Thursday, 16 July 2009

Off to Sardinia

The beauty of the British summer is that you can ignore it entirely. While the rest of Europe is busy debating the merits of air conditioning versus ventilation at the coffee machine, you’re happily traipsing the sales in search of a cashmere hoodie to wear at your neighbor’s bbq on Sunday.

In other words, summer has sneaked up on me once again.

In less than 24 hours we will be leaving-- via Naples where we will be making a brief stop to attend a wedding-- for my little spot of heaven, a rustic B&B on the Northern Coast of Sardinia. Marcello, its kite-surfing owner, his three gigantic dogs --more like ponies really--and a vagrant one-eared orange tabby nicknamed Farouk await us.

So do the many specialties of an island whose culinary traditions are rooted away from the sea --long a symbol of invasions-- and firmly into the earth. Cheese, meat, fruit and honey are the stars of the show really. For the first time we have opted to trade our simple room of washed-out wood and seashells for a small apartment in an adjacent building with a kitchen, so our friends and their little boy (the Puppone), could stay with us.

This means that while we will be touring our favorite restaurants, gorging on pane carasau (also called carta da musica), porchedu (roasted suckling pig), fregola (a sort of Sardinian couscous often eaten with seafood) and sebadas (a round pastry of unleavened dough filled with ricotta or fresh sour cheese and doused in warm honey), we will also be cooking at home.

The utensils will likely be few and should force me to embrace the key precept of Italian cuisine: buy fresh, fiddle little

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