooked whole,has to be skilfully be cooked to perfection and this is normally a job done by the men. The most common meat you will find is the suckling pig known as Su Porcheddu.
Another traditional, although less common way of cooking meat is in the ground,Incarralzadu. This process involves digging a large hole and filling it with myrtle leaves, the meat is then laid on top of the perfumed leaves and another layer of leaves is placed on top. The hole is then refilled with earth burying the meat completely, a fire is lit on top of the sealed hole and the meat cooks gently for hours under the fire
Cheese is a Sardinian gastonomic speciality due to the islands traditional Shepherding. The island has the highest production of pecorino cheese in Europe PECORINO Is the king of the Sardinian cheese, made from sheep milk, and is known as a symbol of sardinia throughout the world.
Pecorino is devrived fromthe Italian word for sheep. It comes in many different guises and ranges from a sweet to a spicy cheese depending on the maturity. The more spicy cheeses are left to mature for a period of at least six months, the sweeter cheeses are matured less than this.Pecorinio can be seen as an antipasti on most Sardinian dinner tables but is often also used grated over pastas Pecorino Romano is one of the gratable, hard sheep milk cheeses of Italy. Buy it whole, never grated.
While to some this may seem like a form of torture, the people of the Sardinian hold this cheese in high regard. Casu Marzu, as it is known to them, is Pecorino matured in the open air and flies are allowed to lay eggs within the cheese. This results resulting in the formation of thousands of fly larvae (maggots) which infest the cheese. The enzymes produced by the feeding maggots aids in the fermentation of the cheese, in fact causing the milkfat to decompose and form a strong and very pungent spreadable cheese. The maggots are eaten directly with the cheese which is normally served with pane carasau. Some people keep their sunglasses on when eating the cheese, because the maggots can jump up to 6 inches (15 cm.)!If you are brave enough make sure the maggots are still alive. Dead maggots indicates that the cheese has decomposed to a toxic state. Other dangers include allergic reactions and risk of intestinal larval infection. It is possible for live larvae to pass through the stomach and take up residence in the intestines. If this happens, the larvae can cause serious lesions as they attempt to bore through the intestinal walls.
Because of the dangers associated with this cheese, it is considered an illegal and is only available on the Black Market‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√ë¬¨‚àÇ.Definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Bread along with pasta is one of the main staples of the Sardinian diet. There are small and large bakeries producing bread all over the island. in the Island. As well as this commercial production it is still common for bread to be made at home. Bread has a strong symbolic value as it plays a central role in festivals.
One of the most famous Sardinian breads is the carasau known also by the name carta da musica(music paper), because it is so thin(maximum of 3mm) You will find this crispy bread in most restaurants and trattorias. Carta da Musica is often sprinkled with oil and salt and put in the oven for a few moments. When made in this way it is known as Guttiau
Another very popular bread made all over Sardinia but particularly in Oristano, Iglesias and the plains of Cagliari. Its a round loaf with a crispy crust on the outside and a soft white bread on the inside. This bread was first introduced to Sardinia when the Romans were in power. It is excellent for bruschetta, and antipasta.
is a very popular bread not only for its taste but also for its shape which changes from village to village. Coccoi hasa hard crust with a very soft inside, and although it is found throughout the whole of Sardinia,it is most common in the Campidano area Traditionally this bread was used during festive periods and weddings. In many areas was used as a decoration when the women of the villages designed the bread in to flowers, artichokes and many other symbolic forms.
Alongside the more common forms of pasta you will find these specialities which originate in Sardinia Malloreddus: Tiny gnocchi They are made of semolina flour and water, sometimes saffron is added. They and take longer than most dried pastas to cook; 15 to 20 minutes is the norm.(also called maccarones cravaos or ciciones) .One of the traditional uses of this type of pasta is to serve it with asausage and tomato sauce that includes garlic, basil, a hint of saffron and grated pecorino. Malloreddus are a small, oblong, grooved Sardinian pasta reminiscent of gnocchi.
It is the most typical and elaborate Sardinian pasta shape,which are hand made. They are a type of ravioli with a filling of potatoes and pecorino cheese, and mint(fillings vary depending on the area) usually they are served in a tomato sauce.