Christmas is one of the most beautiful celebrations. It’s that point in the year when families gather at a table brimming with food and tell each other their news, laugh and enjoy spending time together.
In Sardinia, there are no dishes that are specifically for Christmas. However, traditionally some of the island’s typical specialities are prepared on festive occasions or for a special event. Let’s have a look at what can usually be found on the tables of Sardinian families at Christmas.
Culurgiones or culurgionis are a type of ravioli. The dish originated in Ogliastra and there are several variations of it. The classic culurgiones are made with fresh pasta stuffed with potatoes, cheese, lard or olive oil, and mint. They are usually covered with tomato sauce but this can vary too. They can also be baked or fried and unseasoned. What makes them special is the “spighita” closure – the ear of corn – achieved by pinching the two edges of the pasta disc until they are completely sealed, like a precious embroidery, giving this type of pasta its unique shape. This product has been marked as PGI, Protected Geographical Indication, thanks to its designated origin.
Malloreddus are often called Sardinian gnocchi because they are a type of typical Sardinian pasta that is not commonly found in other regions of Italy. They originated in the Medio Campidano area. They are shaped like small striped sea shells and are made with semolina flour and water. The pasta and the seasoning are what make this dish unique. The malloreddus are served with a ragu made of a tomato sauce with pieces of Sardinian sausage. The meat is cooked with oil and small pieces of onion. Tomato sauce is then added and it is served with grated Sardinian Pecorino cheese.
Porceddu is a dish that has won over the whole of Italy and tourists alike, making it the most famous dish in Sardinia. It may be called different names depending on which area of Sardinia you visit but it is prepared in the same way. It is not just any pig that is used, but a pig that has only been fed milk. Preparing porceddu is a sacred act. It is rigorously prepared and cooked on a spit in a wood oven. The final result largely depends on the skill of the person cooking it, as the outside must be crisp and the inside tender.
There are many Sardinian desserts. In addition to the classic pandoro or panettone, you will often find papassinas on the table.
These are typical Sardinian pastries that are prepared mainly in November, on the Day of the Dead, and at Christmas. They are very simple to make. They are made with walnuts, raisins and wine, covered with icing and decorated. There are several versions that differ according to the area. Cinnamon and vanilla are used in the south of Sardinia, while in the north they use orange and lemon.
Just like all regions of Italy, Sardinia boasts a great variety of dishes; we have only covered the most typical and famous dishes here. One thing’s for sure: in addition to the sea and the beaches, another great reason to come to Sardinia is the food.