Agricultural food production
Among the unique agricultural food products from the territory of Ittiri the artichoke undoubtedly stands out, in its “spiny artichoke of Sardinia” variety, which in 2011 was recognised at European level as a protected designation of origin (PDO). The favourable pedoclimatic and morphological conditions of this area enable a product which is distinguishable not only by its appearance, but also by its organoleptic characteristics such as its limited astringency, a pleasant taste, the result of a balanced synthesis of bitterness and sweetness, and the tenderness of its pulp favouring consumption raw. Its production in this area involves around 150 firms with about 600 hectares, 6 million euros in direct sales and additionally double the turnover.
“Citta dell’olio” or “City of olive oil”, Ittiri preserves its ancient calling as the “land of olive groves”: the harvest of olives and supply of oil for family consumption is a widespread secondary occupation, which remains in the region, beyond and above its economic benefits, as a response to the generosity of the land and fidelity to the authenticity of the product. In recent years the production of extra olive oil has experienced a remarkable boost: the prizes awarded to local producers organised in association have been numerous and of a high standard, at around 15, which have begun to produce for the national market.
The union of ancient traditions and modern technologies have allowed Ittiri to also assert itself in the field of the dairy industry. Its strength in the production of cheese is without doubt the dairy milk “Caseificio Lait”, an important industry that unites around 400 breeders from the area of Ittiri and neighbouring towns. In the dairy, pecorino cheese of various types is produced, among which is the “romano”, which is entirely exported to the United States. It is also possible to distinguish, in the field of cheese production, the products of some breeders, among which is a particular unpasteurised cheese, from raw milk, produced in a short chain, which has had important recognition and won numerous awards.
The industrious hands of the women of Ittiri express themselves with great skill when it comes to the various confectionery industries. Among the typical desserts, prepared mainly for the major holidays, we recall sos pirichittos (also known as bones of the dead), sos papassinos and sas tericcasa, mainly prepared in Autumn, to celebrate the feast of saints and the dead. The piricchittos of Ittiri are among the most popular and are made from a dough made solely from durum wheat semolina, extra virgin olive oil and eggs. Its decoration in white icing which forms a criss-cross pattern is a typical feature. Also, highly esteemed among the desserts are the bianchini, sos amarettos and sos biscottos, a soft biscuit similar to “ladyfingers”, which are soft and often feature a scored surface.