Discovering the cuisine of Corsica means taking a trip through authenticity and tradition. Recipes and savoir-faire have been passed through generation to generation.
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!
Produced in the mountains near the center of the island, charcuterie is an integral part of Corsican food heritage. The artisanal production is mainly focused on a regional species of pig, known as the cochon nustrale, raised in a semi-free-ranging environment and fed a steady diet of chestnuts, acorns, and local roots. The Figatellu di Corsica (pork sausage), coppa (dried pork), lonzu (a seasoned fillet of pork), prisuttu (whole seasoned ham, to be eaten with figs) dry sausage, and so on - so many types to make the mouth water. In the shaded Place de Loreto-di-Casinca, taste local charcuterie from François Albertini, which you can enjoy alongside house cheeses, jams, and chestnut flour.
In the mountains of Corsica, olive trees, chestnut trees, vines, and bushes create a one-of-a-kind landscape. They're famous for their olive oil, their hebs, their scrubland honey, and their chestnut flour, which serves as the base of several dishes, including nicci (Corsican crêpes) and blinis.
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.
Fish and Oysters
As an island, Corsica isn't lacking in fresh and delicious seafood! From the aforementioned aziminu to the oyster farmers by the Étang de Diana in Costa Serena in High Corsica, who would be happy to give you a taste of their catches fresh from the sea, get your taste buds ready for this magnificent destiantion. While in the north, don't forget to take a stroll down the Route des Vins de Patrimonio!
Without contest, the most famous Corsican cheese is brocciu, a fresh sheep or goat cheese with a milk and whey base. Recognized as an AOC since 1988, you can find it in many famous regional dishes, like an omelette au brocciu, a beignet de brocciu, cannoli au brocciu, and more. Between L'Ile Rousse and Calvi, take a seat on the A Moresca terrace in Pigna and admire the exceptional sunset while tasting migliacciole, crêpes with fresh goat or sheepsmilk cheese. Also top Corsican cheeses: Brin d'amour and Niolo.
Get a taste of fiadone, a brocciu- and lemon-based cake! Also make sure you try the canistrellis, sweet dry biscuits with lemon, anise, chestnut, and wine. Chestnut flour is essential in Corsican desserts, from cakes to gingerbread and tarts. Finish your dessert with a Corsican clementine.
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
Sample Corsican Specialties
So many dishes, but where to go? Here are a few recommendations:
- Artisan ingredients: in the south of the Isle of Beauty, two must-see addresses to taste and buy some of the above foods: L'Epicerie l'Orriu in Porto-Vecchio and the Épicerie Tempi Fa in Propriano.
- Grimaldi chocolatier: born in Corte, this chocolatier-pâtissier-confiseur welcomes you in Bastia and Ajaccio. It's difficult to not fall victim to their falculelle, true regional specialties with a brocciu base, cooked in chestnut paper.
- Charcuterie Pascal Flori: a high-quality production in Murato in the north of Saint-Florent.
Recipe: 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.