Rich in monuments, Corsica is equally rich in culture and in artisanal and living traditions in which cuisine holds an important place.
Prisuttu, delicious lean ham from half-wild pigs raised on acorns or chestnuts. Figatelli, liver sausage, chine-based coppa. Chestnut polenta to accompany your boar stew. For cheese, try the chèvre and the brocciu de brebis. This is an authentic and generous cuisine.
Along the seashore, you’ll treat yourself to rock lobster, fish and aziminu, Corsican bouillabaisse. Eight AOC designations compete with crus rich in flavor and aroma. Don’t hesitate to knock on the doors of wine cellars. Corsican winemakers will be thrilled to introduce you to their productions. A saluta!
It was the Greeks who introduced the vine to Corsica about 2,500 years ago; the island’s wines have been appreciated ever since. The pride of Corsican vineyards (around 8,000 hectares of them) are the three dozen typical varietals grown, among which sciacarellu, niellucciu, and vermentinu are the best representatives.
The island benefits from ten AOC designations (with over 100 wines in the classification) and a vins de pays designation “Vin de Pays de l’Île de Beauté,” producing essentially vintages with these island-specific varietals. Corsica owes part of this success to its climate: nearly 3,000 hours of sunlight per year, soil particularly well suited to grape vines, very rare freezes, an early spring, and beautiful summers. But it is also the fruit of the efforts of vintners who have for years led the fight for quality. Henceforth, medals and prizes won in the great salons of agriculture don’t matter.
Aside from its wines and Acquavita, Corsica also offers myrtle liqueur; cédrat; arbouse; ratafias; and orange, peach, and nut wines. In Cap Corse, they drink a mulled wine based on quinquina bitters and local wine as an aperitif. Also taken as an aperitif, pastis adds overtones of anise to aziminu, the Corsican version of bouillabaisse with Porto-Vecchio tripe. Lately, there is a Corsican beer that only a local could have come up with – 'La Pietra' www.brasseriepietra.com is made with malt and chestnut flour and can be distinguished by its soft texture and light bitterness.
Those wishing to remain sober should partake of the iron-rich sparkling mineral water from the springs at Orezza
The best-known specialties here are aziminu (Corsican bouillabaisse), Pulenda (chestnut flour polenta), coppa, lonzo, figatelli (charcuterie), zucchini with sheep’s cheese, young goat in sauce, eggplant Bonifacio, blackbird pâté, whiting with herbs and olives, canistrelli (cookies flavored with lemon, anise, and chestnut, or unflavored), chestnut flour cake, and preserved figs.
Cheeses to enjoy here are Brin d'amour, Brocciu, and Niolo.
Wines and Spirits:
Among the important wineries in Corsica are Patrimonio, Calvi, Ajaccio, Sartène, Figari, Muscat-du-cap-Corse (white), Porto-Vecchio, Coteaux-du-cap-corse and Nicrosi. Myrthe (myrtle) is a local spirit.
Large-grape Malvoisie, Nielluccio, red varietals, Sciacarello, Vermentino
Young Goat in Sauce (serves 4)
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 to 60 minutes
- 3 pounds (1.5 kg) young goat (shoulder, flank, and breast meat), cut into pieces
- approx. ¼-pound slab bacon
- 5-6 cloves of garlic
- 1 glass white wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato concentrate
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- thyme, bay leaf, salt, pepper, a few sprigs of parsley
- Cut the bacon into small cubes. Peel and press the garlic. Chop the parsley.
- In a saucepan, brown the goat and the lard in the olive oil. When the meat is well browned, add the crushed garlic, the tomato concentrate, and the wine. Season with the thyme and the bay leaf. Let the sauce reduce briefly, then cover the saucepan and simmer 45 minutes.
- Just before serving, garnish with the chopped parsley.
- Serve hot.