Drawing on ingredients from the mountains to the sea, Corsican cuisine will likely be a highlight of your trip. In the interior, specialities include fine charcuterie and hearty meat dishes like veal with olives or wild boar stew, while coastal restaurants specialise in local lobster and fresh-caught fish. For a seductive Corsican snack, be sure to try beignets de brocciu, sugar-sprinkled, lemon-scented fritters filled with ricotta-like Brocciu cheese.
Gourmands will delight in the flavours and textures of Corsican cheeses, from tangy Tomme Corse (semi-hard cheese made from goat’s or ewe’s milk) to the king of the island’s cheeses, Brocciu, a crumbly white ewe’s- or goat’s-milk cheese that can only be eaten frais (fresh) – a real creamy treat – between December and late June. Sec (dried) or demi-sec (half-dried) are summertime’s consolation prizes. Consume Corsica’s signature cheese and revel in the knowledge that Brocciu is the only French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) cheese made from the whey of the milk.
Prisuttu (ham matured for 18 months), lonzu (tender smoked pork fillet, best tasted in springtime), coppa (shoulder, air-dried for five months), seasonal figatellu (pork liver sausage, always U-shaped, dried and smoked over a chestnut-wood fire, eaten November to April), salamu (salami), terrine de sanglier (wild-boar pâté); wherever you go, you’ll find a wide array of cured meats – several seasonal – made from free-range pigs that feed on chestnuts.
From canistrelli (biscuits made with almonds, walnuts, lemon or aniseed) and frappe (little fritters made from chestnut flour) to fiadone (a light flan made with Brocciu cheese, lemon and egg) and falculelli (fried Brocciu cheese served on a chestnut leaf), Corsica’s dessert menu is sure to tickle your sweet tooth. Oh, and there are devilish ice creams too, with original flavours such as myrtle, Brocciu or chestnut. Glaces Geronimi in Sagone 37km north of Ajaccio, is the island’s most prestigious ice-cream maker.
Wine & Liqueurs
Corsica has nine AOC-labelled wines (including one for sweet Muscat wine) and countless fruit liqueurs, including the popular aperitif Cap Corse Mattei (out of this world thrown in the pot with mussels). Localities to watch out for are Patrimonio, Cap Corse, Ajaccio, Sartène and Porto-Vecchio.
La Balagne and L’Alta Rocca are renowned for extremely aromatic olive oils, available direct from producers.
Fish lovers will be in heaven. Lobster, oysters, mussels, squid, sea bass…Corsica has them all, but stick to reputable fish restaurants.