So. Corsican cuisine. This is a totally unspoilt island so you will not find a fast food restaurant anywhere. No fried chicken or Golden Arches here. Chinese and Indian takeaways do not exist. Vegans would probably starve to death. Eating out on Corsica is divided into two distinct categories, local specialities or pizza. Although technically in France, Corsica has its own identity, language and cuisine. Some meals are typically French. Most locals head to the local boulangerie every morning for croissants and baguettes, often breaking chunks off their loaves and eating them on the way home. The cafe culture is a big part of the social scene. The larger supermarkets have cafes attached serving tasty baked goods, fresh cakes and bread. Our favourite had the best cheese and ham croissants I have ever tasted.
Most villages have at least one traditional restaurant. These are recognisable by the Corsican flag which is displayed outside even though they may look like ordinary houses from the roadside. They can be intimidating for holiday makers with difficult to decipher menus and seemingly hostile staff, however, with a little local knowledge you can eat some wonderful food, just as long as you don’t mind it being a bit “rustic”. Fresh fish is readily available and usually well cooked. Veal is always on the menu. Chicken is not readily available and if it is will often be overcooked. Pasta and pizza is a safe bet for picky eaters. Other local specialties are fritters made from sheeps milk cheese called brocciu, and pastries made with chestnut flour. Chestnuts feature heavily in both sweet and savoury dishes and both are delicious. Although wild boar roam freely on the island and are treated well by the locals they are still eaten readily and boar stew is a favourite local dish. After a meal we were always offered a shot of Myrte, a liquor made from myrtle berries. Deep purple in colour it has a medicinal taste and a lethal alcohol content!
We tried a restaurant in Sotta which was highly recommended in the visitors book called Le Relais one evening. It had a great atmosphere and the staff were really friendly. I ordered a steak cooked medium rare and Big ordered the roast pork. My steak was practically mooing on the plate, it had barely seen the pan and was difficult to eat, my fault for ordering beef in France. Big’s pork was large gnarly pieces of unrecognisable meat with roasted potatoes. He picked at the meat but it was mostly gristle and fat, however, he did enjoy the potatoes especially the whole baby onions among them which turned out to be whole cloves of roasted garlic! Overall the food was not our favourite but watching other diners trying to navigate the glass floor to the toilets was very entertaining.
For those nights when we didn’t feel like venturing far, a pizza van visits several of the villages, parking up for the evening and baking lovely pizzas to order which we took back to the villa to enjoy with a glass or two of local wine. Most of the local restaurants also offer a take out (emporter) pizza menu but the ones from the van were the best. The dessert options were mainly limited to gelato and tiramisu but my favourite is easily the Cafe Gourmand. This is a selection of mini desserts served with an espresso, perfect for a diabetic, it is a taste of something sweet without being too much. Of course we also enjoyed several spectacular bottles of wine although they were costly. All in all, a mixed bag food wise but we certainly didn’t go hungry.
I am planning to do some baking very soon inspired by some of the bread and cakes I have enjoyed in Corsica so keep an eye out for my next blog.
Thanks for reading. xx