Wild boar, lean lamb, suckling pork, eggplants, artichokes, tomatoes, lobsters, sea urchins, octopus, clams, mussels, and squid abound.
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Technically considered a Mediterranean island, Sardinia’s eastern coast tickles the Tyrrhenian Sea (farther to the east of which are the shores of mainland Italy).
While unquestionably an Italian region, Sardinia’s closest neighbor is actually the French island of Corsica to its north.
On Sardinia’s southern coast, however, the shores of Algeria and Tunisia are closer even than Sardinia’s sister island region, Sicily.
Add to this nexus of unusual geography the island’s long history of passing under the rule of the Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs and Spanish (just to name a few), and it is nothing less than remarkable that the Sardinians have been able to retain a quiet but fierce individuality.
They are one of only two groups of Italian peoples recognized as poplo (or “distinct people”), carefully preserving even their own language – Sardinian – elements of which pre-date the Latin roots it shares with universal Italian.
Divided into the eight provinces of Carbonia-Iglesias, Cagliari, Medio Campidano, Ogliastra, Oristano, Nuoro, Sassari and Olbia Tempio, Sardinia is relatively large in comparison to most of the mainland regions.Each province is host to native cooking traditions informed by a complex confluence of deep Italian heritage and transient but powerful foreign influences.Factor in the exceptionally fertile farmlands, mountainous forests and the fine necklace of rich coastline, and Sardinia emerges as an island that might well be described as a rustic cook’s paradise. Mainland Italians call it carta da musica, but this is its real name.Made from stone-ground local wheat, it is baked in brick ovens where it blows up into a perfect hollow sphere.The women remove the globe, slice it in half and place the resulting flat discs of bread on paper to dry.