Not Only Beaches: Tiscali

Tiscali

The Hidden Village

 

We are in the Supramonte area(see post), in the territory of Oliena. Starting from “Su Gologone“, a dirt road leads us into the beautiful and picturesque Lanaittu valley, where were found the first evidence of human presence in Sardinia. The area is rich in caves like those of “Sa Oche(voice) and Su Bentu(wind)” that perhaps deserve more than the others to be visited, whose name is due to the intense noise produced by the strong airflow created by the movement of the inside water. From there, along a path full of vegetation with olive trees, junipers and maples, we arrive at the nuragic village of “Sa Sedda and Sos Carros“, that consists of several huts grouped around a courtyard. Going forward, after a series of steep switchbacks finally we arrive at the “Mount Tiscali“. It is a limestone cliff, a sinkhole, in which is the village of the same name built in a tectonic collapse(the vault collapsed 35-40,000 years ago), whose evocative remains, dating back to the nuragic era(it’s difficult to attribute a date), are arranged to form two groups of about 70 huts(in total). Some are rectangular and used as warehouses for supplies and shelter for animals, others are circular. The walls are made of a mixture of lime and mud and the upper cover was made of plant material, trunks and branches. The entrance to the village is allowed by paying a ticket which includes the support of a tour guide.
For several reasons such as the fragility of the huts and the difficulty of water supply, and since  it was difficult to cultivate the soil of these mountains and to breed animals, it is believed that the village has not been used continuously, and precisely for these reasons the archaeological site of Tiscali is still a mystery.
Not to be missed !!

 GPS coordinates Tiscali: 40.2445656, 9.4818361

wine,olive oil,cannonau,vermentino,moscato,malvasia,cagnulari,carignano,nuragus

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Buckwheat Cake with Pears

Cake with Pears

Buckwheat, Pears and Brown Sugar

 

Today we have a recipe, not very difficult, for the preparation of a really delicious cake also suitable for celiac people. As you may have guessed from the title, is made with pears, a very digestible fruit, which has a diuretic, laxative and refreshing activity. So let’s start!

Ingredients:

  • 100g of buckwheat flour
  • 100g rice flour
  • 3 pears (we used pears “Abate Fetel” firm and very juicy, sweet and aromatic)
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 90g of butter
  • 1 egg

Method:

In a bowl, mix the flour with 50g of softened butter, 50g of brown sugar, the egg and some water (enough to mix everything). Let it rest for about 30 minutes in the fridge. Meanwhile, peel the pears, cut into slices and, in the pan, melt the remaining butter with the brown sugar. When it starts to caramelize add the sliced pears and continue for 5 minutes before removing from heat. After 30 min, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to form a disc sufficient to coat a cake pan 28 cm in diameter. Then place the caramelized pears to form an uniform layer. Bake at 180 ° C for about 30 min.

Also good if served warm, perhaps with a glass of wine as elegant and aromatic as Malvasia di Bosa(see post), which has intense and refined scented notes of ripe fruit, honey and toasted almonds, and a long-lasting  and velvety taste.

Enjoy it!

vino,olio di oliva,cannonau,vermentino,moscato,malvasia,cagnulari,carignano,nuragus

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“Pane Frattau” – Sardinia style lasagna

A meat pie: “Sa Panada”

Fregula: A Sardinian Couscous

Wines of Sardinia: The Semidano

Not Only Beaches: The Church of Saint Antioco of Bisarcio

St. Antioco of Bisarcio

“Dioecesis Bisarchiensis”

 

The Basilica of St. Antioco of Bisarcio is located on a hill, along the SS 597 from Oschiri to Ploaghe. It was a cathedral until the year 1503 and then a bishopric. The construction work began in 1080 in the Romanesque-Pisan style, and were suspended several times. Workers that took part in the construction were from Pisa, Lombardy and Middle East, but the construction was completed until between 1170 and 1190 by French Burgundy carpenters, who worked on behalf of St. Bernard of Chiaravalle and the Cistercian monks. The church is entirely built  with red-brown trachyte. Some parts of the exterior walls, such as the section between the bell tower and the apse, date back to the original construction of the year 1000. It has three naves, with trussed ceiling; the central nave has a semi-circular apse, while the aisles have cross vaults. The three naves are separated by two rows of five columns each, plus a pillar. What we see today is the result of the reconstruction made by the Aragonese in the sixteenth century, when, after the collapse of the left side, it was rebuilt in an asymmetrical way. Among other things, two curiosities: the facade built at the end of the work, was placed against the old Romanesque façade, and the upper part of the tower which is positioned at the end of the right flank, was destroyed by a lightning, and of the majestic square bell tower remains only the lower part.

In our journey through Sardinia, after talking about the Church of Saccargia (see post), we could not forget the many other churches that are part of the cultural heritage and history of this island. In particular, we will talk about Romanesque architecture, which here has had a remarkable development from the earliest origins. In the island in fact, we can find examples of Romanesque style by unprecedented results and with numerous forms, due to the settlement of many religious orders from various Italian regions and from France during the era of Sardinian Giudicati(districts, literally: judgeships). In consequence of that, in the churches of the time, we can recognize the influence of Pisa, Lombardy and Provence in addition to traces of the passage of workers of Arab culture, arrived in Sardinia during the Spanish dominizione. In the Early Middle Ages Sardinia was divided into four kingdoms or Giudicati, ruled by a king or judge, who was the local representative of the Byzantine Emperor, but due to the decline of empire, the island fell out of the sphere of its influence, became independent and the territory was divided into four kingdoms, Cagliari, Arborea, Torres and Gallura, in turn divided into curatorie (main administrative, electoral, fiscal and judicial divisions of Sardinian Giudicati).
Also the territory of the Church was divided and the vast dioceses of the Byzantine era were divided into new ecclesiastical districts: archdiocese and diocese ruled by archbishops and bishops, which ruled the parishes. It was in this context that the judges, through donations, gave stimulus to the revival of culture under the protection of the Holy See, facilitating the arrival in the island of Benedictine monks from various parts of Italy (from Monte Cassino, St. Victor of Marseilles, Camaldoli, Vallombrosa, Citeaux), who here built their monasteries. The increasingly stable and rooted presence of the Republics of Pisa and Genoa often interfered in the political and determined the end of three Giudicati(Cagliari, Torres and Gallura, which after the year 1250 fell into the hands of the lords of Pisa and Genoa) and contributed to the circulation of new artistic currents in the island that left the most important traces in the architectural activity, especially ecclesiastical. Clearly this is only a brief reference to the history of the Sardinian Giudicati, without pretending to be anything more. Our intention is to stimulate your interest in the hope that you will join us on our journey to discover the wonders, whether they are culinary wonders, cultural, scenic and natural wonders of this incredible land, yet to be discovered.
GPS Coordinates: 40.64464, 8.892504

vino,olio di oliva,cannonau,vermentino,moscato,malvasia,cagnulari,carignano,nuragus

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Figarolo Island

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Not Only Beaches: The Giara of Gesturi

Giara of Gesturi

The Wild Horses

 

The Giara of Gesturi is a great plateau of volcanic origin with a surface of 45 square chilometers, similar in shape to the Mexican “mesas“, impressive natural fortresses that rise up from the valley below with their steep walls. Rich in temporary ponds full of water and water lilies in the spring, autumn and winter, it consists of an immense basalt lava flow, erupted over 20 million years ago, from the craters of volcanoes, now extinct, of Zeppara Manna(580m) and Zepparedda (609m), which with their elevations interrupt its plain surface.

In the park there are lush forests of cork oaks, oaks, olive trees and typical plants  of the Mediterranean scrub, an unspoilt landscape of rare beauty and wilderness inhabited by rare animals. In fact here, among others, lives the only italian and european herd of wild horses, called “Horses of the Giara“. Their origin is mysterious, according to a theory they are the descendants of the first breed of horse imported to the island by the Phoenicians more than 2,800 years ago. They are known for their low height, wither height of only 120 cm, have a thick  and satin coat; they are sturdy and quiet and since ancient times they lived in the wild in the Giara. Today they are a symbol of Sardinia. In the park also live wild boars, wolves, woodcock and many other protected animals, which find their natural habitat in this beautiful environment.

In the vicinity is also possible to find important archaeological monuments such as the “protonuraghe” Bruncu Madugui and the famous nuraghe of Barumini (see post), UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Giara GPS Coordinates: 39.73597, 8.999218

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Not Only Beaches: Tharros

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Trip to the beach of Piscinas

Not Only Beaches: Tharros

Tharros

4000 Years of History

 

Tharros is an archaeological site in the south of the Sinis Peninsula(see post), situated on Cape San Marco near Cabras(Oristano). Incredibly suggestive because it is part of a natural setting of extraordinary beauty, a sort of natural amphitheater overlooking the sea. It is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Mediterranean, a Punic-Roman city founded by the Phoenicians in the eighth century B.C. (although more recent studies suggest the presence of a nuragic settlement  since the Bronze Age), from where you can enjoy a splendid view of the Gulf of Oristano. The road leading to the archaeological site climbs the hill of Su Muru Mannu, then goes inside Tharros and continues to the seashore. Along the way, first you’ll find evidence of two necropolis and a Tophet, the typical Phoenician-Punic sanctuary, then ruins of the Roman rule, like the thermal baths, a reservoir of the aqueduct of the city, the foundations of the temple and finally the ancient Roman paved road that was  the main city street with the sewerage channel still in excellent condition. Basically we are in a open-air museum, where excavations continue bringing to light the history of this town. Pratically all we see dates back to the Roman period or to early Christianity, while most of the artifacts recovered is scattered among the museums of Cagliari, Cabras, Oristano and even the British Museum in London.

 Tharros was inhabited until the mid-eleventh century. A.D. when, considered at risk of attacks by the Saracens, was abandoned to move to Aristiane, the current Oristano. Also in Tharros area, right next to the ruins, there are beautiful beaches, such as San Giovanni of Sinis, famous for its typical fishermen’s huts made of wooden cane, nordic style rather than the Mediterranean, and here between the dunes and cliffs, there’s also the  Spanish coastal tower of San Giovanni of Sinis. The beach is well equipped  and the sea bottoms are perfect sceneries for those who practice snorkeling or diving.

GPS coordinates of Tharros: 39.873438, 8.441019

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Beaches of Sardinia: Capo Testa

Capo Testa

Santa Teresa di Gallura

 

Capo Testa is a small peninsula overlooking the Strait of Bonifacio, located in Northern Sardinia, 5 km far from Santa Teresa di Gallura and connected to the mainland by a sandy isthmus formed by the beaches of Rena di Ponente and Rena di Levante. It offers a variety of beaches with waters crystal clear and shallow, ideal for holidays with children. The surrounding area is formed of  luxuriant Mediterranean scrub, which frames one of the wildest and most beautiful sea area in the Mediterranean.

Among the many beaches in the area, we recommend: Capo Testa, long beach  surrounded by the Mediterranean scrub; Valle della Luna or Cala Grande, fine white sand surrounded by spectacular granite boulders, and popular since the 1970s by hippies and nudists; the Liccia, also this characterized by clear and shallow water; the beautiful Cala Spinosa, known for its clear waters (one of the favorite for divers) and protected by high cliffs and that, in the extreme north of the beach along the rocky ridge on the right side, shows the remains of the ancient Roman port of Tibula; Rena Bianca Beach in Santa Teresa di Gallura with crystal clear water and white and fine sand.

The Capo Testa promontory, perched on the white cliffs, it is crossed by an endless network of trails of an ancient easement for military purpose and is dotted with watchtowers and ruins of old military buildings recently restored, and casting a glance over the Strait, it is possible to admire the village of Bonifacio.

In this area the most known typical recipe is the Zuppa Gallurese (see post), or “Suppa cuata“, once offered only in marriages, and prepared with slices of bread and cheese(see post) soaked in mutton broth, paired with a good Vermentino di Gallura (see post), DOCG wine with an intense and enjoyable scent.

GPS Coordinates of Capo Testa: 41.2428, 9.146804

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Wines of Sardinia: The Girò

Girò

Red Wine DOC

Fine grape variety and of great potential, especially for the production of dessert wine or sipping wine. Probably its origins  date back to the Spanish rule, when it was introduced in Campidano di Cagliari. Girò have been most popular during the rule of the Piedmont in 1700 and was in danger of disappearing because of phylloxera in the second half of the 800. In fact, as we have said in other posts, with the destruction of most of the vineyards due to this parasite, many producers preferred replace Girò with more productive and less difficult grape varieties. Its cultivation is now restricted to limited areas located mainly in the south of the island; it prefers calcareous-clayey terrains, deep, cool, and dry; warm and dry climate. It has been recognized of the Denomination of Controlled Origin(DOC) in 1979, arousing new interest and experiencing a period of great fame, as it is one of the few Italian liqueur wines that you can liken to the well-known Spanish Wines Port and Madeira. Characterized by an intense ruby red color and elegant aromas reminiscent of cherries jam, caramel and quince. It is full-bodied, soft and velvety. His balance and finesse can be attributed to the sweetness and the pleasant feeling of warmth that you perceive.

You can pair the Girò di Cagliari Doc with desserts, in particular is great with pastry made ​​with almonds, tart with red fruit or dried fruit and mature pecorino cheese(see post). It has to be served with a medium size wineglass tulip-shaped(as for Cabernet wine), at a temperature of 10-12 ° C. You can pair the Liqueur type, be it sweet or dry, with baked pastries and tarts with jam. We recommended a small size wineglass tulip-shaped(as for Port wine); the ideal temperature is between 12 and 14 ° C.

DOC Girò di Cagliari

Grape: Min. 95% Girò, max. 5% other suitable grapes of Sardinian cultivation

Area of production: All the Municipalities of the Province of Cagliari and some Municipalities of the Province of Oristano

Wine Yeld: Max. 60%

Alcoholic Content: Min. 14,5° of which 2,5° to be developed

Tipe: Dry 14.0°, 0.5° of which to be developed; Fortified wine 17.5°, 2.5° of which to be developed; Dry fortified wine 17.5°, 1.0° of which to be developed; Fortified wine Reserve

Ageing: Min. 2 years and at least one in barrels for Reserve typology

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Cheese Soup Gallura Style

Cheese Soup

In the light version

 

Having revisited in vegan style the chestnut soup(see post), we also revisited the famous “Zuppa Gallurese“, a soup with bread and a cheese, with the intent to make it lighter and more easy to prepare. The original recipe includes the use of mutton broth, a softer version of beef or mixed meat, but today we will prepare the soup with a vegetable stock, less tasty but more digestible.

Ingredients:

  • 250g of durum wheat bread
  • 250g of “peretta” cheese or “casizolu“(see post), or alternatively “provola” or another soft cheese
  • aged pecorino cheese (again, if you want you can use half the amount of Parmesan cheese and half of pecorino cheese)
  • parsley
  • leaves offennel
  • basil
  • mint (or half a teaspoon of dried mint)
  • 1-1,5 liters of broth (bread should be well soaked, the soup don’t have to be  dry but not even liquid)
  • a tablespoon of chopped mixed spice
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • bread crumbs for the pan

Method:

Put in a bowl the parsley, mint, fennel, basil, thinly chopped and mix  with grated cheese(pecorino and/or parmesan) and a sprinkling of pepper. Cut the cheese into thin slices, then cut the bread into 1cm thick slices(the ideal thickness is between 0.5 cm and 1 cm). Brush a oven pan with high sides with olive oil and then pass it with the bread crumbs. Place on the bottom a layer of bread, cover with slices of cheese  and sprinkle with the grated cheese and mix of spices, then start over with a fresh layer of bread and proceed as already described, ending always with the mixture of grated cheese. At this point, after forming three layers, pour the broth a little at a time and evenly,  making sure to touch with a fork the layers of bread in order to verify that the broth is well absorbed . If you want, just like in the classic recipe, you can cover with a final layer of cheese slices or otherwise put into the oven as it is and bake at 180 ° C for 40 min or until the surface is golden and forms a light crust. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

We recommend this tasty dish, although in light version,  paired  with a good red wine Cannonau(see post) served at a temperature of 14-18 ° C.

Enjoy it !!!

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The New Wine

New Wine

Grape Harvest 2014

 

We finally arrived in November and the first taste of the wines of the Grape Harvest 2014 is on the shelves. The Novello(new wine), obtained by a fermentation method used in France for the production of a wine called Beaujolais nouveau, until a few years ago was little known. To understand how is it possible to drink a red wine after a so short period, without going through the slow maturation and aging, we must describe the technique, carbonic maceration, with which it is produced: the grape bunches are not de-stemmed and crushed and are placed at the internal of a steel container saturated with carbon dioxide and left to ferment for a period ranging from several hours to a few days. In this particular environment, in the absence of oxygen, the grapes initiate an intracellular fermentation that produces multiple effects: lowers the acidity, enhances the fruity aromatic components, increases the content of glycerin. Once removed from the container, the grapes are then conveyed to a normal alcoholic fermentation. The resulting wine has a purple color, fruity scents with marked notes of berries, soft and harmonious taste. The low content of tannins and low acidity, make it unsuitable for the preservation and it should be consumed as soon as possible to fully enjoy its features.

The italian history of Novello started in 1989 as a result of DM 06/10/1989, and is characterized by varying degrees of success, after a growing success between the customers(but not with reviewers), and after the halcyon days when its consumption was fashionable, now it is experiencing a period of decline. We recommend you to try it, without expecting the structure and the complexity of an aged wine, but enjoying its intense aromas and try it with autumn dishes(see post) with which it combines very well!!!

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Autumn: Chestnut Soup

Chestnuts

Queens of autumn

 

We are in autumn, the days are getting shorter and starts to get cold … So why not warm up with a good plate of chestnut soup? Protagonists of the winter here in Sardinia, chestnuts are present in different recipes, but most of these involves the addition of lard and other legumes (beans, chickpeas ..). It is known the “pisu cun Castanza” as well as the recipe for chestnut soup of Aritzo, but the one that I propose today is a vegan reinterpretation of some of these recipes:

Ingredients:

  • 350g chestnut
  • 100g wild fennel
  • 100g of potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • parsley
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method:

Peel and skin chestnuts (you can also use dried chestnuts, 180g, putting them to soak the night before). Chop the fennel. Chop, but not too finely the onion, celery, carrot and parsley. Cut the potatoes into small cubes and cook in a saucepan with two tablespoons of olive oil and the chopped vegetables for a few minutes, then add about 1.5 liters of water. Add salt and pepper and bring to boil. Add the chestnuts and fennel and cook for about an hour, adding hot water in the case the soup is too reduced. Adjust salt and pepper and serve.

I would suggest the use of “pane carasau“(see post 1 & 2): you can break some pieces, place them on the bottom of the dish and pour the soup. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

You can pair with a red wine, a Cagnulari (see post) or Carignano (see post) served at a temperature of 14-18 ° C.

Enjoy your meal!!!

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