Ham, sausage, cheese and other diary products
Gairo's ham and sausage preserve a natural taste of holm oak forests, of scrubs of myrtle, strawberry tree and lentisk, in which fruits the territory is rich. Actually, the pigs, from which the products are made, are still raised without giving them industrial feed (unless there are some particular climatic adversities, which are not frequent), but the feed that grows in the countryside, which makes the animals' meat assume an extraordinary flavour, that remains even after preparation of ham and sausages.
Of course, the local varied gastronomy couldn't exist without such a rich variety of cheeses: Pecorino cheese, cottage cheese, “su casu agedu” (sour cheese), “su casu marsu” (rotten cheese). The last one, transformed in cream by small worms, is very savoury, sharp and rich in live lactic ferments. This soft and creamy cheese is similar to butter, ready to melt: it is often eaten for snack, spread over pistokku (a kind of bread), accompanied with a glass of wine. And of course, we shouldn't forget about sweet cottage cheese, fresh as well as mature, eaten with bread, or used as a dressing in a typical Sard minestrone (soup), that in this way is enriched with nutrients and becomes tastier, or even to prepare sweets and cakes. Among the sweets, containing cottage cheese, “is pardulas” can be mentioned. The sour cheese is eaten with sugar and lemon, assuming, thus, delicious and mellower taste. This combination of bitter-sweet tastes is often used in the cooking various sweets, among which “is pardulas” are.
Even today our shepherds in their folds offer to their guests as a sign of hospitality first of all “su casu agedu” and “su casu ‘e fitta”. The first one is like low-fat yogurt à la Sard, while the second one is nothing else but the salted first one. The second one is used as a condiment, especially for the minestrones and soups, sometimes together with lard and pork underbelly, treated like ham and cut very finely, so that they melt while being cooked. “Su callu” (rennet) that is normally used to coagulate milk for producing then its by-products, is eaten like “su casu marsu” and has also a sharp taste. It's got from a suckling kid's stomach, which is hung and kept cold for a more or less long period, until the ferments held in the stomach's mucous membrane make the milk into a creamy cheese.