The cuisine of Logudoro Goceano is characterised by its simplicity and authenticity, a far cry from sophistication and excess and, for the care taken to protect the most ancient traditions, it can certainly be called tasty and full of flavour.
Each recipe tells of the processes often handed down only orally, respectful of the environment so that everything is connected with the rhythms of the seasons, with the patient expectation that what has been created can transform itself strictly according to the canons dictated by nature. During the seasoning stage, the air of these places is the real protagonist, so that above all the cold cuts and cheese can be imbued with the marine fragrances and Mediterranean essences brought by the north-west wind, defining that by now typical complexity of aromas and fragrances.
The authenticity of the foods is, therefore, the result of the culture and the environment.
The producers of bread and desserts, cheeses, sausages, wine, oil and meats are now plentiful.
Catering, hotels, holiday farms and bed & breakfasts relate, in increasing measure, to these traditions.
Alongside the “official” producers, each town has its own local production, which is enhanced in its encounter with humans, in the sociality of feasts and festivals that permit the acquaintance of the people and local products.
In the panorama of characteristic food products of Logudoro Goceano cheese is the predominating item by far: each form tells of a dairy art which has matured and is universally recognised and appreciated. The dairy products of Thiesi, Ittiri, Villanova, Pozzomaggiore, Bonorva and Anela emerge with standards of excellence to draw the attention of the consumer.
But the casket of Logudoro Goceano conceals hidden treasures still to be explored: the sheep and ricotta cheese of Osilo for example, which together with the sheep cheese of Nule share the distinctive features of raw processing of the milk.
Discerning palates must taste the fresa cheese, which is usually flat-shaped and best eaten in autumn.
Together with the flocks of sheep, the pastures of Logudoro Goceano are often home to wild pigs whose tender meat is perfect for a variety of recipes.
The sausage is the queen of the cold cuts: simple with salt and pepper or aromatised with good wine or fennel seeds, it is prepared with cured pig’s jowl and bacon.
The vines offer the most refined palates a number of excellent wines. Methods of evolved wine making are applied in the ancient darkness of picturesque wine-cellars; here the reds, cannonau and cagnulari, are matured and aged, full-bodied and beefy; the white vermentino is fruitier and delicate, while the pronounced bouquet of the arvesiniadu is perfect served with local desserts.
As a digestif, the myrtle liquor is the king of local liquors and symbol par excellence of the hospitality of these parts.
An essential element, which embodies the concept of the Mediterranean diet in full, is the extra virgin olive oil of this land that boasts noble qualities for health. Ittiri is the territorial capital of this oil with a very low acid content but the entire area retains excellent production capacities.
More than any other component in this glimpse of north-western Sardinia it is the bread that graces both sumptuously laid tables and frugal meals: throughout the ages for the Sardinians it has been a messenger of pure authenticity enclosing within its simple forms the authentic nature of the people. In many homes, the almost sacred and all-female custom of producing it in wood ovens continues: here then is the carasau, first swollen and then served in crispy almost transparent sheets. The “guttiau” version, with olives and sea salt, speaks of shepherds who embark on “transhumance” and endure long seasons away from home. The “su Zichi” of Bonorva, much thinner than the carasau, is also available in two versions: a hard one for cooking, to obtain an infinite variety of first courses, and a soft type, to eat as bread.
Thanks to the large stretches of Mediterranean essences Logudoro Goceano can boast a honey of supreme quality: those of the asphodel, thistle and orange are distinctive, while that of the strawberry tree carries unmistakable bitter notes.
On tables the imagination of flavours and colours is enhanced in the gourmand confectionery specialities: together with the seadas, the unequalled skill of the women creates tiriccas, papassinos, copulettas, casadinas and muntogadas. Their nit-picking, in addition to the choice of the best ingredients, reaches considerable artistic levels in the special shapes made for the most heart- felt religious feasts such as Easter and All Saints or during the great Carnival events.
The preparation of special first courses like the ravioli (stuffed with cheese or ricotta) or special well-wishing bread like the pan’e iscadda (for marriages) is also reserved for feasts and the most important festivals.