With Mother Italy renowned worldwide for its culinary culture, daughter Sardinia is not far off. Of course, many Sardinians would rather not have Italy as a mother. Conquests of the island date back thousands of years and possession of it has switched innumerable times, from the Phoenicians to the Vandals and the Romans to the Austrians. It has been a part of what is now Italy since the mid-1800s.
Like its neighbor to the north, Corsica, Sardinia has witnessed a growing independence movement since the 1970s fueled by the formation of militant groups that committed nefarious acts for a few decades. One distinction between the two Mediterranean islands is that the Sardinian language of Sardu remains the predominant language on the island whereas the Corsican language is officially endangered by UNESCO.
With the local tongue intact, locals can speak proudly of their island’s culinary and alcoholic heritage which includes a number of exquisite cheeses to accompany the island’s strong wines and liqueurs.
Known in Sardinia as licore de murta, this island staple takes its flavor from the common plant, myrtle, which produces berries. Mirto comes in red and white varieties with the red originating by macerating the myrtle plant’s berries in alcohol and the white coming from the rarer yellow berries and plant leaves. The liqueur is often made at home by Sardinians and is drank at any occasion.
FILU ‘E FERRU
The literal translation of this aguardiente, “iron wire”, refers to the indication with which the producers marked their hidden stocks of the spirit. It is made with the pomace of the Vernaccia grape and most consumed in the region of Oristano. Filu ‘e ferru in Italy is considered a type of grappa.
Although not originally from Sardinia, the Southern Italian favourite has migrated to the island and perfectly complements the island’s sunny weather.
Sardinia boasts Italy’s highest consumption of beer with the average person downing an annual 60 litres. Ichnusa is a popular local brand. It appears that Sardinia’s love affair with the refreshing brew dates back several thousand years as archaeologists have discovered jars filled with hops. Strange then that Corsica is not known for its beer although Pietra, a beer made with chestnut flour, has taken significant strides to becoming a serious contender.