2 Aug 2010

Corsican Gastronomy - Delicatessen (Part 2)

Amateurs of robust cheese will plump for locally-produced fromage de brebis, while the bravest will up the ante with Corso, but beware as the cheese will start developing a rather pungent smell as it matures! The safer option will definitely be Brocciu (Brousse), an aromatic creamy fromage frais similar to mascarpone that I use in cheesecakes (as an alternative filling), and that is a key ingredient in the insular pâtisserie, the Fiadone (and its mini-version known as Fiadonette, pictured below), a lemon-scented brocciu-filled pastry. For a savoury option, and if given the chance, why not try Ravioles à la Brousse (brocciu ravioli).


Apart from Fiadone(-tte), more pastry delights will await you at the local bakery, namely Canistrellis (aniseed or hazelnut-flavoured biscuits that are usually dipped in coffee), Cugolu (a boomerang-shaped aniseed-flavoured pastry that is also dipped in coffee), Cuggiolelle (sweet white wine biscuits), lemon-scented Frappi (a cross between a doughnut and a churros), and other variations.


Brioche is also well celebrated on the island, as Brioche au Sucre, an individual sugar-topped round brioche, or its oblong-shaped version, Pannette (also available with raisins). Besides be prepared to find innovative interpretations of traditional recipes, such as savoury bite-size canistrellis (olive or onion-flavoured) perfect with pre-dinner drinks, which are produced in the resort of Macinaggio (under Les Délices de Capo Bianco).

Chestnut-flour-based cakes are likely to be found in this blog, in local delis (and even supermarkets which, for many years, have been keen to stock local produce). Nougats, mountain honey and unusual fruit jams (watermelon, melon, mandarine, cédrat, arbouses, chestnut) will be handy to fly back home.


Finally there is an array of beverages designed to quench your thirst or prolong the holiday spirit well into the night, from local mineral/ spring waters (Zilia, St Georges, Orezza), lemonades (Carina Limunata, Oro) and Damiani cordials, to AOC* wine (white, Muscat, rosé, red, and the port-like Rappu wine derived from the Aléatico grape), with Patrimonio, Plaine Orientale and Cap Corse as the main wine producers.

Pastis Dami (Corsica's answer to Pernod), Cap Corse Mattei (a vermouth/ fortified wine), and chestnut-flavoured lager Pietra are guaranteed to jazz up your après-ski/ pool-house soirées. The island is also reputed for its strong liquors with an acquired taste: Cédratine, Myrte, Châtaigne (chestnut). Novices will find it easier to stick to Mandarine Impériale or Limoncellu (both of which also enter in the preparation of a number of desserts and refreshing cocktails).


Food taste is a matter of opinion, so why not forge your own by experimenting with those new or reinvented flavours, and decide for yourself. Whether it be sweet or savoury, earthy, traditional or adapted to the modern palate, derived directly from the terroir (land) or transformed, there is a food product for every taste, in Corsica. Enjoy!

* AOC = Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée

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