Roberto Marongiu

Roberto Marongiu fotografato da Giuseppe Ungari

Roberto Marongiu - photo by Giuseppe Ungari

AN INTERVIEW TO ROBERTO MARONGIU – FLAVOURS FROM SARDINIA

Walking along Cagliari streets, during one of my visits there, I felt attracted by the shop window of “Sapori di Sardegna” . I went in and I was particularly struck with the typical products I could taste. In the meanwhile I met both Roberto Marongiu, the owner of the shop, and his brother Giorgio who founded it many years ago.

Roberto, when I visited your shop I could taste various products from Sardinia……..I think one of the selling points of “Sapori di Sardegna”, the shop founded by your brother  Giorgio 10 years ago, is just the possibility of tasting typical products.…

I agree with youi. I think it is very important to let customers taste the products they want to buy. I really believe that the best thing to do is to let people discover the traditions of our territory by tasting a typical dish.

What are the main products on sale?

There are different ones, all accurately selected and produced by people who have also become good friends in the course of time. Producers and  buyers have a relation of  close collaboration and our shop is an intermediary between sellers and customers. We sell various kinds of cold meat, cheese, jam, Sardinian wines and spirits, but also pieces of pottery which are exported all over the world.

How do you choose the best products?

I trust producers I have long relied on… I place my orders to people who guarantee natural products and a careful process of production, I taste what I buy and I always look for the best quality for my customers.

What kind of people visit your shop?

People of all kinds…. many foreigners, but also Italian people who want to taste specific products or want to buy a present to friends and relatives. I think  this is just one of the positive aspects of my job: the opportunity of meeting new people every day trying and find out their tastes according to their nationality, character and way of life…

What kind of food do foreigners like?

Any kind of food, provided that it is Italian cooking! But it also depends on nationality; Japanese people, for instance, love Bottarga and red tuna fish, while Spanish people like pasta very much. Every people have their own preferences…and it is funny and curious to find them out!

What would you advise to a foreigner who happened to  visit your shop?

I would absolutely let him taste “Fiore Sardo” cheese which is included in our welcome sampling, even with a little bit of wild pears or strawberry tree jam.

And what about the tastes of Italian people?

Also in this case, it depends. Italian people coming to my shop usually taste and like all typical products such as cheese, cooked meats, preserves and wine and they often can’t help bringing what they  have tasted to their homes: a bottle of good wine or some typical cheese.

What do you advise them to taste?

My advice to Italian people is to taste a piece of “carasau” bread sprinkled with a fine delicious  oil… this match of products always has a good effect on both Italian and foreign customers.

You do your job with great enthusiasm, it’s like a mission for you…

Sure, whenever I meet people who want to know our traditions, I like the idea of being able to let them experience the flavors, the scents and the fragrances of Sardinian territory. I think it is important to have my land known in a funny and friendly way by a sampling and a talk with people who visit my shop.

Can you tell me about your typical day at work?

It is very amusing! I meet  a lot of different people from all over the world in a day. I can speak many foreign  languages and this helps me communicating with visitors. As soon as I meet a customer, I suggest him to taste something, as it is the best way to attract and involve those who enter here.

If you want to meet Roberto, his sister-in-law Teresa and Giorgio visit  their shop “Sapori di Sardegna” at 1 Vico dei Mille, or at 6 Via Baylle, in Cagliari.

www.saporidisardegna.com