It is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily and before Cyprus. Geographically, it is located west of the Italian peninsula and immediately south of the French isle of Corsica. We are talking about Sardinia, globally one of the most famous Italian regions of all.
A place of opposites and strong traditions, the island preserves – season after season – its intact attraction: from the coastal locations, to the VIP tourism, to the uncontaminated mountain areas, every corner of this region is a pleasure for the eyes and soul. Not to mention the palate: Sardinia’s precious food and wine offer brings to the table products of excellence and authentic flavours derived from its agricultural and pastoral heritage. In this article you will find out that as well as having the most beautiful sea in the world, Sardinia is also a true island of taste!
Vineyards and winemaking in Sardinia
A large number of vines are grown in the different areas of the region – each with its own microclimate – and give life to local specificities boasting designations of origin. In fact, the island features 15 IGT (typical geographic indication) and 17 DOC (designation of origin) wines, as well as 1 DOCG (designation of controlled origin) wine.
Among the most renowned there are: the Cannonau,a full-bodied wine recognized as the most ancient wine of the Mediterranean Basin; the Vernaccia di Oristano, from another ancient vine, with references made to it already in the Phoenician-Punic era; and the Vermentino, a white wine made in Cagliari, Nuoro, Oristano, and Sassari.Other appreciated red grape varieties are: the Bovale, grown in Campidano, between Cagliari and Oristano; the Carignan, grown inthe Sulcis area, South Sardinia;theMonica, grown in theCagliari and Oristano areas; and the Nieddera, also grown in the Oristano area.
Cheeses are a symbol of the Sardinian pastoral culture: sheep, goat, cow, and mixed milk aged cheeses, along with fresh cheeses such as ricottaandcasu axedu(‘acid curd’).Sardinian sheep belong to a native breed with extremely ancient origins and a high milk production. The region’s 3 DOP sheep cheeses are fresh and aged Pecorino Sardo, Fiore Sardo, and Pecorino Romano, also produced in Lazio and Tuscany.
Other traditional products
The island’s food and wine tradition includes other delicacies and specialties for added delight at the table.A popular product is the Zafferano di Sardegna DOP (saffron of Sardinia), grown in the San Gavino Monreale, Turri, and Villanovafranca areas in particular (all in the province of South Sardinia). Among most appreciated fish products, there is the bottarga, deriving from mullet eggs and produced in Cabras (Oristano), Cagliari, Tortolì (Nuoro), Sant’Antioco (South Sardinia), and Terralba (Oristano). Beekeeping gives life to eucalyptus, asphodel, acacia, and orange blossom honey, and the more aromatic chestnut blossom and thyme honey. Finally, there is bread, an important presence at the Sardinian dinner table: there is the thin and crunchy sheet of bread named carasau – made especially in the Barbagia area (Nuoro) – and the Civraxu di Sanluri – produced in large loaves with a dark crust and a bodily inside.