Breathtaking views, white sandy beaches, clear waters and a culture unlike anything else you'd find in Italy – Sardinia is a very special place that needs to be visited. Take a look at the ingredients, flavours and dishes that make it a gastronomic paradise.

It’s part of Italy, sure, but anyone who has visited the island of Sardinia will tell you that it is a completely unique place that feels like another country altogether. The second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily to the south), it is known for its beautiful beaches, rich history and – of course – its food.

After being conquered by so many different civilisations over the years (Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Spaniards and, eventually, the Italians, to name but a few), the architecture, cuisine and landscape has taken on an identity of its own. The island has its own language, which it is fiercely proud of, and there are many aspects of Sardinian culture that can only be found on the island.

Sheep can be found everywhere on Sardinia, and there are an estimated four million of them roaming its hills and mountains. That’s why lamb is a very popular meat, and many cheeses are made using sheep’s milk. Pecorino from Sardinia is regarded as amongst the best in Italy, and it is also famous for its wheat breads. Fish and seafood is an important part of the diet along the coast, but further inland you’ll find meat, bread, cheese and vegetables to be much more common at the dinner table.

Take a look below for everything you need to know about this incredible island’s food, and see why Sardinians are so proud of their culinary history.

Sardinia: the complete foodie guide

This very special island has a cuisine as unique as its history – take a look at our complete guide for an introduction to Sardinia's most famous ingredients and dishes.

Cheese island

There are an incredible amount of cheeses produced across Sardinia, thanks to the island's strong shepherding heritage and the need to preserve milk over time. The most famous range from the beloved Pecorino Romano and Pecorino (or fiore) Sardo to the stomach-churning Casu Marzu, which comes complete with live maggots. Get to know more about the island's famous cheeses.

Manna of life

If there are dozens of cheeses on Sardinia, there are even more types of bread. From the big and rustic to the small and intricate, every loaf is steeped in history and some – such as pane carasau – are so famous they're exported all over the world.

Catch of the day

Flavours of the island

And for dessert…

Think sweet treats in Italy begin and end with tiramisu and gelato? Think again. These little desserts – often prepared for occasions such as Easter – are some of Sardinia's most famous culinary triumphs.

The star of Sardinia