From the richest and most renowned of dishes to the oldest “poor’ recipes maintained in the memories of a land and sea that are full of generous flavours, Alghero cuisine moves to the rhythm of the seasons and brings to the table the products of an area that produces from and on from the sea.
It is a cuisine that is both creative and original that by always carefully choosing its raw materials has been able to fully exploit the resources of its territory. The outcome is a palette of Mediterranean tastes, arising from a culinary art that despite being proudly attached to the origins of an ancient and extraordinary land skifully swings between tradition and innovation, never betrying its original flavours. Coloured dishes that are made even livelier by the hues of the seasonal fruits and vegetables, alternating genuine and simple ancient recipes on the one hand, and refined variations and unusual blends on the other, always striking an even balance between seafaring and farming traditions. As an result, the crismon pulp of the sea urchin is deprived of its traditional combination with spaghetti and is used to enhance the flavour of a delicate cream of potato soup. The famous “malloreddus” that are traditionally served with a dense sauce made of fresh sausage meat can be savoured with delicate creams os scampi and wild asparagus. The well-know ‘Sardinian saffron’ gives a different twist to traditional seafood soups. Meat and fish are masterfully combined with seasonal fruiit and vegetables and are used alternately to create unique dishes that are magnified by the fragrances of the Mediterranean scrub and the full-bodied and intense aroma of Alghero’s extra-virgin olive oil, one of the Mediterranean’s most prestigious products. All dishes are accompanied by the intense flavours of the local wines.
The classics of the table
Alghero’s most famous traditional dishes resort to fish, and are the dishes that more than others evoke the culinary traditions of this ancient land facing the sea.
Lobster (Llagosta) Known from antiquity, lobster is the flavour of Alghero cuisine. The fishing industry grew in the 1900’s when, thanks to the Majorcan Arguimbau, its unmistakeable grape red tonalities landed on the tables of Marseilles and Barcelona. Queen Elizabeth wanted Alghero lobster at her nuptial feast. Even today the culinary gifts of the delicious Alghero crustacean continues to travel the world. Typical recipes: Catalan lobster, Alghero Lobster, Spaghetti or Linguini Lobster.
Sea Urchin (Bogamarì) Along with lobster the sea urchin is the other “red doc’ (Denomination of Origin usually used to denote regionally specific wines) of the Alghero table. The unmistakeable flavour of its red pulp is best appreciated raw. “Ricci al cucchiaio’ (“Urchin from the spoon’) accompanied by fresh bread and a good local wine is the menu proposed for the “Sagra del Bogamarì’ (“Festival of the Sea Urchin’) held in the first months of the year. Typical recipe: Sea urchin spaghetti, Urchin on toasted bread.
Fish Soup (Copatza or cassola de peix) This is one of the typical dishes of the fishermen of yore, now remade by local chefs in the traditional variety, as well as in the more sophisticated versions.
It is accompanied by oven-toasted bread and traditional biscuits. The crustacean soups and seafood soups are delicious, as well.
Agliata (Allada) The Agliata is a traditional sauce from Alghero cuisine. The basic ingredients are dried tomatoes, garlic and vinegar. It is still very much used as condiment for fried and boiled dishes. Among the most common dishes served: Octopus agliata, Agliata for boiled or fried dishes, cat shark, fried fish agliata.
Now for the dessert: Blancmange / Mangiare in bianco, a cream ok milk thickened with wheat (or rice) starch and flavoured with the zest of the lemon. Crema Catalana. A sophisticated pudding flavoured with cinnamon and then caramelised.
Alghero’ cusine really recalls the ancient flavours of the Mediterranean.