We wander around the beautiful little town of San Pantaleo, sampling its wonderful hot chocolates and intriguing attractions.
If you’re staying in the North-East of Sardinia, a morning out I’d highly recommend is a visit to the lovely village of San Pantaleo, near Arzachena. The most beautiful setting on market day, its rustic stone buildings, quiet roads and backdrop of granite mountains is like taking a step back in time.
San Pantaleo in early July
The village dates back to 800AD and as well as a few cafés and restaurants, there’s a handful of shops, a couple of hotels and a pretty little church. Every Thursday there is a wonderful market in the village square in front of the church; the perfect place to pick up some of the local produce.
The inhabitants are particularly proud of their roots and keenly protect their traditions. In the area, expert artisans carry on the ancient arts of ceramics, wood and iron, exporting their products all over the world. A few contemporary Sardinian artists and designers have also been attracted here, adding an interesting modern twist to this lovely Sardinian village.
Reflection in a hand-made, mirrored table top for sale in one of a number of interesting shops
During my visit to Sardinia last September, it was coming to the end of another lovely day spent exploring San Pantaleo, when we decided to have a quick coffee by the square. I walked into a bar and ordered two shakaratas - Italian coffee with ice, shaken like a cocktail – the perfect caffeine fix in hot weather.
Sitting down at an outside table, we waited for our drinks while enjoying the gentle warmth of the late afternoon sunshine. Now shakaratas are normally served in a glass so I was very surprised to see our drinks arrive in a cup and saucer. This wasn’t cold coffee it was hot and looked more like chocolate. It was then that I took my first ever sip of ciccolata calda which can only be described as heaven in a cup! The thickest, creamiest hot chocolate drink you’ll ever find. It’s so thick you can stand a spoon in it. Next to this, all other hot chocolates fade into insignificance.
While a late afternoon in September is still very warm to me, to Sardinians it’s a little chilly, I’m told, so in my terrible accent shakarata was heard as ciccolata and I have never been so glad to have been misunderstood. If you’d like to try making it you can find the recipe here.
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