Everywhere you go, there is always some local food specialty or delicacy that you must try! In Sardinia, one of them it’s definitely the Bottarga di Muggine (Grey Mullet Bottarga) from Cabras.
Bottarga is fish roe, extracted with its membrane still intact, lightly pressed, salt-cured and dried in the sun.
In the small town of Cabras, halfway down the western coast of Sardinia, right in the heart of the Sinis peninsula they have been producing Bottarga since the 14th century. Here, a mix of fresh and salt water and perfect climate create the most ideal habitat for grey mullets and hence for fish roe production.
The word “Bottarga” derives from the Arabic term bottarikh, meaning salted roe (as a result, you’ll also find version where it’s written with letter “i” – bottariga), which used to be a precious merchandise exchanged throughout the Mediterranean area. Inhabited by man as early as Neolithic times, during the bronze age, the area of Cabras learned the techniques for processing roe from the Egyptians. It was once humble fare, produced and eaten by fishermen when out at sea but, in the course of time, it became a delicacy appreciated by discerning connoisseurs throughout the world.
Bottarga from Cabras is considered the most expensive but also top quality dry mullet roes in the world. Due to its high cost and beautiful amber to golden color it’s often called “Sardinia’s Gold”.
Bottarga made from mullet roe has solid texture and rich, briny fish flavor with notes of sweetness and very subtle bitter aftertaste. Its unique, perfectly balanced flavor is a must try during your holiday in Sardinia.
There are so many way to enjoy this delicacy, it really is just a matter or personal choice! My favorite way is with pasta “vongole and bottarga”, just one of the simple ways to eat bottarga! Grate it on top of your pasta to add an unique flavour, but be very careful, there is not coming back from it, you will be craving bottarga on your pasta all the time (I warned you)!!
Next time that you are in Sardinia, do yourself a favor and make sure you enjoy the Sardinia’s gold. We can tell you where to find it 🙂