There comes a day when we get hungry... And when you're in Cagliari, it's easy for all the foodies out there. Culinary delights are not hard to find anywhere in Italy, but Cagliari in particular is a place to be and eat. Sardinian cuisine is characterized by simplicity and top-notch ingredients. Yes, Sardinian cuisine is its pride and glory. Let's see why.
It may come as a surprise, but traditional Sardinian cuisine doesn't include as much seafood as you might expect. Sardinia's coastline was a victim of invasions for centuries, so people retreated to the mountains in search of shelter. Therefore, their food was more influenced by the land.
So don't be surprised if the main ingredient on a menu is a lamb or suckling pig. But don't be put off if you love seafood. A lot has changed these days and most dishes come with sumptuous offerings from the sea. Spaghetti with clams and fish eggs, a seafood soup and an octopus salad is now served regularly - don't worry. Let the journey through the cuisine of Cagliari begin now!
Special local food and dishes from Sardinia.
- Bottarga is a "truffle from the sea" or a "Mediterranean caviar". Often sprinkled over dishes, salted and cured fish roe of the mullet.
- Zuppa Gallurese - the name is confusing because it is not a soup. On the contrary, it is more like a lasagna. Zuppa Galluresse is basically baked bread with lots of cheese. Very simple!
- Seafood Fregola with saffron is a traditional Sardinian pasta. A big producer of saffron in Italy is none other than Sardinia. Saffron goes with almost any dish, but it goes especially well with this one. A rich sauce is made with fregola, olive oil, garlic, chilli thyme, clams, white wine, squid, cherry tomatoes, mussels, basil and saffron. Fregola is a must-try!
- Agnello con Carciofi is a lamb with artichokes - another Sardinian culinary delicacy served as a second course - fresh and delicious!
- Su Porcheddu or Suckling Pig is the most famous dish in Sardinia. The weight of the pig must not exceed 6 kg. The meat is fresh, full of flavour, less fatty than you would expect and is accompanied by a crispy rind. Delicious!
These were a few of the typical dishes from Sardinia. Now that you have an idea of the gourmet scene in Sardinia and are ready to fly to Cagliari, we need to say a few words about Italian cuisine so you don't make a complete fool of yourself.
First of all, keep in mind that restaurants are not open from 10 am to 11 pm - as some of us are used to. The opening hours are from 12 pm to 3 pm and from 7 pm to 11 pm.
Secondly, we need to take a look at the menu or the courses of the dinner:
Italian Dictionary - Menu (Liste Delle Vivande)
Antipasto - a small tasting plate of meats, seafood, cheeses or vegetables.
Primo - appetizer or a first course - usually a pasta
Secondo - entree or a main course - meat or fish with vegetables
Dolce - dessert (in Cagliari they like to serve cheese biscuits with honey for dessert)
Caffe - last but not least comes the coffee.
The best agriturismo in Cagliari
Sardinian cuisine is excellent. Enjoy it! For traditional Sardinian food, you need to visit traditional Sardinians - those who own a farm and grow their own produce. It's as simple as that! According to the locals, the best agriturismo you will find near Cagliari are these local farmers and chefs:
- Agriturismo la Sorgente: check out their menu/website
- Agriturismo Su Boschettu: Check out their website
- Agriturismo Montecresia: Check out their website
- Agriturismo Riu Sa Murta: Check out their website
A touch of Sardinia - Recipes from Cagliari
Here you will find a simple recipe for the best Seafood Fregola with saffron:
- Mix white vino with crushed saffron and set aside. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot.
- Add the saffron and the vino you mixed earlier.
- Then add the fregola, chopped tomato, 6 shrimp, fresh green chile, thyme and 2 cloves of crushed garlic.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add 1 kg of cockles and mussels.
- Cover the pot and steam for 2 minutes.
- Discard the mussels that have not opened, sprinkle with parsley and basil.