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Add Sardinian Food To Your Diet

Mar 18, 2008
Sardinia, the island that lies farthest from the Italian mainland, is an isolated place. Surrounded by emerald green sea, blessed with majestic mountains and fertile plains, criss-crossed by cool mountain streams and clear rivers, this region, which is still relatively unblighted by tourism, must seem like paradise to the visitor.

Sardinians do indeed maintain that God was especially generous when creating their island, providing fishermen and farmers, shepherds and seafarers, all with a place where they could live happily and in harmony with each other. Sardinia is far from being an Elysian island, however. Its strategically favourable position has throughout history attracted invaders not just from the Mediterranean region but from even farther afield.

Attacked by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, occupied by the Romans, overrun by the Arabs, a bone of contention between Pisa, Genoa, the popes, Aragon, Austria, and Savoy, the Sardinians had good reason for coining the saying that "all evil comes from across the sea." Even if the comment is nowadays accompanied by a wink, external influences are still regarded with some suspicion.

The same attitude applies to unfamiliar faces, but once these islanders are satisfied that the visitor has come, not out of some sinister ulterior motive, but simply to visit and enjoy their captivating island, their legendary hospitality knows no bounds.

However, as stated earlier, there was every reason in times gone by to avoid the proximity of the sea and to withdraw to the safe, mountainous regions of the hinterland which were almost impassable to strangers to the island. As a result, fish and seafood do not traditionally figure in Sardinian cuisine and came into the picture much later. The true original culinary specialties of the island are unmistakably biased toward traditional country dishes.

Sucking pig and wild boar roasted on the spit, rustic stews with wild vegetables and hearty beans, carta da musica, the dry bread which keeps fresh for long periods, a distinct fondness for fresh herbs such as myrtle and mint, these are all traditional elements of a cuisine which dates back a thousand years and has remained unchanged throughout history in country villages.

Sardinian food is all you would expect from an insular island that has been ruled by many nations over the years, for instance the cakes and cookies that are a Sardinian speciality as well being sweet also have a mixed spice flavour to them, a hang-over from a ruling nation long gone. Sardinian food is very big on fresh produce, being an island Sardinia has always had to provide for herself as importing food has always been much more costly. In Sardinian food you will invariably find fresh tomatoes in some form or another.

Sardinian farms grow many different fruit and vegetable crops. Tomatoes, oranges, figs, apples, apricots, grapes and courgettes are all popular Sardinian foods that are grown plentifully on the island. The Sardinian climate is perfect for growing fruit and vegetable crops, many days of sunshine with a sea breeze blowing in at night cooling the land.

As you would expect with an island culture fish features very highly on most menus. Visit any home or restaurant and invariably you will find one type of freshly caught sea food or another on the table or menu. Sardinian fishermen are very proud people and only the best fish or seafood will do, like wise Sardinian people have been brought up on fish dishes and Sardinian food offers some of the best fish dishes in the World.

Sardinian food is strongly based on heritage and tradition, if you lived by the sea you became a fisherman, if you lived in land there was a fair chance that you would be a shepherd. Lamb and mutton feature in many traditional Sardinian food dishes. Mutton stewed for five hours with potatoes and onions is a local delicacy in many villages. Pecorino cheese, made from sheep milk is a Sardinian favourite, so good is it that Pecorino Sardo is now exported to many countries in the world.

Sardinian food is famous also for its sausage and salami, both world renowned and extremely tasty as an antipasto starter or added to a pasta dish. Sardinian food has so much to offer and is more readily available than you might have guessed. If you want to make a glorious addition to your culinary repertoire why not look into adding Sardinian food stuffs to your menu.
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