An excellent reason to visit Palau any time of the year is undoubtedly its culinary traditions. Thanks to the quality of its primary ingredients, its original recipes and the internationally recognized ability of Sardinian chefs, Palau’s culinary offerings are exceptional.
The quality of its products, which offer delicate and intense flavors all year round, is guaranteed by a confluence of factors: the ability of farmers and shepherds to patiently await the right moment in which to harvest the fruits of their sowing and of their breeding, but also the mild climate and the influence of the sea which allows the produce to ripen with unique flavor.
Although there have been external influences, the culinary traditions of Palau and the Gallura region resist tenaciously. In fact, they have worked their way up to best-sellers in the international menus of the island. Queen of the entrees is undoubtedly “suppa cuata” but “li pulilgioni dulci”, a sweet version of the classic ravioli in which even the sauce is particularly sweet, “li chjusoni”, tiny hand made gnocchi and “li fiuritti”, a sort of hand made tagliatella pasta also cannot be missed. Alongside the traditional entrees are numerous recipes based on fish, shell fish, seafood and bottarga (mullet or smoked tuna eggs, salted and dried).
As for main courses, traditional meat-based dishes challenge the many innovative recipes for fish which are caught daily off the nearby coast. Among the traditional dishes are “porceddu” (roasted pig), “carri e coggiju” (typical for All Saints day, this is a dish based on pork and cauliflower), “faa e laldu” (broad beans, sausage and lard cooked with wild fennel) and finally “la rivea” (lamb or baby goat innards chopped and cooked slowly on a spit). Fish-based dishes include the formidable grilled fish platters and soups cooked with fresh fish, calamari, lobster, shell fish and mollusks, found in abundance on the menus of the wonderful restaurants of the region.
The wide range of cheeses and ricottas are sure to satisfy any palate, from delicate to seasoned and smoked. Two types, sweet and seasoned, of Pecorino Sardo (Sardinian goat cheese), the Fiore Sardo and the Pecorino Romano have been awarded the DOP brand (protected denomination of origin). It is well known that the nature of the terrain and climatic factors play a fundamental role in wine-growing. Thanks to these two factors, the wine production of Palau and the entire Gallura region is appreciated internationally. The Vermentino di Gallura is one of the four Italian white wines, and the only Sardinian white wine, to have obtained the DOCG brand. There are three historical social cellars on the territory (Piero Mancini, Capichera and Vigne Surrau). These three, together with fellow winemakers of small or medium dimensions, have turned the Vermentino wine into a well-known product exported internationally. Also very well appreciated are Muscat of Gallura, one of the most delicate and beloved dessert wines of the island, and the Nebbiolo, a particularly fragrant and smooth red wine created by local enologists.
On par with the high quality wines are the liqueurs. The most famous is undoubtedly Mirto, which is made by infusing myrtle berries (blueberries) in a mixture of water and alcohol. Not to be overlooked are Limoncello, made by infusing the peel of Sardinian lemons in alcohol and water, and Acquavite (grappa), a transparent distillation produced across the regional territory, also known as “Filu ‘e ferru” or “Abba ardente”.
Desserts are an important element of the Gallurese culinary tradition. With their unique flavors, they are the joyous conclusion to every meal. Some are prepared for special occasions like ‘li frisgioli” (elongated fritters) and “acciuleddi” (braids of sweet dough immersed in honey) both made for Mardi Gras, or the “papassini”, (rhombic shaped glazed biscuits with raisins) and the “ossi di moltu”, typical sweets for the days of the dead. The pastoral world offers its own recipes: for Easter the “casgiatine” (crispy dough with enclosed a heart of cheese or ricotta) and “seadas” a fried puff pastry with a heart of fresh cheese and a topping of honey) Honey is also one of the main ingredients of “cuccjuleddi e meli”, a dessert made of puff pastry and lard with a honey filling.