Sardegna is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicilia and before Cyprus). It is an autonomous region of Italy, with the nearest land masses being the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicilia, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.
Sardegna has a long history of reign change and occupation. From the Phoenicians c. 1000 BCE, to the Vandals to in 439 CE, to the Romans and Byzantines, Sardegna has had its share of invading hordes. The Kingdom of Sardegna remained Spanish for approximately 400 years, from 1323 to 1720, assimilating a number of Spanish traditions, customs and linguistic expressions. For instance, if you know small amounts of standard Italian, you will get by. It has been taught in the area for a few generations. In reaches of the north, the language is a Corsican dialect. In San Pietro, it is Ligurian. People around Alghero speak Catalan from the Spanish province of Catalunia.
Even today Sardegna cuisine is strictly linked to the seasons and their secret lies in the quality of the ingredients and the simplicity of their dishes. It offers visitors a triumph of unique flavors with each area boasting a vast selection of local specialties and all prepared according to ancient traditions and customs.
Sardegna cuisine is a celebration of natural products from the land and surrounding sea. The fine products provided by both the land and sea mean that the choice of delicious main courses is particularly rich. Among the many celebrated meat dishes, the most well-known is unquestionably “porceddu,” suckling pig cooked on a spit or “a carraxiu,” in a hole dug in the ground, using the aromatic wood of the Mediterranean scrub land. Also popular is rabbit “a succhittu,” served in a sauce made from the rabbit’s liver, wine, capers and tomatoes and wild boar in Cannonau wine, and quail wrapped in myrtle leaves.
Sardegna bread is made dry, which keeps longer than high-moisture breads. Sardegna’s best known bread is aptly named “Pane carasau” or carta di musica (music paper), a dry, light, hearty and extremely thinly sliced shepherd’s bread. When shepherds combine this delicacy with tomato sauce and egg, it becomes pane frattau. Sardegnans even have their own version of gnocchi called Malloreddus made from semolina rather than potato.