Traditional Sardinian Breakfast
In ancient times Sardinians ate a frugal breakfast. Most Sardinians were shepherds and would have had their breakfast when stopping for rest under a tree. They would eat cheese with Pane Carasau, a flatbread that was made for shepherds as it would remain good to eat for a length of time when they needed to stay out with their sheep. With this, they would have fresh milk and later coffee. If they needed an extra boost during the day, they might have packed sausages if the days work required it.
The shepherds family would have a similar breakfast. Traditionally before school children would be given bread soaked in fresh milk, sometimes with sugar if the family could afford. Every region and family would have had a different style of breakfast, but usually based on milk, cheese, and bread. A simple and frugal breakfast, that older Sardinians may remember from their childhood. Some families would heat some fresh milk and add crumbled Pane Carasau and honey to it.
Fruits were also part of breakfast. The countrysides are full of wild fruit trees, and every Sardinian would cultivate their own. With industrial changes happening after the second world war, the breakfast changed. Biscuits and cookies took the place of bread, and coffee became more important.
Breakfast is not very important in Sardinia and for that matter, Italy. In fact, many Italians don’t eat anything for breakfast, only needing coffee to make it through the morning. Today, an espresso and a sweet (biscuits or pastries) usually suffice. It’s not as heavy as the toast, eggs, and bacon or oatmeal of other nations. For most Italians, breakfast is the sweetest meal of the day. Many Sardinians like to head to the local bar for their breakfast, to read the newspaper and chat with locals.
Those visiting Sardinia are often disappointed by the breakfast that is available, but it’s just a cultural difference, for example, for Sardinians lunch is the largest meal of the day, other countries may eat a small lunch or sandwich quickly, during a short break from work. Hotels and B&Bs across the island are trying to cater to foreign tourists, that believe they need to eat a large breakfast to have the energy for the day. Although it might be the case that a lighter breakfast provides more energy and give your body and longer rest from digesting food.
Breakfast at the bar
Most Sardinians will order a Caffe, some with a glass of water. In continuity with the mainland, mornings are the only time to request a cappuccino or latte macchiato without any strange faces from the locals. All bars will have tea also.
Now you need to choose something to eat to accompany your coffee. If you are looking for something sweet, you will find freshly made croissants, known as cornetto or some Italian cookies.
You can often find a breakfast panini, filled with sliced prosciutto or cheese. The bread bun may be somewhat sweet.