The national food of Corsica is a cheese. No kidding, it’s on postcards, t-shirts and plates everywhere you look.
Brocciu is a cheese made from sheep or goats milk. It’s a bit like ricotta but firmer. The Corsicans eat it with everything, but we’ve found it especially good in a sandwich with local bread or, for the kids, on a pizza. It goes wonderfully with another local speciality – fig jam. If you can imagine a long, soft floury roll filled with tasty cheese and fig jam, well that was my lunch today.
Given our obsession, yes there I’ve admitted it, with pancakes it will come as no surprise to find that we’ve fully explored the local variety. They do the usual French crepes all over the place, much to the boys’ delight. But the Corsicans have their own variety too – called ‘nicci’ they are made with chestnut flour. You can’t really taste the chestnut as such but they make a wonderful, thick savoury pancake filled with local delicacies. We had nicci for dinner last night – before working out what it was I have to admit – one of those take a punt moments – and were absolutely delighted.
The local beers and wines are also fine. Well, given our budget we’re not trying the fine wines but the basic wines are great and the beer is excellent. We did manage a bottle of cheap local red with smoked Corsican almonds on the terrace this evening. ‘Twas supermarket red, but it was Corsican, drunk looking out over the Mediterranean so all was good.
The food budget is an issue though. Calvi is one of the most expensive places we’ve been on this trip. It’s the only place where a cup of coffee approaches Sydney prices – well except Starbucks on Tainanmen Square, but that doesn’t really count. The restaurants are all beyond our level of happiness and as we’re in a hotel we can’t fall back on home cooking.
The boulangerie has been our saviour with fantastic bread for a pittance. Callum and I head out early and walk down to buy provisions while the other two sleep. We have a coffee and a hot chocolate, according to our needs, and then visit the artisan boulanger for a lesson in French bread types fresh out of the oven. It’s heaven.