Boasting both French and Italian influences, Corsican cuisine offers diners the very best of both worlds. As can be expected of a Mediterranean island, menus here are stacked with seafood and produce grown locally. This means you’ll sample dishes made using only the freshest ingredients, no matter what time of year you’re staying at one of our luxury villas in Corsica. Looking for a little guidance when deciding what to order first? Here are the best foods to try in Corsica on your next visit.
Italian influences are most evident in Corsican cooking when it comes to their shared love of cured meats. The best kind are made from free-range pigs, which are raised on the island’s famous chestnuts. Figatellu, a type of smoked pork liver sausage made using wine and seasoned with garlic and herbs, is by far the most popular of all. You’ll often find it incorporated into lentil soups as well as served beside other cured varieties, including 12-month matured prisuttu ham.
Corsicans certainly make the most of their immediate access to fresh seafood, with beautiful blue waves surrounding them on all sides. Grilled swordfish, oysters, red mullet, anchovies, sardines and lobster feature on menus widely across the island, but those in the know head straight to the east coast to sample the best oysters. You should also consider giving trout a go, sourced from the island’s freshwater lagoons and rivers – it’s a great alternative to the more expensive inland meats.
You may be surprised to learn that Corsica actually has quite the reputation when it comes to its cheeses. In fact, an annual cheese fair known as A Fiera di U Casgiu takes place in Venaco every May.
However, it’s brocciu cheese, a non-lactose, tender variety, that reigns supreme among Corsican cheeses. It’s either made from goat’s or ewe’s milk, resulting in a texture that’s similar to ricotta, and can be eaten fresh or after it’s been aged. You’ll find it incorporated into savoury soups, omelettes, and other starters, but it’s also a popular ingredient in cakes.
Speaking of which, Fiadone is a type of baked Corsican cheesecake that’s made without any base. Instead, the popular dessert uses brocciu, sugar, lemon zest, chestnut flour and eggs. It’s sometimes served hot and fresh from the oven, but the more popular choice is chilled – what better way to top off a warm day spent basking beneath the Mediterranean sunshine?
Corsica’s delightful take on cheesecake isn’t the only thing that uses chestnut flour. In fact, this is now an essential ingredient in many Corsican desserts, harkening back to the 16th century when every landowner had to plant four trees per year – one of them being a chestnut tree.
Today, chestnut flour is used in everything from breads and pastas to porridge and pastries, including Flan a la Farine de Chataigne. This special type of Corsican flan is flavoured with eau de vie – a spirit that translates to mean “water of life”.
Chestnut flour beignets are also popular, and you may even find some stuffed with brocciu cheese for a touch of extra indulgence.
After something smaller yet still sweet? Canistrelli shortbread cookies are made using flour, sugar, white wine, and some kind of flavouring – typically lemon zest. They have a crisp, crunchy texture that makes them ideal for dipping in coffee or other hot drinks, but they’re not quite as tough as Italian biscotti. Locals are known to enjoy them for breakfast, but you can also pop a few in your pocket to snack on the Corsican way throughout the day.
With so much delectable cuisine to sample, you’ll want a fine class of wine to pair with it all. Lucky for you, Phoenician settlers first planted vines on Corsica over 2,500 years ago, kick-starting a winemaking trade that continues on the island to this day.
Due to the wide variety of terrain and altitudes on the island, you’ll find an equally impressive array of locally produced wines, with the most popular ones including Nielluccio, Sciacarello and Minustellu. Whether you favour white, red or rosé, you’ll find something special to whet your appetite here.
So, there you have it: our top picks for the best foods to try in Corsica. Looking for somewhere to stay throughout your visit? Check out our luxury holiday villas in Corsica, and feel free to contact a member of our concierge team if you need some extra help deciding.