Su Gallu in all its glory. Photo by Ivano Atzori.
You don't know from cheese until you get on a plane, fly over to Sardinia, and eat this su gallu stuff. So what if it’s illegal? Honestly, who the fuck are you, Mr. European-Union-World-Police-Guy, to tell me what I can or can’t eat?
Luckily we know some real Sardinians (these people are famous for taking zero bullshit) who are still making and serving this scandalous cheese. Our friend Gavino has a farm high in the mountains, so we went up there recently to take the temperature of today’s illegal Sardinian cheese situation.
Vice: So give us the textbook definition of su gallu.
Gavino: Simply put, it’s a fermented newborn baby goat’s stomach. It’s like super-jazzed-up cheese.
When we kill a baby goat, we don’t throw nothing out. The stomach is naturally full of the mother’s milk. I take it, I sew the guts shut, and I hang it and then wait for the milk to harden into cheese.
And how much disgusting, repulsive time does that take?
A couple of months. It’s very important that the goat is less than six weeks old. If it’s older, it has started to eat grass and feed and there won’t be enough milk in its stomach. The more milk there is, the better the cheese turns out.
How do you serve su gallu?
Just like cheese. You put it on the table as it is and you open it up with a knife. It looks like cheese because the stomach has hardened into a crust. It smells though. Very pungent, just like it's taste. Women and tourists often have to leave the table when we open it.
Could you buy this in shops before it became illegal?
How would I know? I've always been up here, and people have always come up here to buy it from me. I didn't even know it was illegal. We don't care about these things: we like it and we're going to eat it.