THE ORISTANO PROVINCE
Following a hypothetical oenogastronomic itinerary through the province of Oristano starting from the Sinis peninsula, we pass by typical vineyards and wine-shops producing Vernaccia di Oristano.
Vernaccia, a true "nectar of the gods", has received international acclaim for centuries.
To fully appreciate its qualities, you should not only try it on its own between meals but even along with some gastronomic specialities from Oristano: mullet merca and bottarga.
The Oristano hinterland also boasts delicate white wines, although less prestigious than Vernaccia: from the older Nuragus to the more recent Vermentino del Campidano from Marrubiu-Terralba, Sangiovese and Nieddera, moving then to the hills around Mogoro where we find Semidano, Moscato and red Bovale. The latter is recommended with meat and local game dishes or with fatty fish like roast eels.
Typical dishes from the Oristano area are extremely varied and range from fish from Cabras (giltheads, bass, eels) in many different forms to merca: mullet boiled in salt water and wrapped in marsh leaves (zibba).
A well-known speciality is bottarga, salted mullet eggs which are pressed and dried and then eaten sliced or grated on spaghetti.
Oristano also offers bocconi: mollusks boiled in salt and water; malloreddus all'oristanese, small bran dumplings with a sauce of spinach, chard, eggs and cream; Marceddì has its zuppa di arselle nere (black clam soup), while at Santa Giusta the typical dish is is tuvaras de arena, mushrooms that grow under the sand and are cooked with eggs and vernaccia.
Among the many sweets, we recall mustazzolus, one of the simplest and oldest Sardinian sweets: rhomboid-shaped frosted biscuits made of concentrated must, wheat flour, yeast and sugar; zippole are long doughnuts flavoured with aqua-vitae, made all over the island at Carnival time.
The first Sunday in September, Marrubiu holds its Honey, Cheese, Sausage and Wine Festival, an opportunity to get to know and appreciate that area's typical products.