Located west of the Italian mainland and north of Sicily, Sardinia is the 2nd largest island in Italy and a unique place. Its pristine and largely untouched terrain includes mountains, woods, plains, stretches of uninhabited territory, streams, rocky coasts, and long sandy beaches making it a special place for raising sheep and of course Locatelli Pecorino cheesemaking.
As with the rest of Italy, the cuisine of Sardinia is hyper-regional; so classic dishes can vary widely from other Italian regional dishes you may have tried!
Traditional Sardinian cuisine has the taste of the island itself, with fish from the sea, herbs from the mountains, cheeses from the sheep, and fruit and vegetables ripened in the warm Mediterranean sunshine. Seafood and wild game are featured in hearty meals paired of course with local bread and wines! Here are some iconic dishes to give you a Taste of Sardinia:
- Suckling Pig often referred to as “Su Porceddu” is an iconic dish of Sardinia -a 40 day old pig is wrapped in myrtle leaves and slow roasted over a pit to be served at celebrations.
- Fregola, which means breadcrumbs, is a typical Sardinian pastamade of semolina and rolled into small balls. It’s used in a multitude of dishes, most commonly in a saffron broth with a mix of local seafood such as clams and prawns. Fun Fact! Sardinia is actually a major saffron producer in Italy and is often referred to as “red gold“ due to the time and cost to harvest this specialty item.
- Sardinian Sausage; also known as “Salsiccia Fresca” or S’Artizzugets i’s unique flavor from aniseed or fennel seed.
- Culurgiones is a primi piatti (first plate) that originated in Ogliastra, the wildest part of Sardinia. Picture the love child of a ravioli and a pierogis – this home made stuffed dumpling is filled with creamed potato and served either with a tomato or brown butter sage sauce.
- Spaghetti with Sea Urchin. While you may see versions of this dish in Spain or Sea Urchin on Japanese sushi menus nothing compares to fresh caught Sea Urchin from the coast of Sardinia.
- Malloreddus, also known as “Gnocchettii Sardi” (or Sardinian Gnocchi) its typically served with a long-simmered meaty ragu. As with many pastas it gets its unusual name from slang in this case the Sardinian dialect for baby calves! Shepherds hundreds of years ago thought the hand made gnocchi looked like baby cows.
- Octopus Salad is an iconic antipasto throughout Sardinia. It features locally caught octopus which is smaller and more tender served salad-style with potatoes, celery and a lemony olive oil dressing with garlic and parsley.
- Catalan Lobster Salad originated in Alghero, a Catalan town in the north-west of Sardinia featuring lobsters freshly caught off the coast. It’s served as a salad with fresh tomatoes and onion and pairs perfectly with a chilled of chilled, white Vermentino di Sardegna
- Zuppa Gallurese is a typical dish of Gallura, the northern region of Sardinia. While the word “zuppa” means soup it actually refers to the broth used to make it. This layered casserole of bread, pecorino cheese, and lamb is much more similar to a hearty lasagna.
- Braised Lamb with Artichokes is a traditional hearty main dish that’s iconically served for Easter using local lamb meat and freshly grown artichokes.
- Bottarga is one of the most famous delicacies of Sardinia originally coming from Cabras, a small town on the western coast of the island. Deeply flavorful dried mullet roe is often grated and used to dress pastas such asspaghetti or linguine.
- Seadas are a dessert made of fried stuffed pastry filled with lemony cheese, usually a young Pecorino. They’re often served drizzled with honey for a special treat.
- Locatelli Pecorino Cheeses – last but certainly not least, Sardinia is of course famous for its Locatelli cheeses made from the milk of Sardinian bred, pasture raised, grass-fed sheep for a unique tang and sense of terroir. Since the sheep primarily eat only the tender, sweet top blade grass; Locatelli cheeses are rich, buttery, and deliciously nutty.