Ahh… the Foods and Wines of French Corsica and Italian Sardinia
The Tantalizing Food and Wines of Italian Sardinia
The Sards excel in the art of spit-roasting and pig and lamb are the popular meats cooked over the open fire. The saffron crocus is cultivated in Sardinia and the spice is in many of their dishes. A pasta developed in Sardinia is the malloreddus a small dumpling with sausage. Paella, which is served with seafood and flavorured with saffron, represents the Spanish influence, which is very strong on the west coast of Sardinia. Another typical Sardinian dish also from Spanish descent is faina made from garbanzo beans. These are thick pancakes which are fried in oil.
Some other typical dishes are flaky pastry patty of cheese, bacon and onion called pane de gherda or culingiones kind of ravioli filled with pecorino cheese, meat or spinach. Carta de musica a circualar flatbreat, Panada, flaky pasta pies suffed with minced meat or eat, malloreddus a small gnocchi served with tomato sauce, bottarga a salted mullet or tuna roe pressed together then sliced. The local fish soup is called ziminu. There are many excellent cheeses, peccoring sardo a hard sheep’s milk cheese, gioddu similar to feta. Sardinia also produces good wines and is especially noted for its dessert wines.
The Wonderful Foods and Wines of French Corsica
Corsicans take their food and drink very seriously, it is quite common for locals to take a leisurely three-course lunch accompanied by a few glasses of Corsican wine. Wild boar is possibly the island’s most celebrated dish – look out for sanglier on the menu. Meat dishes may be served with pasta or polenta. Veau aux olives – veal served with local olives. Tianu is a slow-cooked game stew and Bécasse is a roast woodcock and Pédrix is partridge.
On the coast you will find a good selection of fish and seafood. Look out for rouget red mullet , sea bream loup de mer and crayfish langoustine. Oysters huitres are particularly recommended and trout caught in the rivers.
Cured meats are very popular and a wide selection are usually available; Prisutu – smoked ham or Figatellu/fitonu – liver sausage, Salamu is a salami-style sausage, Boudin – black pudding and Fromage de tête is a head cheese made from seasoned pigs’ brains. Most traditional Corsican desserts are milk or egg based; Fiadone is soft cheese tart which is soaked in spirit and flambéed and Beignets are chestnut flour doughnuts, sometimes stuffed with cheese.
And of Course, the Wines of Corsica
Corsica produces several very good wines, which are hardly known outside the island. The producers are scattered and tend to be highly individual – Corsican, in other words. The grape harvest is still often cut by hand, and visiting a vineyard for an afternoon is a pleasant expedition.
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. Wines from Patrimonio and from near Sartène are outstanding, and the Domaine Vico wines are quite good.
Also worth tasting are the local fortified wines, such as Muscat made from the delicious pale Muscat grape, or the darker, sweetish herb-rich Cap Corse. Both can be drunk as apéritifs – or at any time. Home-produced, dusky coloured, apéritif-strength drinks, with herbs such as myrtle and basil, can be found for sale on some roadside stalls.