What To Eat When You’re In…Cagliari, Sardinia

13th December 2019

Italy is a well-known food destination, calling to the stomachs of travellers with a range of homemade dishes created by passionate chefs and knowledgeable nonnas (Italian grandmothers). These delicious morsels can be found all over the country, including on the beautiful islands that lie off the coast of the iconic boot-shaped mainland.

During our ‘Malta, Balearics & Spain’ Eastern Mediterranean cruises, the ship will stop in Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia. When you arrive, let your nose guide you to try some of these local treats.

Brilliant Bread

Pane Carasau

Pane Carasau

Bread gets a bad rap these days, being the harbinger of gluten and unwanted carbs. However, Italians do bread arguably better than anyone else; after all, it does form the base (literally) of their most famous export, pizza.

Also known as Carta di Musica (music paper bread), this poppadum-like snack is regularly served as antipasti in bars and placed on the table to eat before your meal in a restaurant. The thin wafers provide a satisfying crunch and can also be made with salt and oregano.

Pasta Dura

You may think that this second traditional Sardinian bread is in the wrong section of our article, but we can assure you it is bread and not pasta. With a hard, crunchy exterior and soft, chewy interior, it’s definitely unique in flavour and can catch people off guard if they're not aware of its high-protein flour content. Pasta dura is typically served to dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar or as the basis of bruschetta.

Perfect Pasta


Seafood Fregola with Saffron

Unlike on most islands, seafood is not a traditional staple in Cagliari. This is because the people were historically shepherds and farmers rather than fishermen. However, seafood can still be found on plenty of menus in Cagliari and this is one of the dishes you’re most likely to see.

Fregola is similar to couscous but is pasta rather than a grain. The small balls are perfect for slowly stewing in a fish sauce, taking on the flavours of all the ingredients that are added. Expect to find clams, prawns and squid, all seasoned with a healthy dose of saffron – something which is produced in abundance in this part of the world. You may also get a couple of slices of pasta dura on the side.


The Sardinian take on ravioli, culurgiones are a great choice if you’re looking for a light lunch. These pasta parcels are filled with mashed potato and ricotta cheese and then placed on top of a simple tomato sauce. Any regular visitors to Italy will know that sauces like this are at their best when just a few high-quality ingredients are used. In English, culurgiones translates as ‘little bundles’.

Meaty Mains

Su Porcheddu

Su Porcheddu

The sight of an entire suckling pig on the table may be too much for some people, but if you’re a certified carnivore, you can join the people of Sardinia in enjoying this traditional meal. The meat is cooked low and slow on a spit and then served on a board with myrtle leaves as garnish. Usually seen as a centrepiece at a wedding or big celebration, it can also be a great sharing option for a special meal.


The abundance of bones found throughout Sardinia attests to the fact that agnello (lamb) has been eaten here for hundreds of years. Popular during the Christmas period but enjoyed all year round, the lamb is generally roasted and served with a local variety of artichoke called carciofo spinoso di Sardegna. Saffron is often added into the mix too.

A Sweet Ending


Papassina and Gueffus

Local sweets abound across Sardinia, with every town having its own variety of sugary dessert to delight the locals. In Cagliari, many of the favourites are made with ingredients like honey, ricotta and saffron. Papassina and gueffus are great places to start your sweet odyssey.


When we tell you what this dessert consists of, we’re sure you’ll agree that there are plenty of reasons why saedas will have your mouth watering. Pecorino cheese is flavoured delicately with lemon zest before being enveloped in semolina dough and deep-fried. Once cooked, these discs are drizzled with local abbamele honey, which leaves them tasting sweet but not too sickly.

If you would like to try any of these delicious foods for yourself, book one of our Eastern Mediterranean cruises to Cagliari. Call the team on 0845 200 6145 or use our online chat.

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