Corsica: Food Guide - Dining Out

A little slice of heaven (out of peak season)

Corsica Food Guide - Dining Out

The cuisine in Corsica is best described as somewhere between French and Italian in style. The earthy style cooking takes its inspiration from the land with sun-loving fruits and vegetables, cured meats and cheeses. Corsicans take their food and drink very seriously; it is common for locals to take a leisurely three-course lunch accompanied by a few glasses of Corsican wine. As a result of Corsican’s care over their food the standards in the restaurants are generally high. Wild boar is possibly the island's most celebrated dish - look out for sanglier on the menu. Meat dishes are often served with pasta or polenta. Fishing is part of the islands life and as a result you will get some great fresh fish. On the coast you will find a good selection of fish and seafood on the menus but because of reduced fish stocks in the Mediterranean prices are now fairly high. Look out for red mullet (rouget), sea bream (loup de mer) and crayfish (langoustine). Oysters (huitres) are particularly recommended in the east and trout caught in the unpolluted rivers is a good alternative to meat inland. Cured meats are very popular and a wide selection is available in many markets and restaurants. There is prisutu, or smoked ham, figatellu, or liver sausage, and salamis. Watch out for fromage de tête which literally translates as "head cheese" made from seasoned pigs' brains. Corsica produces several very good wines, which are hardly known outside the island. Some wines are made with traditional Corsican varieties of grape, such as the delicious white Vermentino, Nielluccio, the basis of the esteemed Patrimonio red, and several excellent rosé wines. There are food markets every day across the island so you can pick up some great delicacies on the stalls of the markets. For those wishing to dine out, there are some excellent restaurants and numerous informal cafés serving pizzas, mixed salads and local stewed mussels. Vegetarians can usually find pastas, pizzas, omelettes and vegetable dishes. In Corsica café life is vibrant making it distinctly Mediterranean. Children are welcomed everywhere and most restaurants have high chairs available and some will offer a children's menu. In Bastia the harbour is the 'in' place to spend your evenings in the many bars and restaurants. Around Ajaccio there are a large number of cafes, bars and restaurants, and it is perhaps these that define Ajaccio better than the Napoleon monuments. The relaxed, casual approach to life that Ajaccio has means it’s a delightful place to eat out.

Corsica can be an expensive island to holiday on meaning it has retained its roots and Corsican qualities that make it the stunning island that it is. However, you will find a reasonable menu in most towns for around 20 Euros (£15). Supermarkets offer a wide range of goods if you are self-catering. Ajaccio, the capital, has some nice restaurants as well as Port de Plaisance which hosts a good variety of restaurants offering traditional, locally caught, fish dishes alongside the more hearty Corsican cuisine of the mountains. Meat stews are a hallmark of Corsican cooking, and with good reason. The herbs that go into them are the same ones that the animals graze on, creating a unique layering of flavours. They enjoy their meats on the island with their specialities being Prisutu (uncooked ham), Salciccia (sausage), Lonzu (small uncooked ham from the filet part), Coppa (small uncooked loin ham) and the famous Figadelli (liver sausage).