Today I am talking about what to eat in Sardinia. Sardinian food is regionally specific and there are several foods that you can only find in Sardinia.
After several trips to Italy, I’ve learned how different the food in each region can be. Piedmont is home to tarajin, plin, vitello tonnato, and brasato al barolo. You’ll find ribollita, pici, and bistecca alla fiorentina in Tuscany.
The island of Sardinia is filled with foods for you to discover. Many of the foods include the island’s most famous cheese: Pecorino Romano. Even the cuisine within Sardinia varies. In the mountains, they eat more meat than seafood. On the coast, seafood is king.
What to Eat in Sardinia:
I spent two weeks in Sardinia and I loved trying Sardinian foods, here are some of my favorites.
Did you know that 96% of this cheese is produced in Sardinia? It’s easy to assume that the cheese is made in Rome, but the name actually refers to the Roman Empire, not the city of Rome. This sheep’s milk cheese has been produced in Sardinia for over 2000 years. Sheep graze out in fields on the island and they eat wild herbs which give the cheese extra flavor.
The cheese is known for its tangy, salty, and sharp flavor and you will see it served with salami as a starter, grated over salad, pasta, and steak, and in seadas.
There are many wines produced on the island, but Cannonau (the local name for Grenache) is one of the most popular. I especially loved the local rosé which has a deep pink color.
Dried sausage is a staple in Sardinia, and it’s often eaten at the start of a meal along with cheese and pane carasau.
Lardo is thin slices of lard that have been cured with herbs and spices. I had it served on charcuterie boards along with dried sausage, salami, and cheese.
This is very thin crispy flatbread. It’s thinner than your average cracker and is on the table at every restaurant. It’s large (similar in size to a medium pizza) and round but often is served broken into big pieces.
Do you know what’s better than cheese? Cheese that is stuffed inside pastry dough, deep fried, and topped with honey and sugar. This is one of the best ways to enjoy Pecorino Romano.
Octopus is very popular in Sardinia. Often it is served cold in an octopus salad and it might be paired with vegetables like eggplant.
We ate roasted lamb several times in Sardinia. It’s a very popular food in Sardinia, especially in the middle of the island where sheep are raised for the production of Pecorino Romano.
Porcheddu is suckling pig that is spit-roasted over a fire, and it’s incredible. I got to try it when we went to have a traditional farmer’s lunch.
Simply prepared steaks are very popular especially in the mountainous part of the island. My favorite steak came on a bed of arugula and topped with some coarsely grated Pecorino Romano.
Sardinian Pasta to Try:
Culurgiones are pasta dumplings filled with potato and cheese. Traditionally they are served with a butter and sage sauce, although tomato and basil sauce is also common. This is one of my favorite Sardinian foods, and according to a local, it’s rarely found in mainland Italy.
Malloreddus is the Sardinian name for gnocchetti, which is pasta shaped like gnocchi. I ate this several times throughout my stay in Sardinia and it often came in a tomato sauce with some sausage and Pecorino Romano.
Maccarones de Busa
I am fascinated by regional pasta shapes, and I had never seen Maccarones de Busa before. It’s a long tubular pasta shape that is hand-rolled. It is somewhat like extra long casarecce.
Fregola is another regional pasta shape. It is made out of small balls of semolina dough, and at first glance, it looks like couscous. Seafood fregola is a very traditional Sardinian dish that is made with fregola and local seafood like mussels, clams, or prawns.
Squid Ink Gnocchi with Clams
This dish combined three typical elements of Sardinian cuisine, the use of squid ink, homemade potato gnocchi, and seafood.
Cacio e Pepe
Cacio e pepe is one of the most classic Italian pasta dishes and it is made with Pecorino Romano in Sardinia. It looks easy to make, but it takes time and talent to master it. Cacio e pepe is spaghetti in a simple cheese and black pepper sauce. It’s one of my favorites.
My trip to Sardinia was sponsored by Uncommon Flavors of Europe. The opinions expressed are my own.