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The Sardinian Diet

Three and a Half Meals at Su Gologone
  • Su Gologone

    The Terrasse at Bar del Tablao

  • Su Gologone

    Focacceria Il Nido del Pane

  • Su Gologone

    Snacks and place settings at Su Gologone

  • Su Gologone

    House pastas and fresh ricotta

  • Su Gologone

    The wine bar

  • Su Gologone

    Details from the restaurant

  • Su Gologone

    Bar del Tablao

  • Su Gologone

    Desserts

  • Su Gologone

    The garden

  • Su Gologone

    View of Cala Luna beach (Photo: © Xiaoyi Liu)

CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

Su Gologone is set in the countryside outside the town of Oliena, in the province of Nuoro, considered the wildest and most unspoiled section of an island that’s hardly overflowing with tourists to begin with.

WHY GO

For the quality of the landscapes in all their harshness and diversity — from the Gennargentu mountains to the beaches of the Gulf of Orosei, through the forests and sacred caves of Supramonte’s Lanaittu Valley. Prepare yourself for some sublime hiking, and some incredible, well-earned meals.

HOW

The town of Oliena is located two hours by car from the Cagliari-Elmas (CAG) airport, or about an hour from the Olbia (OLB) airport, and it’s another six miles from town to the hotel.

TABLET TIP

Spend an afternoon on the fantastic beaches and hidden coves in the Gulf of Orosei, preferably during the off-season, and another tasting Nepente, the famous Sardinian red wine, in Cannonau.

Oliena, August, 2013

Opened in 1967 by “Peppedu” Palimodde and his wife Pasqua, Su Gologone has, from the beginning, revolved around its restaurant. Today, the Pallimoddes’ daughter Giovanna is at the helm, and with the addition of some attractive new junior suites and an impressive art collection, the place is looking better than ever. But still, even after all these decades, the focus remains first of all on what’s bubbling away in the kitchen’s saucepans. The hotel offers any number of ways to stay active — hiking in the countryside, working up a sweat in their modern gym, paddling a kayak around a nearby lake — but the greatest endurance test of all is one of their six-course dinners. Fortunately, before you get to the main event, there’s a full day’s eating to do, all in the name of preparation.

Breakfast (murzu)
After driving an hour or two from one of the two nearest airports, Olbia or Cagliari, you can’t help but arrive hungry at Su Gologone. Once there, drop your bags and head straight to the breakfast buffet. This is not your typical spread of sweat-beaded cheese slices and stale croissants. Expect almond cakes, pastries stuffed with panna, local honey, artisanal yogurts, pecorino made from Sardinian sheep’s milk, prosciutto e salsiccia, and of course proper, grown-up coffee to wash everything down. It’s all served on a terrace ringed with flowers, overlooking a bright blue spring-fed swimming pool and, beyond that, the olive green of the Barbagian countryside.

Lunch (pràngiu)
After a dutiful visit to the spring that feeds the carafes on the tables, make your way to the dining room dedicated to the Novecento illustrator Edina Altara, where you’ll be introduced to the flavors that will become familiar over the course of your visit: antipasti of bursting-fresh ricotta, grated pecorino, wild fennel pesto, stuffed eggplant, peppers and marinated artichoke; a primi piatti that involves a whole heap of octopi; and a secondi of fowl, accompanied by the famous pane carasau, the crusty bread that’s as fine as a sheet of manuscript paper yet somehow as wholesome as a Sardinian folk song.

Break (pàusa)
In order to aid in digestion, and prevent an unscheduled nap, you’re free to ramble around the property, from the quiet garden to the old focacceria, where the bakers continue to make bread using traditional methods. Consider easing into the next meal with a ham and olive-oil tasting in the fifteenth-century cellar. Otherwise, there’s always the prospect of a long hike through the dry Mediterranean brush, trudging in espadrilles along the ankle-bending slopes of Monte Corrasi. For motivation, choose one of the beaches on the Gulf of Orosei as your goal (try Cala Luna or Cala Fuili) and take that catnap after all, lying in the sun.

Aperitif (aperitivu)
The hotel’s Terrace of Dreams is the place to go for a spectacular sunset, best enjoyed with a glass of white wine. (In 1966, John Huston shot scenes for his movie The Bible on the terrace, with Peter O’Toole and Ava Gardner.) If the Terrace of Dreams sounds a bit too saccharine, the Bar del Tablao serves warm appetizers that all primarily act as vehicles for outstanding artichoke sauces, accompanied by myrtle or helichrysum liqueurs, or wines from their imposing list. Try to pull your attention away from those views of the Supramonte mountains and focus on the question at hand: to order the Villa di Chiesa vermentino, from the Porto Pino valley, or the equally good late-harvest Capichera from the nearby Ragnedda brothers.

Dinner (xena)
Tempting though it may be to start early, it’s best to wait a while before pouring yourself some Napente d’Oliena, a Sardinian grenache (cannonau), bottled by Gabriele D’Annunzio. By eight o’clock, the acorn-fed suckling pigs (porceddu) roasting over the fire should be just about ready to eat. Their rich flavor is a perfect complement to the wine. These are the sorts of rustic flavors that the region’s reputation is founded on, and they’re irresistible. The wise man loosens his belt as the servers, dressed in red and black, arrive bearing orecchiette in wild boar sauce, culurgiones with herbs and mutton, maccarones de punzu in fresh tomato sauce, and generous cuts of goat, lamb or wild boar.

Save about three cubic inches of stomach space for the honey sebada, a sort of fried ravioli, dusted in sugar and stuffed with pecorino. It’s one of many desserts. Three hours after the meal began, the table is no longer groaning under the weight of all the food; now it’s the diners doing the groaning. Some knew what they were in for, traveling with their own antacids. Others, less well equipped, wander like lost souls into the night, pretending they’re slipping out for a look at the Milky Way.

Dante Nolleau

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CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

Su Gologone is set in the countryside outside the town of Oliena, in the province of Nuoro, considered the wildest and most unspoiled section of an island that’s hardly overflowing with tourists to begin with.

WHY GO

For the quality of the landscapes in all their harshness and diversity — from the Gennargentu mountains to the beaches of the Gulf of Orosei, through the forests and sacred caves of Supramonte’s Lanaittu Valley. Prepare yourself for some sublime hiking, and some incredible, well-earned meals.

HOW

The town of Oliena is located two hours by car from the Cagliari-Elmas (CAG) airport, or about an hour from the Olbia (OLB) airport, and it’s another six miles from town to the hotel.

TABLET TIP

Spend an afternoon on the fantastic beaches and hidden coves in the Gulf of Orosei, preferably during the off-season, and another tasting Nepente, the famous Sardinian red wine, in Cannonau.

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