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Sa Pompìa: the unique citrus of Sardinia 0 Comments

Sa Pompìa: the unique citrus of Sardinia

In mid-November the Competition for 2019 Best Panettone in the World took place in Rome, meaning that the panettone is now belonging not only to Milan's history and tradition, where it originates but to the whole Italian's culinary tradition.

There were 165 confectioners competing: some of them came from France, Spain and also from China, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Mrs Vanna Manca, a 54-year-old woman from Sassari who has been teaching the "art of yeast care and use" for 16 years, took part with her panettone to which she added chocolate and pompia peel. Her cake was ranked among the Best 20 panettone, leaving behind her another hundred and forty-five panettone creators. But what is her unique ingredient?

A Sardinian excellence, presided by "Slow-food" that assigned it its "individuality", "Sa Pompìa" is a variety of citrus growing exclusively in Sardinia, in the municipalities of Siniscola (80 km, an hour's drive from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites), of Posada, Torpè and Orosei, in the province of Nuoro.

It looks more like a cedar than a lemon, being as large as a grapefruit, but born from a thorny tree recalling the orange. Its shape is inelegant, with rough and irregular peel, hence called "citrus x monstrousa", though it is great as a natural medication and it's also perfect for preparing delicious pastries. 

Sa Pompìa is stated to be one of the rarest fruits in the world, a curious crossbreed that belongs to the group of citrus lemon, spontaneously born and grown, offering in late autumn fruits of a bright yellow as big as a grapefruit that may even reach 700 grams of weight. The raw fruit is inedible but once cooked with honey it is used to make pastry by cutting thin candied peel and almonds, as well as marmalade, ice cream, granites, sorbet and also digestif liqueurs. Since the preparation involves a lot of time-consuming work, Sa Pompìa’s pastry is considered for special festivities such as weddings, baptisms, and confirmations.

"... in spring we'll go to our countries, where the grass is as high as sea water ... and we'll eat the soft cheese cooked with honey, and the cake made with candied citrons." (Grazia Deledda)

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Written by Daniela Toti

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