“Sardinia, almost a continent’, particularly when it comes to food and wine. This is because each area has its own interpretation of traditional dishes, borrowing from various different traditional or contemporary ‘styles’.
Meat dishes owe their origins to the culture of Sardinia’s rural stazzi: traditional Galluran farmhouses built out of granite with an unusual elongated shape. Here, food was usually produced on the farm itself thanks to semi-free-range cattle rearing, with cows producing milk for yoghurt (brocciu), ricotta and cheese (panedda or buttoni). Ricotta is used to make sweet ravioli flavoured with lemon rind (pulicioni) dressed in a tomato sauce. The sweet and salty taste of this first course is typically found at festivals and celebrations.
Beef broth and fresh cow’s milk cheese are the basic ingredients of Gallura’s traditional soup (suppacuata) along with slices of stale bread and tomato sauce. Every family prepares its own version of suppa by adding some extra ingredient, such as chicken, mutton, herbs and spices or different types of bread: from durum wheat bread buns to spianata flat bread. Each place has its own different zuppa gallurese but you’ll find them all delicious. Course-ground flour is used to make handmade thick, flavourful gnocchi (chiusoni), served with pork or wild boar ragout sauce and dusted with plenty of mature cheese.
Traditionally, peasants ate chiusoni on 1st August, served with a hare ragout or a sauce made with other wild game. Fresh cream is added to course-ground floor to make mazza frissa, a pasta sauce that can be eaten at room temperature with fresh broad beans. It becomes a traditional dessert if you add honey or sugar. Local meat, particularly beef, is red and flavourful and should be eaten grilled or stewed with potatoes and vegetables. On feast days, dining tables in Gallura always feature roast or stewed kid goat and lamb, served with wild fennel and olives.
Pork is a staple of Galluran cuisine. As well as pork chops, ribs and roast bacon, this meat is used to make fresh sausage that is usually flame-grilled, or to make pulpeddi: chopped sausage meat seasoned and used as a base for tasty sauces.
In the past, sausages and cured meats constituted the year’s annual provision of meat. Dry sausage, guanciale cured pork fat and pepper-seasoned pancetta bacon are all delicious.
Fish dishes vary from fish soups (zimino) to roast dolphinfish or sea bream. Local tuna and swordfish must be tried, cooked or in a refreshing tartare. Lobster and European spider crab (capramarina) are ingredients used to prepare sophisticated pasta dishes, while mussels and clams are found in every restaurant. Local oysters sourced from small fish farms should be tried, preferably raw, as they are particularly delicious.
Local sweets are simple and authentic, baked for special occasions and festivals: acciuleddhi are small pasta violata (dough made with lard) braids, fried and sweetened with honey; casgjulati, more commonly known as seadas, filled with fresh cow’s milk cheese as opposed to sheep’s milk cheese, are fried and sweetened with arbutus or mille fleur honey; papassini are biscuits made with raisins and a sugar glaze; canestre are sweets made with lard and bread starter, or matrìca, that taste of aniseed; and crema gallurese is a pudding consisting of egg white meringues placed on an egg custard.
The traditional local wine is Vermentino di Gallura, a white wine that proudly sits on both local and international tables. It is also Sardinia’s only DOCG-certified wine, whose grapes are grown on rich, sun-drenched granite soil, and whose unforgettable aromatic taste reminds us of its land of origin. It is best drunk cold as an aperitivo or during meals featuring fresh soft cheeses, fish and almond-based desserts.
All restaurants and establishments serving food in Santa Teresa Gallura can recommend the best way of trying these dishes.