For the first in our regional spotlight series we wanted to focus on where it all started for Vallebona, Sardinia. This is the homeland of our forefathers where our business was founded over 130 years ago and it is also one of the most overlooked parts of Italy, both geographically and in terms of its food culture.
Sardinia itself is extremely varied in terms of landscape, beyond the emerald crystal-clear water lies a craggy and rocky coastline dotted with white sandy beaches, these give way to lush ancient forests wild with horses, deer and boar. Dotted between the mountains and forests are desert and marshland regions, meaning that almost anything can grow here. Add the fact that, being a relatively isolated region, there is little to no pollution of any kind and its easy to see why Sardinia is one of the best agricultural regions in the world, producing some of the best crops in terms of taste and also health. Sardinia is one of the 5 ‘blue zones’ worldwide, where people regularly live beyond 100 years old, another being in Japan.
Now, let’s talk about food. The enduring image of Sardinia to many Italians is the wise old shepherd, watching over his flock in the craggy foothills from his isolated outpost. This lifestyle is still commonplace and means Sardinia has the best goat and sheep’s cheese in the world. The shepherds make Ricotta, like our hard Ricotta Salata and Smoked Sheep Ricotta, which is perfect for a summery Sardinian salad with grilled vegetables and pesto and can also be griddled in a pan like halloumi. Pecorino is the region’s other most famous cheesy export, which comes in a variety of maturations and flavours, like Pecorino Rosso which is young and creamy and great for cooking, Pecorino Sardo, which is more mature and beautifully balanced between its salty and creamy flavours and Pecorino Fiore Sardo, crumbly, salty, aged, rounded and delicious on its own of with our famous Truffle Honey. When visiting Sardinia, a trip to see these flocks and see Ricotta being made fresh is an absolute must.
Give us a call (020 8944 5665) for recipes, travel advice, ingredients or anything Sardinia-related.