Dolci Delizioso

After many hours at the table eating traditional Sardegna dishes of pasta con carciofi or funghi di bosco {pasta with fresh artichokes and wild mushrooms}, the conversation quiets and caffe e' dolci is served. The meal rarely ends without another round of whatever local digestivo is made in house. Grappa is common in most areas of Italy, which is often splashed right into a cup of steaming espresso to take off the edge of its potent grain alcohol perfume. Each region typically has a traditional sweet liquori for sipping straight from the glass.

Sardegna is known for a delicious sweet and herbacious liquori called mirto. Mirto is made from fresh sprigs of myrtle branches, covered in grain alcohol, then left to sit for 40 days. Once it has turned a curious violet color, simple syrup {sugar and water} is added, and it is bottled and stashed in the freezer until ready to drink. It has a syrupy, somewhat blackberry licorice taste with a bittersweet finish that lingers on the tongue. If you enjoy making or drinking another sweet Italian liquori called limoncello {made with lemons}, it is similar in both how you make it and how you drink it.

Mirto is also often made into a marmellata jam and served with fresh sheep's milk ricotta. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this otherwise not so sweet condiment.

And then, l'orario di riposa......time for my afternoon nap.

Buon appetito!
copyright 2008 Alisa Barry

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