Top 5 best traditional dishes that you should absolutely try in Sardinia.
If you have read the blog ‘An unusual introduction to Sardinia' you should have seen the longevity paragraph. As the secret of the long life expectancy may be hidden in the Sardinian Mediterranean diet I decided to write this post.
Considering that Sardinia is an island would you expect more fish dishes or meat dishes?
Let me guess, you replied fish!
Sorry, the answer is wrong; most of the traditional Sardinian dishes are meat-based.
So why is Sardinian cuisine more meat than fish
In the past, Sardinians had serious problems with pirates, who were a nightmare in the Mediterranean almost until the end of the Middle Ages. Consequently, life near the sea became too dangerous for small villages, which is why, gradually, the coasts began to lose population in favour of inland areas rich in wooded areas where people could hide and therefore considered safer. This is why pastoralism and animal farming became and still are fundamental activities in Sardinian culture.
Living in these areas, the Sardinians gradually specialised in cooking meat, while fish cooking remained more alive in the cities located near the sea such as Cagliari and Alghero, which built walls and fortresses to protect themselves from pirates.
Click below if you want to experience real Sardinian cuisine.
Here I present you the top 5 traditional Sardinian meat dishes.
Keep in mind that this list only mentions five main dishes. I will publish more articles to include other delicious recipes that characterise the Mediterranean diet in Sardinia.
A traditional Italian meal is divided into antipasto, first (usually a pasta dish), second (meat or fish), contorno (mainly vegetables), fruits, desserts and to digest coffee and liquor (Check the blog article; What Are The Traditional Drinks In Sardinia? Here The Most Popular Ones).
To make it easy in this article I will omit the antipasto and will introduce you to 2 pasta dishes, 2 meat dishes (Sa Petza in Sardinian), and 1 dessert (Su druci in Sardinian).
Culurgiones is a Sardinian first course that comes from the area of Ogliastra. It is a kind of homemade gnocchi filled with cream of potato seasoned with mint. It is normally served with fresh tomato sauce and basil or with butter and sage.
This dish is typical of the cuisine in Ogliastra and Barbagia. As I am from the southwest I only discovered this dish as an adult during a visit to the town of Tortolì in the east coast of Sardinia.
This is Sardinia's most famous pasta shape. The pasta is made from durum wheat flour and saffron and is shaped in its distinctive style in order to catch sauce and grated cheese within dishes. This traditional dish with this type of pasta is Malloreddus alla Campidanese: with sausage, tomato sauce, and Sardinia pecorino cheese.
It is so good that many years ago, when I was working in the hospitality industry, I found this dish on the menu of the restaurant of the resort where I worked in Kenya.
3. Suckling pig (Su Porcheddu in Sardinian)
This dish is probably the most famous dish in Sardinia. The suckling pig must weigh between 4 and 6 kilos maximum and is cooked whole over low heat in a bed of myrtle leaves. Once cooked it is served on a cork tray.
In ancient times, Su Porceddu was roasted underground. The origin of this cooking method is said to be due to the need of pig thieves to hide stolen loot and cook it in the meantime.
4. The braid (Sa Cordula in Sardinian)
Made with lamb entrails, this dish owes its name to the shape it takes with the entanglement of the intestines. The peculiarity of the Cordula is that its processing is very laborious, as lamb intestines, stomach, belly, and 'sa Nappa' (a kind of net) are used. Once the elaboration is finished, Sa Cordula represents a sort of braid with a symmetrical precision of the lateral knots that keep it together and compact.
This dish is for lovers of traditional dishes.
Sa Seada is made with pasta violada (a sort of shortcrust pastry), prepared with semolina and lard, filled with cheese flavoured with lemon and then fried. Usually, fresh pecorino cheese is also used. It is seasoned with warm honey or sugar.
Before eating it, I suggest you put orange blossom honey or mixed-flower honey on the hot Seada.
I suggest that you taste all the typical food (meat and fish) while on holiday in Sardinia
Let me know if you want the recipe of any of the above dishes
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