America’s Cup World Series begins in Sardinia

Cagliari goodfreephotos by
View of Cagliari photo by ajoheyho of goodfreephotos.com

Article first published on Sailingscuttlebutt News online on November 29th, 2018 .
The opportunity for teams campaigning toward the 36th America’s Cup to get a measure of each other will be at the first America’s Cup World Series event which will take place October 2019 in Cagliari, Sardinia.
“The first America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) event is the first opportunity for the Challenger teams and Defender to line up against each other. We are confident that Cagliari will offer excellent racing conditions and that the Sardinian hospitality will make it a very memorable event,” said Laurent Esquier, CEO of the Challenger of Record for the 36th America’s Cup.

As stated in the Protocol, there will be one or two events during the second half of 2019 announced on or before March 31, 2019, and three events in 2020 announced on or before November 30, 2019.

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photo by sailingscuttlebut news online magazine

The overall results from the ACWS will determine the seeding for the Challenger Selection Series which will be used to select the Challenger to face the Defender in the 36th America’s Cup in 2021.

For more info about the event follow the link to the America’s Cup World Series website

https://www.americascup.com/

Article first published on “Sailingscuttlebutt” News online on November 29th, 2018 .

https://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2018/11/29/americas-cup-world-series-begins-sardinia/

 

This Tiny Sardinian Island Town Is Doing Nose-to-Tail Tuna

Article by Alecia Wood first appeared in Munchies Magazine part of Vice Media LLC on 14th October 2016

Carloforte is famed for its bluefin tuna, where salted tuna hearts, slow-cooked tripe, dried bottarga, and oil-drenched offcuts are the backbone of its traditional island cuisine.

 

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Owner of Al Tonno di Corsa restaurant, Secondo Borghero, cradling cured tuna roe known as bottarga. All photos by the author. Photo by Alecia Wood

“This town was built on tuna,” fishmonger Daniele tells me, cradling a pair of vacuum-packed fish hearts. His shop sits on one of the hushed streets typical in Carloforte—just off Sardinia’s southwest coast on the tiny island of Isola di San Pietro—stocking the salted and tinned tuna products that hail from the fishing village.
Nobody lived on the island until 1736, when a community of Genoese coral fishers got kicked out of Tabarka in Tunisia, where they’d been sent to work. The then-king of Sardinia gave them refuge on Isola di San Pietro, and they brought their seafaring know-how and tabarkino dialect, still spoken by locals. Typical dishes there echo the settlers’ Italy-via-North Africa route, like cascà alla carlofortina, a couscous dish spiced with clove and cinnamon, topped with eggplant and chickpeas.

But the throngs of Italian tourists in Carloforte’s waterfront cafés are quick to suggest a different local delicacy: tonno rosso. The bluefin tuna is fished off the island every year from May to June using the tonnara, a complex system of anchored nets that channel the fish into an enclosure. “The tuna enter the sea from Gibraltar, arrive to Corsica, and come down here to Sardinia,” Daniele explains, tracing their path on a map of the Mediterranean that hangs on his wall. The historically brief fishing season—now coupled with strict quotas for fishing boats—means fresh tuna has only ever been available on the island for a month afterward. Locals made a habit of using up every part of the tuna, conserving all sorts of cuts and organs under salt or oil to last through the winter.

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Cuore di tonno: tuna hearts preserved in salt, on sale from a fishmonger in Carloforte. Photo by Alecia Wood

I head to Al Tonno di Corsa, a restaurant sheltered from the bustle of sightseers in a peaceful, pastel-hued laneway, welcoming punters with a stack of giant cured tuna roe—the bottarga—on the service counter. It opened in the 1980s, hoping to revive the traditional tuna preserves that were then becoming forgotten. “Originally, there were no fridges, so the philosophy of the cuisine of tuna here is very linked with the conservation of the meat. We wanted to make food that was typical to the island, that you find in people’s homes,” says owner Secondo Borghero. “When I was a boy, in every house there were spaces to make these things and pantries to keep the conserved fish ingredients

Lunch kicks off with a starter of their house-made tuna goods: sliced musciame, a prosciutto-like salted fillet; intensely salty shaved heart; and buzzonaglia, a jarred mix of flaky offcuts kept in olive oil. After that, I go for the belu—strips of tuna tripe cooked with tomato, white wine and potato—and cassulli, a pasta similar to gnocchi served with a rich, basil-spiked, tomato-tuna sauce. It’s a house specialty that Borghero invented, as well as a tuna pâté, to use even more of those otherwise undesired cuts.
It’s my first time trying bluefin tuna. As an Aussie, it’s always been synonymous with the demise of ocean ecosystems, and to be avoided. It strikes me as odd that everyone advising a traditional tuna meal in Carloforte hasn’t mentioned the massive issue of sustainability. I ask Borghero what he thinks about the plight of tuna.

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“This town was built on tuna,” says fishmonger Daniele.Photo by Alecia Wood

“It needs to become part of the logic of consumption that tuna has a seasonality. Just like in winter, you shouldn’t be eating peaches. It’s the same with fish.” The raw, prime tuna cuts are on offer during summer—after that, he’ll only serve the preserved items. “We wait for a year to have fresh tuna again. You have to follow the biological cycle. Raw tuna has become fashionable, but fish for us was always cooked or salted. A lot of people ask me for tartare, and I tell them we don’t have it. At first they say, ‘Well, it’s impossible that a tuna restaurant doesn’t have tartare,’ but many are happy because they discover something new.”
He says nothing about just not eating it, though.

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Tonno salato, or salted tuna. Photo by Alecia Wood

Back in the day, embracing the tuna offal and all wasn’t just about being thrifty, but understanding how a cooking style can enhance different cuts. “The tuna is a very big fish, so it’s just like an animal from the land—with a veal, the shank isn’t the same as the fillet. You make the best use of the prime material if you have a recipe that starts with the base, then you know the ingredient more deeply,” says Borghero. He explains the three types of tuna meat: the pink, delicate areas; the brick-red ones; and dark brown parts, where all the capillaries reach. “Those are good for the pâté and the sugo for the pasta. It has a strong flavour and gives the dish structure.”

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A dish of cassulli pasta with a ragù of tuna offcuts at Al Tonno di Corsa restaurant.Photo by Alecia Wood

After leaving picturesque, tranquil Carloforte, I learn the tuna harvest can be a bloody, brutal spectacle. It’s not really clear if that’s in keeping with ancient fishing methods, or if it’s a display for the sake of tourist attention. There’s a murky tension between maintaining culturally significant food traditions and addressing sustainability goals.
The carlofortino custom of embracing secondary—but no less delicious—tuna cuts is certainly no fix for the trouble we’ve put tuna in, but it’s surely a more respectful approach to eating all types of fish. We’ve welcomed crispy pig’s ears, bone broth, and slow-cooked oxtail—why not take a nose-to-tail attitude to the fruits of the sea, too?

Article by Alecia Wood first appeared in Munchies Magazine part of Vice Media LLC on 14th October 2016.

https://munchies.vice.com/en_us/article/jpkgey/this-tiny-sardinian-island-town-is-doing-nose-to-tail-tuna

 

 

 

 

 

Sardinia’s less-traveled southern coast

article by Jim Yardley first appeared on Travel and Leisure Magazine 6th May 2017

The quiet side of the Italian island has an outrageous number of pretty little beaches, a surprising and nourishing local cuisine, and centuries of fascinating history to get lost in. Best of all? It’s one of the least crowded parts of the Mediterranean.

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Costa del Sud,  Road Chia-Teulada photo by D.Fenu Sakanatravel 2017

I was sitting at one of the small outdoor tables at Pani e Casu, a restaurant near the ancient battlements of Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital, high above the city’s busy port. The blue waters of the Mediterranean twinkled in the distance. I could smell salt in the air. Surely, I thought, those waters must hold some fish.

Before I visited, I had never thought of Sardinia as an island of shepherds. I had thought of it as an island where fabulously rich people baked in the sun, flitted between stylish restaurants and hotels, and sailed along the pristine coastline in yachts outfitted with discos, hot tubs, and other blingy accoutrements. Which, to a point, is true of the Costa Smeralda, where Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s former prime minister, held his infamous “bunga bunga” parties at a 68-room “retreat” that reportedly has six swimming pools and an artificial volcano.

But that is the northern coast, which, if undeniably beautiful, is also a bit crowded. The southern coast, while hardly undiscovered, is still remote enough to be largely unspoiled. For centuries, most Sardinians lived inland, fortified against potential marauders and subsisting on agriculture and livestock. The resulting mind-set prevails to this day among people like my waiter. On the two-lane roads that led away from the coast, I passed farmers working fields, as they have for generations. The steep switchbacks that twisted through the inland mountains were laced with old vineyards.

I had come to Sardinia’s southern coast with my sons, Eddie and George, whose primary agenda was an inspection tour of the area’s beaches. We were living in Rome then and had been talking for years about visiting Sardinia. We passed so many coves while spooling along the narrow coastal route that my younger son, Eddie, was kept constantly jabbing at the window. Both boys shouted every time they saw a new beach, each more perfect than the last.

Even more exciting to them than the endless stretches of sand was our resort, Forte Village. Imagine you are 13 or 11, and you find yourself surrounded by a soccer school, countless pools, an outdoor concert venue, and a long beach with guys who fluff your towels and deliver drinks. Yes, they were ecstatic. I was a little dazed. I had thought we might find ourselves roughing it, but Forte Village turned out to be a pocket of luxury in what was otherwise a pretty isolated region. Just outside the front gates, I had driven past a farmer puttering on his tractor, not far from fields of saffron and harvested hay. Flowering bushes and cacti laden with prickly pears lined the roads. One day I walked along the beach, past the boundary of the resort, to a place where trees pressed to the edge of the sand. Italian beaches are often jammed with private swimming clubs, but beyond Forte Village I saw no development.

For the next several days, we went beach-hunting. Eddie likes to quantify things, including happiness, so as we tested different ones, he invariably asked, “Which is your favorite?”

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Sa Colonia Beach – Chia -photo by Sakanatravel 2017

How to choose?
Some were hidden at the ends of little roads, where you would find cars crowded into $5-per-day parking lots. Others were rocky inlets just beneath the coastal road. The biggest had Italianized tiki bars and restaurants dishing out Sardinian cuisine (including some seafood). But rarely did we encounter crowded resorts like those of the Costa Smeralda.
We spent a morning at Chia Beach, a long curl of sand beside water clear enough that I could see my toes in it. A 16th-century stone watch-tower rose from a nearby outcropping, looming above the lines of rainbow-colored umbrellas.
When I stood still at Su Giudeu Beach, not far away, I felt tiny fish begin to slip around my feet. I fretted for all those long-ago generations of Sardinians penned up in the hills, surrounded by this enticing ring of blue water but fearful that slipping down for a dip might mean being impressed into slavery, or worse. Now the biggest hazard anyone faces here during the summer is finding a safe spot to park.
On another day, we went to Tuerredda, near the village of Domus de Maria. Famous for its snorkeling and stunning views, the beach has a broad sandy area where the mostly Italian sunbathers were crowded so tightly together that I found myself stepping between bodies. We worked our way down the rocks at one end of the beach, where we found a tiny cove we could have all to ourselves. Kayakers paddled nearby as we strapped on goggles and snorkels and dove down into the reefs and vegetation on the floor of the sea. Silver, green, and yellow tendrils swayed in the gentle tide, as schools of small fish moved around us, along with a few tuna. Afterward, tired, we walked over to the beachside restaurant and sat in the shade eating plates of gnocchi.
Again, Eddie asked, “Which is your favorite beach?” In southern Sardinia, it seemed, you really couldn’t go wrong.

After all the beach-hopping, I wanted a little alone time out of the sun. So I left the boys to their own devices at Forte Village and drove to the city of Cagliari to go exploring. Sardinia’s strategic position as a key Mediterranean port made the city a prize for numerous empires throughout history. Originally a Phoenician settlement, Cagliari has been ruled by everyone from the Carthaginians to the Romans, the Vandals to the Byzantines, the Aragonese to the Pisans to the House of Savoy, each wave of conquest pushing more of the island’s natives up into the mountains. Today, you can still feel the layers of cultures left behind — the vibe is as Spanish and North African as it is Italian.

D. H. Lawrence was also struck by Cagliari’s eclecticism when he came through nearly a century ago. “The city piles up lofty and almost miniature, and makes me think of Jerusalem: without trees, without cover, rising rather bare and proud, remote as if back in history, like a town in a monkish, illuminated missal,” he wrote in 1921, in Sea and Sardinia. “One wonders how it ever got there. And it seems like Spain — or Malta: not Italy.”
Lawrence’s Cagliari was surely more remote and inaccessible than the city I was approaching. I passed a refinery, driving along potholed highways that would feel familiar anywhere in Italy. But soon I turned onto narrower, older streets and continued up the hill described by Lawrence until I reached the Castello, the ancient district that rose centuries ago inside ramparts constructed as a fortification against invaders. I walked into Piazza Palazzo and immediately realized that it is a place where time has stopped.
It was a lazy morning, and a few tourists loitered outside the Cathedral of Santa Maria, which was built in the 13th century but has been renovated through the eras and now bears an opulence similar to that of the grand Baroque churches in Rome. I dropped a few coins into a donation box and descended the marble steps to the crypts, where relics of the martyrs of Cagliari are kept and members of the House of Savoy are buried. An acquaintance in Rome had warned me that Sardinia could not match Sicily as a repository of history, but I found the opposite to be true in Cagliari, where the lack of tourist foot traffic meant that walking the byways felt more like it must have centuries ago.
It was a cloudless, sunny day, but all I could see was a skinny strip of blue between the rows of old stone buildings pressing in on me. The shops were closed for the midday siesta, save for a grocery that sold fresh vegetables. The languor of the Castello made it easy to forget that this was once a formidable military installation. I climbed the steep steps of the Elephant Tower, the stone structure used by various empires to spot invaders coming into the port. Today, all I could see were tour boats, huge wind turbines in the distance, and the marshes at the edge of the city that are a refuge for flamingos and migratory birds.

Nearby, in Piazza Carlo Alberto, the sun drove a young couple onto a marble bench in the shade, where they devoured gelato and entangled themselves. None of the handful of people sipping cappuccinos outside a coffee bar seemed to pay them any attention, everyone basking in the timelessness of this place where laundry lines stretch above labyrinthine lanes. As much as I wanted to while away the afternoon here, I needed to see whether the boys had rampaged and pillaged Forte Village. When I returned I was relieved to find it still standing.

 

Casachia
Chia photo by Sakanatravel 2017

 

As I was swimming in the perfect Sardinian water one day, I realized that the electronic key to my rental car was in the back pocket of my trunks. Before it was destroyed by salt corrosion, I managed to drive the boys down to the southwestern tip of the coast, to the island of Sant’Antioco. There, the key died, and the rental company sent a guy named Massimo with a tow truck. He looped heavy straps around the car, hit the gears of his winch crane, and drove off into the sunset. It was early evening on a Saturday. No other rental cars were available anywhere until Monday. Luckily, we wouldn’t need one.
In the Byzantine era, Sant’Antioco was surrounded by fortified defense walls, but today its coastline is best known for its picturesque inlets, like the breathtaking Nido dei Passeri, with stony brown cliffs that tumble down to the sea. There are beaches everywhere, including isolated coves like Cala Lunga.

And there is the fish. For centuries, the waters around the island have been famous for their tuna. Though over shing has diminished the stock, the annual mattanza, or tuna slaughter, in May and June is still an important local event.

As I was swimming in the perfect Sardinian water one day, I realized that the electronic key to my rental car was in the back pocket of my trunks. Before it was destroyed by salt corrosion, I managed to drive the boys down to the southwestern tip of the coast, to the island of Sant’Antioco. There, the key died, and the rental company sent a guy named Massimo with a tow truck. He looped heavy straps around the car, hit the gears of his winch crane, and drove off into the sunset. It was early evening on a Saturday. No other rental cars were available anywhere until Monday. Luckily, we wouldn’t need one.
In the Byzantine era, Sant’Antioco was surrounded by fortified defense walls, but today its coastline is best known for its picturesque inlets, like the breathtaking Nido dei Passeri, with stony brown cliffs that tumble down to the sea. There are beaches everywhere, including isolated coves like Cala Lunga. And there is the fish. For centuries, the waters around the island have been famous for their tuna. Though over shing has diminished the stock, the annual mattanza, or tuna slaughter, in May and June is still an important local event.

article by Jim Yardley first appeared on Travel and Leisure Magazine 6th May 2017

http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/beach-vacations/sardinia-beach-trip