**The Blissful Adventurer is running about Italy at the moment so in his stead we happily endorse and support the work of the following food & wine writer, Viktorija Todorovska. Please check out this post, leave comments for exchange with the author, and give their blog a read.**
Viktorija is a food and wine adventurer passionate about the Southern
Mediterranean and its people. She is never happier than when making
new discoveries and sharing them with others. Visit her at www.olivacooking.com and check out The Puglian Cookbook: Bringing the Flavors of Puglia Home.
Santu Lussurgiu, a tiny village in Western Sardinia, is not a must-see for most visitors to this breath-taking island. And Sardinians like it that way. Nestled in the Montiferru hills, famous for olive oil, casizolu (unique cow’s milk cheese) and the tender meat of bue rosso, Santu Lussurgiu is a Mecca for food lovers in the know. This little village houses one of the best restaurants in all of Sardinia, a place where food is passion, community, and a sustainable network of family producers who give expression to the land and its history.
In the midst of this land of olive orchards, nuraghe, and bue rosso, the red cow that freely roams the hillsides in search of the best wild greens, is Roberto Flore, a genius in the kitchen. Roberto is the chef of Antica Dimora del Gruccione, an albergo diffuso in the historic center of Santy Lussurgiu. Young and energetic, Roberto is not your stereotypical chef. His welcoming smile instantly puts you at ease and his enthusiasm about Sardinia is balanced by his deep understanding of great food and modern food tastes. Once you taste Roberto’s food, you will want to know this intriguing young chef. And you’ll wonder how he found the time to perfect his culinary skills. Because Roberto also makes delicious (and natural) wine, spicy olive oil, and delightful liqueurs flavored with everything from wild thyme, mint and myrtle to exotic herbs such as artemisia.
Unassuming and somewhat shy, Roberto releases his passion in the kitchen. Whether creating a fresh spring salad with edible flowers or cordula, a traditional Sardinian dish of lamb intestines braided and roasted until crunchy, Roberto’s flavor are impeccable: clean and focused, showing you what food really tastes like.
Roberto, originally from Seneghe, a village 3 miles from Santu Lussurgiu, has a deep passion for this region and its products. He knows each ingredient he uses because he gathers most of them himself. Whether you’re tasting his silky wild asparagus soup with fregola or cleansing your palate with the fresh and zesty spring salad, chances are Roberto gathered the greens in the field that very day. What he doesn’t gather or make, Roberto sources from small, local producers: the heirloom beans, flour, honey, meat, and pasta he uses all have a story. And through Roberto’s delectable creations, they all help tell the story of this area.
And if you want to know more about Roberto’s food, simply ask. He loves teaching about nature and its bounty as he explains Sardinian food traditions and their roots.
His deep knowledge of tradition feeds his adventurous spirit and leads him to create dishes for modern palates. As a German guest, passionate for Roberto’s food says, you will taste food you would never have ordered and wonder what else you might like. That is a true chef: confidently leading his guests to discover new flavors and new stories, to savor this pocket of Sardinia.
Roberto’s menu changes every day, so guests who come for a night or two often stay longer, eager to taste more. And Antica Dimora del Gruccione welcomes them with its charm and beauty, helping them immerse themselves into the Montiferru and learn about real food grown and prepared by passionate people. So, put Antica Dimora del Gruccione on your top 10 list of places to experience. Your taste buds need it.