Sardinian sweets: 7 desserts to satisfy the sweetest tooth

It’s safe to say that until very recently, my knowledge of Italian sweets – particularly Sardinian sweets – and pastries was fairly limited. Aside from Tiramisu, I’d tried a creamy Cannoli, Amaretto soaked Amaretti and the delightfully moreish Baci® Perugina® chocolates.

Having spent a considerable amount of time with Italians in the last few months has however changed all this. Known for its big food culture, I’ve experienced a variety of new dishes that can only be described as gastronomic heaven. Crostata di frutta, Sfogliatella, pastries native to Vicenza, and sweet treats from Mulino Biancho and Grisbi.

I’m inspired to find out more about the offerings in Sardinia with a pending trip to the island. I want to find out what Sardinian desserts the locals like to indulge in, and whether it can satisfy my own sweet tooth.

The 7 best Sardinian desserts

—01

Papassinos

Calling all cookie lovers. The generously sized Papassinos are a Sardinian traditional biscuit, typically prepared for the celebration of All Saints Day on 1 November. Variations differ according to the regions of the island, but common ingredients include almonds, walnuts and raisins. Toppings of Papassinos can also range from plain to covered with icing sugar, meaning you’ll have to try every variety to see which one you like best.

Sweet tooth rating ***

sardinian sweets - papassinos
sardinian sweets - Tiliccas

—02

Tiliccas

Tiliccas are a traditional dessert that originates from the north-west region of Sardinia. A dessert made from very thin sheets of pastry, like Papassinos, they are also prepared in celebration for All Saints Day. The dough of the tiliccas remains the same, but the fillings can differ depending on the area of the island. These include sapa (an Italian syrup made from cooked down grapes), cocoa, raisins and almonds.

Sweet tooth rating ***

 

Learn about Sardinia gastronomy from the ones who know it best, the locals. A guided tour is a fun and educational way to discover Sardinia, and great for solo travelers, families and couples.

—03

Sebadas

A crunchy flaky pastry puff, this Sardinian dessert was once eaten as a starter. Fillings range from fresh sheep’s cheese or ricotta, mixed with lemon or orange zest and different herbs. Sebadas are fried and served warm with honey or sugar on the top. For the more diet-conscious traveler, the pastry can also be baked. Sweet, gooey in the middle and decadent, a sebada is everything a dessert should be.

Sweet tooth rating *****

sardinian sweets - Sebadas
sardinian sweets - Arantzada

—04

Arantzada

Unlike ingredients that feature in a traditional cake, Arantzada is composed of only three things: orange peel, honey and almonds. A firm staple at Sardinian weddings and christenings, the orange peel is soaked in water and then slowly cooked in honey (usually lavender). It’s later covered with almonds to give the cake an additional crunch-like texture.

Sweet tooth rating ****

“Sweet, gooey in the middle and decadent, a sebada is everything a dessert should be.”

—05

Sospiros

Sospiros are native to a small town in the northern part of the island called Ozieri. These sweet balls are made from sugar, almonds and honey and are finished off with a healthy coating of icing. Its intense sweetness is offset however by its size, as sospiros tend to be small.

Sweet tooth rating ***

sardinian sweets - Sospiro
sardinian sweets - Gatto

—06

Gattò

A mix between a cake and an almond brittle, a small slice of Gattò may just bring forward your next dentist appointment. Packed with almonds, sugar and lemons, this sweet tooth rating is totally off the chart.

Sweet tooth rating ***** (**)!

—07

Pardule

Last on the list is probably my favorite type of cake…one that is made with cheese. Pardule resembles something of a mini cheese soufflé and is traditionally served at Easter. Round pastry moulds are filled with fresh ricotta cheese and flavoured with orange or lemon zest. What better way to sample a taste of the island than with one, or three, of these cheesy delights.

Sweet tooth rating **

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sardinian sweets - Pardule

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52 Comments

  1. Mariella

    The Sebadas one looks AMAZING! I am not a fan of too sweet treats, but this one looks like I would enjoy it along with a cup of coffee 🙂 but desert works for me too! – Mariella

    Reply
    • Lisa

      I know right! I have a real sweet tooth, so I can imagine how good the rest are 😀

  2. Natalie

    Aren’t these all wonderful! We love trying new foods when we travel and of course sweets are high on the list! We just have to get to Sardinia – so much to see and this food!!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      I hope you do get there Natalie 🙂 There’s so many delicious things to try, but save room for these desserts!

  3. Jennifer

    Like you, my knowledge didn’t go much beyond cannolis. These sweets all look so delicious I would have to do a lot of walking because I know I would want to eat them all! I think cookies for breakfast would have to be allowed:)

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Cookies for breakfast can be the norm in Italy! Italians love their sweets in the morning 😀

  4. Abigail Sinsona

    I’ve read your post about Sardinia a few days ago. The photos were enough to make me want to go because the views are truly breathtaking. Given that I have a sweet tooth, this is one more reason to go! I love the hefty list of dessert options. I love cannolis too but I am open to trying all kinds of desserts!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      They’re all pretty good, but I think the sebadas are my favourite! There’s too many nice things to try 🙂

  5. Lydia Smith

    Lisa, job well done. A whole adult like me salivating over a blog post. I just can’t decide which will my favorite.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Haha you’re so welcome Lydia! Always happy to make readers salivate while reading my posts! 😀

  6. Kim

    This is the first time I’ve read anything about Sardinian food/sweets! Very informative post, all of these options look amazing! The third one, sebada, caught my attention the most. I love puff pastries and how it’s sweet and savory, yum!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Oh yes, they’re my favourite too! I really have a sweet tooth and all these look amazing 😀

  7. jo

    Hey Lisa. This article definitely made me hungry! Can’t really pick my favourite! Never tried one of them, but would definitely try them all when I would visit Sardinia. Gatto looks like a great present to give away.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      You’re welcome Jo! I always love making readers hungry haha! Gatto are great for gifts and the occasional family get-together!

  8. Sonja

    Your photos of food are beautiful! It all looks so tasty and most of it I’ve never tried before. I’d love to go to Sardinia and try ALL of these!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      And I really hope you do get there! Everything is so delicious, wear something loose ?

  9. Diana

    Oh my gosh, these desserts all look exotic (probably because I’ve never heard of them before). I want to try them all! I used to have the biggest sweet tooth when I was younger so I would’ve been in HUGE trouble had I gone then! 😀

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Haha, I know what you mean Diana, I’m exactly the same! I had to stop myself from eating everything; it’s too moreish 🙂

  10. Umberta

    I never tried any of these! And I’m Italian! ahah! but I’m not from Sardinia, so then every region has its very own specialties 😉 But in the south of Italy there are similar sweets although they’re called in a different way!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Haha, that’s really funny! But now I’ve been around a lot of Italy, I understand how the food really varies between regions. So, even though you’re Italian, you’ve got to visit Sardinia and try these for yourself!

  11. Bee

    Gosh these are so interesting. I like how you included a bit of their history and story behind them and i enjoyed reading this post. I’m not a sweet person but I think no.7 sounds about reasonable to me lol.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      That’s still good to read – I always try to convert my readers to at least consider it 😉

  12. Tracey Kifford

    Ooh those sebadas look amazing! Perfect for my sweet tooth ? When we went to Sardinia I never saw anything like these available – we always look for a baker to try something ‘traditional’ back at our accommodation with a cup of (very British!) tea. Definitely would have picked sebadas …

    Reply
    • Lisa

      I’m so with you Tracey, and I think that sebadas would be the perfect accompaniment with a nice cup of English tea 🙂

  13. James

    I’ve never seen or heard of any of these Sardinian desserts before! If I could choose only one of these I think I’d go for the Sospiros. Sugar, almonds and honey covered in icing sounds like the perfect sugar rush! Those guys in Ozieri invented a good dessert with this one!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      I know right! I think you’re the only one so far who’s keen on the sugar almonds, they seem to be way too sweet for most!

  14. Jenn and Ed Coleman

    Those pardules look amazing. I love sweets and cheese. The Sebadas look like sopapillas with the fried sweet dough. All of these look so yummy I can forgive you for making me say seven Sardinian sweets over and over in my head.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      haha, I’m so glad to read that! They’re not the easiest names to pronounce, but they really are delicious 😀

  15. yukti

    I was never knowing of Sardinian sweets and really thankful to you for introducing this. As I am always a sweet lover and explore new types of sweets from all over the world this post is so yummy. Papassinos and Tilliccas looks tasty and appealing too. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      You’re welcome! These sweets are really good if you have a sweet tooth, you just need to know when to stop!

  16. My Travelogue by Bhushavali

    Many of these look so similar to Indian sweets! Esp Sebadas looks almost same as Sweet Somasi, a South Indian dessert! I’ve love to eat them all, but right now my doc has asked me reduce my sweet intake! *in tears*!!! 😛

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Lol that’s a shame, and nice to find out there’s a comparison somewhere else in the world!

  17. Jordan Sinclair

    I’ve tried a limited amount of sweets as I don’t have a seeet tooth. Similar to you I’ve tried a limited amount of Italian dessert and pastries like tiramisu and canollis. I would definitely try these though, they look interesting. Trying new things is exciting

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Gosh I wish I didn’t have a sweet tooth either, but I can assure you that these Sardinian sweets are very good! Maybe you’ll try it one day 🙂

  18. Hanna Jobes

    I have SUCH a sweet tooth and all of these look amazing. I must try all of them! I follow all your posts, and think you deserve more recognition for your posts. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Aww thank you, that’s so nice of you to say! Keep tuned for more as I have plenty more posts coming!

  19. Tara

    This is a great list mainly because I’ve never heard of any of these Italian treats before. I love it. You mentioned Sfogliatell in your introduction. I recently learned what this heavenly deliciousness is… SO WONDERFUL!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Mamma mia, sfogliatelli is delicious, and I always feel guilty eating 2, but it’s so good! So glad you enjoyed the post x

  20. Ketki

    Omg your photos are making me crave and salivate for a dessert rightaway. I have never heard about these sweets before and I so excited to try them whenever i go there! Yum 🙂

    Reply
    • Lisa

      They’re so good, especially the ones with cheese! I loved trying every one of them; hopefully you’ll enjoy them too x

  21. Rothessa

    Haven’t tried these. It looks delicious though! Whew! i only tried Tiramisu ? Thanks for this might try in the future

    Reply
    • Lisa

      I hope you do, they’re delicious!

  22. Nathan

    I have an absolutely incredible sweet tooth – I always get ranted for having my caramel milk tea with 100% sugar level at KOI! Great to see the wide variety of sweet delicacies Italy has to offer, beyond the stereotypical cannolis. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      You’re welcome! Most people think of cannoli but they’re typically Sicilian. Sardinian desserts are a little different 🙂

  23. Aisha

    Wow these all look DIVINE! I don’t have a big sweet tooth but when I see gorgeous looking treats like this my mouth can’t help but water. Yum!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Trust me, they’re all really good!

  24. Verena

    OMG! This looks so delicious. I’ve been to Sardinian for just one day, but I haven’t seen these sweets there and I guess I missed out something! Should definitely come back 😀

    Reply
    • Lisa

      You must go back! The desserts are just one thing that’s great about Sardinia.

  25. Binny Marwaha

    boy o boy! one thing i know for sure, I must spend at least 7 days at Sardinia and try each of those desserts each day. 🙂 These all look inviting, especially for a person like me with a weakness for something sweet!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      They’re all so good, and small in size, meaning one isn’t enough!

  26. Shreya Saha

    I want to have some Sebadas for sure. It looks so delicious. Even the orange taste in Arantzada seems to be really good. Tiliccas look like pasta, isn’t so? I like sweets which are not very sugary. Checking your sweet tooth rating, I think I would like Pardule the most.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Sebadas are my favourite too! All the sweets are good, but these top the list

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