Tastes of Corsica
Corsica certainly isn’t a foodie destination, and it’s not known for haute cuisine. However, freshness and quality reign supreme on the island, and good food isn’t hard to find.
Wild boar: I ordered sanglier because I knew it was a Corsican specialty and I was curious about it. I didn’t really expect to like it—I mean, it’s game meat and I still pretend to be semi-vegetarian—but I was pleasantly shocked by how much I enjoyed it. Served with polenta and olives, the meat is surprisingly tender and seasoned well.
The buzzing terrace tucked away from the main street attracted us to U Minello on our first night, and we weren’t disappointed. Service was friendly, the aperitifs and digestifs went down a bit too easily, and the food was hearty and delicious. (I had written down Beth Arnold’s recommendations, but forgot the list in the hotel room. My friend and I both died laughing after we talked about how happy we were to have stumbled over this place the whole way home, just to find out that we had eaten at the same place Beth had recommended!)
Fig: Fig Newtons were my only exposure to figs—which I think is pretty common for Americans— until I spent a summer on a Provencal farm when I was 16. While I was a bit hesitant to try a fresh fig, as soon as I bit into the juicy fruit, I was hooked. While figs are easy to find in the South of France, they were everywhere in Corsica. I tried a crepe with homemade fig jam, a dried fig coated in chestnut powder and a fig and pear tart. (Annie Traiteur is hands-down the best place to buy any Corsican specialties–their tarts, figs and quiches were amazing!)
Corsican cheese: I loved brocciu, the Corsican “national” cheese that was present in my breakfast pastry and my after-dinner cheesecake. Strolling the cheese case in the tiny Corsican specialty store, my interest was particularly piqued by a half-sheep, half-goat cheese. Has anyone tried this before?
Corsican charcuterie: I don’t like translating charcuterie into English—it’s just such a fun word to say in French! The closest definition is cold cuts, but it’s generally cold cooked pork: salami, seasoned ham, etc. You can find Corsican charcuterie in both specialty shops and restaurants, and it’s a nice light dinner (although not particularly balanced). With a Corsican beer in your hand, you can’t go wrong!
Solea: Corsica’s ice cream shop! Obviously, I had to try it. I was impressed with the panna cotta, the house specialty, and the raspberry was refreshing on a hot day. However, the flavor selection was a bit disappointing–especially since many of the “house specialties” weren’t available!
What are your favorite Corsican foods?