So a few weeks back I said I was going to write only about “haute” food topics until the heat wave broke here in TX. I got a brief reprieve in NY where I kicked up some info on summer cobblers and crisps. A lovely break but now I am back here in this ridiculous heat (104 today and oh a gorgeous 106 tomorrow predicted)!
I mean maybe I spoke to soon ’cause how many “haute topics” can I really hope to come up with given that this haute spell is now in its third month. Do you really want to read pathetic entries about haute potatoes, haute cross buns and oh how about haute dogs! No. I don’t even want to read about these.
So, I am breaking my own heat wave and moving on. I am embracing 104 as the new 80 and am going to ignore the sweat trickle from just going to the mailbox and the soaked through hair after just a short 3 mile morning run. All normal for 80 degrees.
What now you ask? How about some armchair travel? Let’s get out of this TX heat and put ourselves in “cooler” climates. I am not exactly talking Antarctica or Norway here, ya’ll know I hate cold weather. I am talking about a “cool” spot to hang out in in the summers, Sardinia. (can i say in in?) hmm.
Being a good Italian, I had never been to Sardinia. Stuck out in the Med half way between the boot and Africa it just didn’t seem that there could be that much going on out there. I stand corrected. Sardinia is a dream and of the good variety. I was fortunate enough to see the Southern tip via sailboat. I was aboard the Kriter, named for the French champagne house, that was renovated by a good Italian friend of mine who happens to be living in Jodhpur India. He brought her back to her original pristine state and then some. Kriter came in 3rd in the 1972 Whitbread so this girl can kick it and I was hoping to finding out just how.
Unfortunately we spent alot of time with the motor going, but we did get some good runs and I got to feel cool breezes through my hair. Of course hanging out on a sailboat with 3 Italians, oh 4 I forgot myself, meant we were not eating tuna from a can. Sardinia has a delicacy of cured local tuna that you slice much like prosciutto. It is gorgeous. A little appetizer of that with some pecorino cheese and a little bubbly would set our evenings on a good course (I had to say that, you know). Then, Mannie (captain of our vessel by day and chef by night (yo, I was on va-cay) would cook up some spaghetti that he would flavor with bottarga (spaghetti al bottarga). Bottarga is another Sardinian tuna speciality that stole my heart. It is dried tuna roe and it comes in a jar and you just add one teaspoon to your pasta and WOW, its like the sea jumped onto your plate. A drizzle of olive oil, some Parmesan and very soon after, an empty bowl. Everything tastes better on a boat. Why is that?
So after getting our land legs back we headed north to a very hip and cool part of Sardinia called Palau. Trendy port town with great shops, cafes and some of the best seafood I have had. Just don’t try to argue with any of the waiters or restaurant owners or they will take your food away. They are proud and I was quiet. The diving is pretty cool there as well if you go see the largest grouper colony in the world which is just between Corsica and Sardinia. Grouper as big as volkswagons, I sh– you not.
Just north of this end of the island are a string of islands (The Maddalena Islands) that will make you reconsider ever going back to the Caribbean. Serious. Yes, there are alot of gin palaces (which I was unfortunately not on) with gorgeous Italians in tiny speedos and bikinis who fill the waters with their monstrous crafts. But it was so beautiful just being there going from island to island in our tiny inflatable, that I didn’t even get mad when the speed boats would go by and drench us in their wake. Nope.
The best was just pullling up to a beach, anchoring, throwing a towel on my head, wading to the beach and spending an afternoon just chillin in the white sands.
I did get an anchor dropped on my big toe and on the same day that very big toe got stung by a rare stinger fish in the sand that usually only afflicts one tourist per year. But Palau is so stunning, I only complained…well….ya know.
The only thing I might steer you away from was the Malvasia wine unless you are into sweet a– wine. There is a good white local white wine that sounds like Quantanalira, or something close to that. Very easy to drink and good with the seafood.
Last but not least, when you go, I encourage you to eat gelatto every day. A cone a day keeps a frown away. I like nocciolo (hazelnut). Viva Sardinia!
PS. On the day after my big toe (left one) got slammed by an anchor and stung – I stubbed it. Why always in threes I ask? Why?