With a quick layover in Milano, my family summer trip primarily consisted of good food and a consistent, warming sun. When my family and I arrived in Milano, I knew that the Expo was occurring, and this year’s theme was Feeding the planet, energy for life. Not to go into too much detail, some highlights of the Expo were the various country clusters, the vertical agriculture wall (see photo below) and the Slow Food pavilion. The vertical agriculture wall was particularly inspiring, as it is an innovative way to deal with the ongoing decrease of farmable land. The Expo itself was huge, roughly 490 acres in its entirety. It was a bit disappointing because I expected many food tastings, but there was so much to see and learn that it was an overall very enjoyable experience.
Vertical agriculture with drip technology
That night, my family and I ate at a gem of an eatery called Ristorante Solferino
, open since 1909. I started the meal off with a shared burrata. No cheese compares to its creaminess and tang. It pairs really well with prosciutto, tomato, strong olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For my main course, I ate a classic Milanese dish: risotto alla Milanese. The risotto is creamy with a backbone of saffron, and combined with the osso bucco became a real, hearty comfort dish.
Burrata with micro basil, tomato and olive oil
Risotto alla Milanese with Osso Bucco
As wonderful as Milan was, the true highlight of the trip was Sardegna. This was my first time in Sardegna; I’ve seen much of Italy, but the culture and food of this island was brand new to me. We flew into Olbia and drove to Porto Cervo. It’s important to note that Porto Cervo is the main town on the Costa Smeralda, and is a very chic town.
One day we bought day tickets for an island-hopping tour of the local waters on a wooden sailboat. With roughly 16 passengers total, the boat trip was peaceful and relaxed. The boat had character, as did its two-man crew. The captain would try to break the ice with everyone by telling bad jokes. A seagull named Jonathan followed the boat for the entire six hours (and for the last 20 years according to the captain). The views and the food were incredible, as everything looks and tastes better in the middle of a vast expanse of water and in friendly company.
Jonathan the Seagull
pecorino, salami, olives, cipollini, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and bread
Penne with shrimps and tomato sauce
The chic scene of Porto Cervo is not my favorite, and fortunately, it was extremely easy to get around the area and explore the less known areas (which I think are the most fun). One such place was La Sasima
, an agriturismo in San Pantaleo, Arzachena, where everything served is sourced from the farm itself. I immediately knew this would be one of the top five experiences of my lifetime. Upon driving along the long dirt road to both the bed and breakfast portion and the restaurant, we thought we had the wrong address. We eagerly advanced and were greeted by a large dirt parking lot. I opened the car door and my nose guided us to the restaurant atop a hill via the gorgeous scent of maialino, or suckling pig. A very nice waitress led us to a table for four, and placed on the table a large carafe of their house-made red, a bottle of natural water and a bottle of bubbly water.
After small, pleasant conversation, she brought the beginning of a very large meal. As a side note, we ate at the farm twice this trip, and I am combining both visits into one for the sake of not making this post a novella.
Pecorino with salami
Starting at 1 o’clock going clockwise: roasted peppers, semolina flour with cream, tripe with tomato sauce, eggplant with pancetta and pecorino
Ravioli with ricotta and herb filling
Fried pecorino and sheep
Lamb and olive stew
Fried dough filled with ricotta and honey
The next couple of photos are the new dishes from the second visit to La Sasima
Liver and creamed semolina
Starting at 1 o’clock going clockwise: roasted peppers and eggplant, liver, creamed semolina, and meatball
Gnocchi with tomato and sausage sauce
What I most appreciate about La Sasima
is that it highlights one of my most highly held beliefs that you can find the best food in the least pretentious of places. The wine was served in simple glass cups, the silverware was straightforward and uncomplicated. Silverware, the extension of your body to the food you eat, in this case was beautifully elementary so as to put focus on the all the fresh, real flavors of the food.
Sardegna has an incredible food culture and a beautiful landscape that warrant for my eager return.