ITALIA

Gourmande

   Where food & wine meet culture and lifestyle

OUT OF ROUTE SARDINIA

Far from stereotypes, far from the chic & VIP borderlines, there’s a corner of Sardinia which is almost a secret place, where the Mediterranean brush, the wild and rough one, hides amazing landscapes, perfect beaches, hamlets and ancient civilization traces on the sea shore.

 

It’s the South West of the island, the one that still has a scent of myrtle and juniper, where nature is luxuriant, people are genuine and time slowly passes by. We are talking about both a blue and green Sardinia. In the Sulcis Iglesiente, particularly in the area between Sant’Antioco Island and the stretch of Sardinian coast touching Porto Pino, there’s a whole Sardinia land to rediscover: it’s an inch from the water, in the scrub.

It’s an hour flight from Rome or Milan and two hours twenty drive from Cagliari along a coast road which will surely open our eyes wide. Sant’Antioco is the island in the island, connected to Sardinia by an isthmus: it was a landing place for the first mariners of the Mediterranean Sea. Today it’s the destination of those who want to spend their holidays stealthily. It’s a low profile destination, still with a certain style. There are desert bays that have remained unchanged during the years, fishermen villages, good cuisine, arts and simple life. It has been protected from the winds of change and it’s keeping its own atmosphere intact except from one only luxury:  the understatement.

First stage, Calasetta,  an old fishermen’s hamlet, white and sheltered, made of little white houses, little squared streets, the Moorish cupola of the church and many beaches. The most beautiful ones can be visited in just one day, either by motorbike or by car. The parking places are wide and close to the beach, distances are short. Around these parts the northwest wind and the sirocco wind are blowing, but being Sant’Antioco an island offering easy-to-reach beaches and inlets on the opposite sides, one can choose what part to go to, in order to be always protected from the wind or from the waves, without missing any day at the seaside.

Cuisine is among the “must do’s” in Calasetta. It’s a mix of flavours, as a legacy of migrations and crossings, of fresh pasta with tomato and pesto or of cous cous and fish soup. And, of course, of tuna fish. It’s rigorously a menu from the sea the one of U Palacca’s (quietly frequented by various Italian VIPs). The owner, Donatello Maccioni, young and creative talent, has made a marine atmosphere out of that, in order to offer the best location to order trofie ai crostacei (shell fish trofie), Vermentino shrimps and orziadas, fried sea anemones.

At Dolci Sardi’s you can make provisions of delicacies, like papassinas (little gazed pastries with tiny coloured sugar balls on their surface) and typical products, whereas an excellent tuna fish can be found at E. Salis. Chef Achille Pinna is a master in cooking tuna: you can order it at the restaurant Da Achille (inside Hotel Moderno). A tuna fish slice in sesame crust with smoked aubergine cream is another excellent dish to taste.

Little less than an hour drive from Calasetta, you can find the Sardinian coast. In the close-up the white dunes embrace Porto Pino bay: kilometers of immaculate beaches with, on one side, the promontory, covered by a large spontaneous wide forest of Aleppo pine tree and white cliffs (up to 50 meters on the sea level) where the short scrub of juniper and Spanish grass grow. The dunes are on the left side and the last beach resort before the dunes, L’Oasi Azzurra (www.oasiazzurra.net), is the one where you shall stop.  The owner, Loris Bacchis, manages this place with a young and resourceful staff. Still eager for some good food? At Tratalias’s, an old hamlet that has been completely restructured, right near Santa Maria di Monserrato cathedral dated 1213, you can find the Locanda Monserrat Restaurant. In the veranda, opposite the cathedral, the laid tables host a candle light and the menu chosen by Maurizio Serra is a very special one. To begin with you can taste starters, like crudités of cauliflower and fish eggs or Mojama with figs and melon. Excellent ravioli of scallops with potato flakes and zucchini sauce, tomatoes and shrimps, and icing on the cake, ricotta cheese ravioli.

TRAVEL NOTES

ACCOMMODATION

Sa Ruscitta

 via Belvedere 72, loc. Cannai, Sant’Antioco

cell. 3287615002

Charming farmhouse with riding stables

 

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

U Palacca

via Marconi 51, Calasetta

tel. 0781.899086

40 €

Ristorante Da Achille

via Nazionale 82, Sant’Antioco

tel. 078183105

 albergoristorantemoderno.com

45 €

Locanda Monserrat

piazza centro storico Tratalias

tel. 0781697032.

locandamonserrat.it

40 €

 

PROVISIONS

E. Salis

Lungomare C. Colombo, Sant’Antioco

tel. 0781.82766

Dolci Sardi

via Cavour 1, Sant’Antioco

tel. 0781.840893

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