One of the ways to best get to know Corsica is through its delicious and diverse cuisine. Like the island itself, it is partially a product of French and Italian influences, though it has its own unique elements which you can only find in Corsica.
As with both previously mentioned nations, the Corsicans also take their food very seriously; therefore, not only are restaurant standards high, it is also common place to spend hours on end savouring a multiple-course lunch or dinner accompanied by a few glasses of wine. Corsican cooking is for the most part very earthy and rustic: taking inspiration from the land by filling its dishes with fruits, vegetables, cured meats and cheeses. Here we give you a short introduction to the gastronomy, as well as recommending some fantastic local boutique stays: perfect for sleeping off some hearty sampling of the Corsican cuisine.
Served with either pasta or polenta, meat dishes are extremely popular in Corsica, with the most famous perhaps being the civet de sanglier. This wild boar casserole also contains red wine, onions, garlic, chestnuts, carrots and fennel. Other popular dishes include veau aux olives (veal with olives), a stew of veal with olives, wine, tomatoes, onions and herbs, as well as Agneau Corse (Corsican lamb), slow roasted with garlic, rosemary and potatoes.
On the coast you will find a number of restaurants serving fish and seafood, however, it has become more expensive as fish stocks dwindle in the Mediterranean. Among the delicacies served are red mullet (rouget), crayfish (langoustine) and sea bream (loup de mer), while oysters caught on the east coast are also recommended.
In the mountains especially, dishes are based around the locally produced dairy products. One of the most popular dairy products is brocciu, a ewe’s cheese, which is similar to goat’s cheese. Brousse, an alternative made from cow’s milk, is also available during the summer.
Cured meats are extremely popular, especially in starter dishes, and there is a wide variety produced and offered for sale on the island. Among the varieties you can try in Corsica are prisutu (smoked ham), salamu (salami-style sausage), valetta (cheek), figatellu (liver sausage), boudin (black pudding) and the unusual fromage de tete (head cheese), made from seasoned pigs’ brains.
As well as traditional savoury dishes, there are also many traditional Corsican desserts, and these tend to be egg or milk based. Among the delights on offer are beignets, doughnuts made from chestnut flour and sometimes stuffed with cheese, and fiadone, a cheesecake made from brocciu, chestnut flour, lemon zest and eau de vie.
Where to stay – Castel Brando
A gorgeous historic manor on the untamed beauty of the Cap Corse, Castel Brando is just a short stroll to the picturesque town of Erbalunga, where you’ll find plenty of authentic eateries serving tasty local fare.