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What’s to Eat in Puglia and Where Is It?

  
We didn’t meet many Americans in Puglia. They haven’t discovered it yet. They will soon! It’s a thriving charming area of Italy located in the heel and Achilles’ tendon of the boot shape of Italy. Their wines were our favorite along with Provence. It is Italy, so the food is all fantastic!

 Most interesting are the trullo style homes built as sheds and barns in the 16th to 18th centuries and now renovated into homes. I’ll post more on this later! We stayed in a trullo apartment just outside of Cisternino a week and took day trips from there.

Our first dinner in Cisternino was at Bella Italia. We went back the next day for lunch!

Grilled thin sliced zucchini, radicchio and eggplant with a balsamic glaze

 
Rigatoni cooked al dente with a shrimp and tomato sauce

 
    Grilled lamb chops with a strong mustard


 
      Limoncello and an herby liquor that tasted like bay leaves. Possibly Mirto which is made with myrtle 


Local pasta with fresh tomatoes here with a special ham on top

  

Pasta with seafood and a parsley asparagus sauce, like pesto

 
 Here are some cheeses we bought at a market.  The white is a cows milk mozzarella that’s tied into a knot. The darkest is an aged cheese and the yellow a mild medium aged cheese. And there is the prosciutto. The bread is a light yellow color. It has sesame seeds on it and has no other additives besides the local flour.


Bright green crisp olives stored in brine with a fresh taste and black wrinkly oil cured olives which are my favorite

    
We were exploring Alberobello and stopped for wine and dessert. Their Primitivo wines  are super. The grape is related to the California Zinfandel 

Tiramisu with a real strong coffee flavor

 
  Almond cookies are popular.  Lots of almonds grown in this area, as in Sicily.

 

While driving near Cisternino we came across a stunning olive grove which sold their oil on property. The owner gave us a small lesson in growing olives. This tree is 600 years old!

Masseria Pezze Galere Extra Virgin Olive Oil

   

  

We took a day trip to Lecce, known as the Florence of the south.  It has beautiful baroque churches, Roman ruins and big open spaces for people to gather.

First stop was for the famous pasticciotto at Martinucci Laboratory.  I chose the ricotta and pistachio filling

   
    
Martinucci’s beautiful displays of gelato and cakes

  

Martinucci’s makes their own gelato in their shop!

  
We stopped for lunch at Nonna Tutti’s, recommended by a few sources.

Fresh burrata, a mozzarella cheese filled with cream. 

 
Pasta with a tomato fish sauce  

  


Grilled lamb chop, skewered beef and pork and sausage. Served with a salad.

  

On our way out of town we stopped at a famous geletaria for gelato. Pastitcceria Natale. This one is cayenne flavored chocolate and ricotta gelato.

  

Another day trip was north to the sea. Poltignano a Mare, a lovely town with dramatic cliffs and is the birthplace of the composer of the song Voláre.

  
Here is a darling cafe in PoltignanoBar Beija Flor Cafe.

   
    
This pastry is called Sbriciolata. It’s a crumbly crust filled with ricotta, Nutella and pear and covered in powdered sugar.

 
We stopped a restaurant overlooking the sea in Poltignano for lunch

Dave enjoyed these squid ink orecchiette, a pasta shaped like little ears. Here it’s served with seafood over a fava bean purée.

   


This is a red tuna seared and marinated in a soy ginger sauce with pistachio.

 
Here is a cafe in Cisternino called Barfod. They make the best cappuccino I ever had! Also these pastries filled with ricotta

  
   

 

We tried the best wines at this cool enoteca called Il Cucco in Cisternino. The owner had this mirror frame made from his grandmothers old washboard!

  

Pizza is everywhere. Here was an inexpensive 4 cheese pizza in Cisternino at a place called Happy Point

 
 For lunch one day in Cisternino we stopped at Le Chicche Di Zia Rosa. It was a tiny place that served authentic local food

  Puréed fava beans and potato puréed with water and served with steamed chicory. Fava beans are not as starchy as Lima beans, but look similar.

  


Pork sausage and rolled veal filled with breadcrumbs

  
We have been eating well on this adventure! On to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast!  

 Discovering Sicily

Sicily is an elongated shaped island running east and west located south of Italy. We took the ferry from Cagliari, Sardinia to Palermo and then drove to Erice, a hilltop town near Trapani. We were there 10 days and took day trips to the Greek ruins of Segesta and Selenunte. We also toured the salt pans and island of Mozia and experienced a delish salt tasting! We had a gorgeous boat trip to the Egadi Islands where we stopped at Favignana and Levanzo.

We drove back to Palermo for a few days and saw an opera at the Massimo Opera House. We then took a long drive to the eastern part of the island for our Godfather pilgrimage in Savoca.  None of these spots should be missed!

  
  

Pulling into the Palermo harbor

   

Views on our way up to Erice  

The Trapani peninsula with their salt pans to the left

    

Castle in Erice.

 

Clouds and mist blowing through 

   
Castle in the morning fog

 

 Tower and church in the morning fog

  
Above the clouds sunset

  
Main church in Erice around the corner from our apartment

   
Old style painted cart and horse in Erice. Later the man sang us some Sicilian songs!

  

Cool terracotta pot in  Erice

Nuns in Erice  There are over 200 churches in Erice

We took a day trip to Segesta

   
     

Greek temple and amphitheater at Segesta

   

The salt pans of Mozia, south of Trapani and north of Marsala

    

These salt pans produce tons of sea salt every year

The mountain where Erice sits on top in the distance

   

   
 

   

  

  

  

These are artifacts from the Phoenician museum on Mozia which is within the salt flats. These beads remind me of the Turkish evil eye glass which keeps evil spirits away

 
We experienced a lovely salt tasting with fruit in the Windmill Museum 

See more pics at my post What’s to Eat in Sicily

  
  


  We took an all day boat trip to the Egadi Islands from Trapani and stopped at 2 of the 3. Here is the Island of Farignana:

  
  

The old tuna fishing museum

    

The caves of the Egadi Islands

   

  
 

This the Island of Levanzo:

    

   
   


Elite Island Travel is located in Trapani right at the port. They booked our tickets to the salt pans and islands.  Giacomo Incarbona also arranged a tour of a sheep farm during milking and a cheese factory and shop that produces sheeps milk ricotta! Unforgettable experiences! Thank you Giacomo and staff! Thank you also to Mario and Maria at Caseificio Ingardia in Paceco located outside Trapani. They produce Sicilian cheese.

    

 

  
  

  

Fresh ricotta made from sheeps milk 


Castellammare
del Golfo is an old tuna fishing village we visited near Scopello.

   
  

  

Boat anchor collection
 

Watch tower on top of a cliff

  

   

 

,Greek ruins of Selinunte

   

    

We drove back to Palermo for a few days and stayed at the Massimo Hotel located across from the Massimo Opera House, the third largest in the world after Paris and Vienna.  Beautiful hotel with superb service and assistance!

  
We played paparazzi and watched the opening night red carpet!

   
    
   

  

  

  

   
      

We took a tour of the opera house and also went on a walking tasting tour of old Palermo. You can see more pics from that at my post What’s To Eat in Sicily? 

  
   
       

Beautiful churches in Palermo. 

   
      

A chapel within  the Norman palace. Christian, Greek Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim combined

     

We crossed Sicily to the east and made our stop at Savoca for The Godfather pilgrimage. We stayed at a superb resort called Borgo San Rocco. The staff were so friendly! Rosemary was especially welcoming. It was so nice we stayed 2 nights instead of one. Creative food with a fresh lighter slant! See my post on eating in Sicily!

   
   
Bar Vitelli was The Godfather place to go. It hasn’t changed much since the scene was filmed there. They are adding on a wine bar in back though! 

   
  

Francis
Ford Coppola had a home here. He was friends with the original owner of Bar Vitelli.

  

The wedding scene between Michael Corleone and Apalonia was also filmed in Savoca at this church. We saw a wedding here too, plus another one that day!

   

    
        

Beautiful walks in Savoca, a hill top town.

  

 Thanks to the new friends we meet in our travels! It’s made all the difference!

From here we drove to Messina and took a 1 hour ferry trip with our car to mainland Italy. On to Puglia located in the heel of Italy.

What’s to Eat in Sicily?

Two weeks in Sicily and I can’t believe how much we ate! Most of our time was spent in Trapani and Erice, and a few days in Palermo and Savoca (our Godfather pilgrimage)!

Erice is a mysterious beautiful town on a mountain top up from Trapani. We rented an apartment here for 10 days. Dinner our first night was at the highly rated Monte San Guiliano.

  
A local specialty antipasti here is fried chickpea triangles

Cold octopus salad With marinated fennel strips and carrots

  Smoked dried tuna with tomato, shrimp with mayonnaise like sauce, couscous in squid ink formed in a mold

   

Sardine fillet rolled with bread crumbs on an orange slice. Fried fish patty.
  
Super tender house made ravioli stuffed with ricotta, with a squid ink and squid sauce and a dollop of ricotta! Incredible!

  

House made sausages 

 

Calamari filled with ricotta in a ricotta cream sauce

   
Pizza in Erice

The most fresh fish of the entire trip at Antichi Sapori in Trapani. Here is a red tuna seared and served with a salsa of tomato, almond, basil and garlic.

        

Fried tiny fish, calamari and shrimp, octopus salad, and 3 dried fish slices with olive oil and balsamic.

 
Sardine Balls, a meatball with sardines in a tomato sauce. Some have more sardine flavor than others.  

 

Almond wine and sesame almond biscuits 

  
Postale 17 was our nearby cafe in Erice. This is their caponata, a mix of fried eggplant, tomato, onion and garlic with chopped almonds on top. Also served with added swordfish. Eat alone or with bread like bruschetta.

  
Bruschetta from Postale 17 with Caponata, fresh tomato and oregano, and thin sliced lardo (seasoned fat from a pig)

 
Marinated Octopus, carrot,and fennel over arugula served on a no

South of Trapani is the island of Mozia where we experienced a phenomenal salt tasting with fresh fruits! They eat salt on lemon!!

   
      
In Erice we ate dinner at Hotel Elimo, with very helpful servers

 

  

  Busiati Trapanesi, the local pasta here with their local Erice Pesto sauce: tomato, eggplant, almonds and garlic.

  Sea bream with lemon

  Beef Marsala, made with Marsala wine from nearby Marsala.

  

  Arancine, a Sicilian food made with saffron risotto and filled here with jamon and mozzarella cheese. Always covered with a paste of flour and water and then toasted breadcrumbs and deep fried. 

  
This is the authentic arancine filled with beef, carrots and peas.

 
A gourmet arancine filled with seafood and pistachio. 

Pasticceria San Carlo was a favorite in Erice. Here is a coffin full of plain biscotti drying. These are 6 inches long! 

   
    

This is the famous Genovese from Erice only! A cookie pastry filled with milk custard and dusted with powdered sugar. Amazing when hot out of the oven!

     

Another Erice pastry is Graffa con Ricotta, a doughnut like pastry cut in half and filled with sweetened ricotta and just a few chocolate chips

   
 
Cannoli!!  Plain and dusted with pistachio and sweetened orange rind

Ricotta is made with sheeps milk and there are bands of sheep grazing all over Sicily. The cows roam also, here with a farmer, though not always.

   
We visited a sheep farm during milking near Trapani. Unforgettable! Thank you Nino!

      

 

  
Hooking up to the milking machine

We learned about cheese making at Caseificio Ingardia in Paceco. They also treated us to a delicious sampling of cheeses! 

   
Ricotta in progress

    
Ricotta in tubs

  

Cows milk cheese in progress

    Fresh from the vat ricotta is warm, light and like custard!

   

Thank you Maria and Mario! 

Giacomo Incarbona, from Elite Island travel agency, was the most helpful person is Sicily! He booked trips for us and arranged the tours of the sheep farm and cheese company. Thank you Giacomo and staff!

 

Smoked tuna and tomatoes, octopus salad, bruschetta with onion, chicken cutlets, an antipasti  

Swordfish with Marsala sauce  

Grilled lamb, sausage and chicken

.    

Braised fennel

 

Pizza in Palermo at Pizzeria Italia! With seafood and no cheese! This is Italy and the two are not allowed together!

   
We drove from Erice to Selinunte, the enormous Greek ruins. Stopped for lunch at Buffas Castle. This “lobster” is the whole lobster cut in half and covered in buttered bread crumbs. Unusual

  Grilled lamb

   

One of the most delicious foods of the trip her is a saffron risotto with teeny zucchini and zucchini flowers and truffle oil. In Palermo at Spinnacato.

  
Squid ink and calamari on spaghetti

In Palermo we took a Viator walking and tasting tour. Here are some market pics

   
  

  

Veal cartilage and fat here is breaded and deep fried and available only in the markets! Served on a sandwich roll usually.

  

Teeny tasty strawberries from the wild

    

Fresh red tuna

 

Whole fish by the kilogram 

 

Many sizes and types of calamari  

The sword in the swordfish!

    

Artichoke with its stalks which can be cooked separately into a pasta sauce.

  

Sfincione, a focaccia like bread with a thin tomato onion sauce, grilled in the food cart seasoned oven

     

Beef spleen braised in a sauce and sandwiched in a soft bun, another market food cart. Pane Meusa

We drove to the other end of Sicily and stayed at Resort Borgo San Rocco. Very nice! This is in Savoca, a mountain village where some Godfather scenes were filmed

Lunch at San Rocco…..

   
Eggplant flan with thin fried skin of eggplant

 

House made lasagne with eggplant  

A special dinner with many courses at the resort. 30 Euros each!

   

Black squid ink gnocchi in a fava bean purée and a whole shrimp

Intermezzo of puréed eggplant, sweet tomato and strawberry purée, ricotta and mint

  

Risotto with calamari, mussels, and clams

    

Fettuccine with meat Ragusa

Pork with strawberry purée and pistachio

  
Fish with capers, tomato and fennel frond

   

Pannecotte with strawberry purée

Where To Go in Sardinia?

We spent a week in Sardinia over 20 years ago and vowed to return.  Last time we attended a conference at a resort on the southern tip, Chia Laguna, and also drove to Bosa and up to Castelsardo on the north coast. This time we spent 2 weeks in Bosa on the west coast, and took day trips from there.

With our rental car we took an overnight ferry from Bonifacio Corsica to Sardinia.

Here are some pics and sights worth seeing!

The Sardinian coastline on our drive from the ferry port at Santa Theresa de Galura to Bosa.

  
Approaching Bosa

  
Bosa is an ancient city founded in 1112 by the Malaspina. They built the Malaspina castle on a hill overlooking the Temo River or the Fiume Temo and the Mediterranean Sea. Ruins of a Roman bridge and San Pietro church dedicated in 1058 are also on the river.

   Bosa on the Fiume Temo and the Mediterranean Sea.

 Bosa and the mountains around
   

Castle view from our apartment


 The River Temo and the old tannery buildings with fishing nets and boat.

   

Malaspina Castle ruins
  

Almond trees in the castle property  
 

Ancient tannery buildings  


Renovated Tannery buildings 

Bosa has a long history of tanning hides of animals to make the leather purses and coats we love. They did this for centuries till 1963. These are the buildings where the hides were processed and the river which provided the water. Today the buildings are turning into boutiques and cafes.

   

A Romanesque style church, San Pietro, up the river founded in 1058.

  San Pietro

 



Roman
wall near the Romanesque church. 

   
  

Colorful Bosa

  

Evening on the Temo River

  

One of many squares for relaxing

  

This tiny truck style is seen everywhere

   

  

 

Colorful coastline on our drive north to Alghero. Ancient CatalanArgonese of northern Spain had  7000 watch towers all over and many still stand. Theses towers were built close together along the coast so they could communicate with each other and warn the people of pirates and invaders. In the Middle Ages Sardinia became 4 kingdoms. The Pisans and Genoese battled for it in the 13th century. In 1479 Sardinia became a Spanish Territory. In 1720 the Italian Savoys took over. Sardinia became part of Italy in the 1861 Italian Unification.

   

 

Untouched close ups!

   
Fishing boat in Bosa on Fiume Temo

Ancient CatalanArgonese watch towers are all over Sardinia.  They were spaced close together along the coast so they could communicate with each other. This one is in Bosa Marina, on the Mediterranean Sea.

  

Bosa
Marina
   

   
  Bosa on the Fiume Temo

 
An old timer in Bosa with his double sided satchel and his walking stick. 

 
This special train ride was the green train or the Treno Verde which was a lovely ride through the Malvasía wine regions and a wine tasting along the way. The presenter was of the Columba family, first award winners for Malvasía.

 

Treno Verde  
 

Malvasía vineyards  

Malvasía vineyards near Bosa  


 

Treno
Verde friends from Poland and Milano in Trennura, where the ride ended. Colorful murals cover the town walls. Similar murals are seen in other villages too.

   
  

More beautiful scenery on the road from Bosa north to Alghero.

   

Sheep grazing along the road to Alghero

   
  

Alghero
is an hour drive and is a larger ancient city. 

   

We took a boat trip to Cappo Rossa…..  
   

And to Neptunes Grotto which is so large it took an hour to walk through!

   
We took a day trip to Silanus to see the Santo Sabina Tower or Thelos which dates to 1800-500 BC. There are 7000 of these types of structures all over Sardinia today and there used to be more. They are generally called nuraghi of the nuraghi people. They probably came to the island from what we know as the Italian mainland. The towers were probabLy watch towers. We entered this tower and climbed to the top.

Santo Sabina Church is Byzantine style and used the basalt rocks from the top tiers of the nuraghi tower to build the church.

    

The surrounding pasteurland is lovely and the positioning of these 2 architectural time periods.

   
  

  

  .  

There are miles of these stone walls in Sardinia and there is no mortar used to keep them together.

 
An ancient well dating to the nuraghi.

   

Also took a ride towards Macomer to the Tamuli where we saw the Tombs of the 3 Giants, which are burial sites in stone and are also of the nuraghi.

These are the 3 women of the 6 Menhir watching over the village and the tomb of the Giants. The Menhir always face east.

  

  

   
 Here is part of the nuraghi village

  
Rocky mountains overlooking pasteurland and sheep.

    

Murals like this are painted in Montresta, a village with strong Greek heritage near Bosa.

  
Mural of the Sardinian flag with the faces of two famous artists from the village, a poet and a singer.


Here’s some new renovation in Montresta where growth and tourism are developing.

  

  

Ancient farm structures in Montresta.

  
Church in Montrsta

   Any questions, let me know at ninafrurip@gmail.com

What’s to Eat in Sardinia?

This sister island to Corsica is less dramatic, but more colorful. The shrubby plants are brightly colored with warm hues. While Corsica is French, Sardinia is Italian. They both dream of independence!

Sardinia raises sheep on their mountains while Corsica raises goats. So we find sheeps milk cheese in Sardinia. Sardinia was also under constant attack like Corsica, so the people also moved away from the coasts and ate the wild boar, but no fish. Today seafood is plentiful in the coastal towns, but not the mountain villages.

We spent 12 days in Bosa, a seaside city on the Temo River which flows into the sea. Here are some of the foods we tried in Bosa and nearby villages.

  
We picked up this panini at a roadside deli next to a gas station out in the middle of nowhere. The bread was fresh and crispy and the sandwich was filled with prosciutto and sliced mild cheese. Very fresh and flavorful! About 8 men of all ages were sitting there drinking beer in the afternoon. 

   
Bosa is famous for its “cru” wine of Malvasia. Cru means this wine can only be made in this region with the Malvasia grapes. It is a light amber color and on the sweet side. This was served as an aperitif on the house!


This is the ancient and still commanly used bread of Sardinia, carte de musica. This crisp and paper thin cracker like bread makes music when you break it!

  This is Trattoria Biancospino where we ate this delish lunch. It was one of the best meals of our trip! The buildings of Bosa date to the 14th and 15th centuries. Many remodeling designs expose the old stonework.

   

Now that we are in Italy, we see the primo and secondo courses. This is a primo of grilled eggplant topped with puréed eggplant and then strips of grilled mackerel and topped with a thin mozzarella cream sauce and fresh basil. Magnificent!

 
This primo is 1 large homemade ravioli filled with Gorgonzola and topped with sautéed artichoke, radicchio and mushrooms with a balsamic sauce.

  

  

This secondo is a piece of a whole grain carte de musica topped with braised calamari in a red wine sauce. To the side is a fresh salad of arugula, sliced fennel bulb and sliced orange topped with olive oil, salt and pepper! The juice from the orange adds to the marinade.

This secondo is a grilled beef steak with steamed Swiss chard.

   

Homemade walnut cake, cream sauce and sliced poached pears.

 
A perfect cappachino now that we are in Italy!  Zio Tore Cafe in Bosa, on the river.

  

The authentic pasta of Bosa, cagliaritani, dried and below, cooked with a frozen clam sauce added.

   

Our typical apartment meal: salad, cheese and bread with olive oil.

  
A mild cheese we found at this special market day in Bosa. The cheese is made in the nearby Village of Montresta.

 

Pastries of Bosa: almond macaroon, custard filled tart, almond with caramel roll and pastry filled with fig.

   
Thick focaccia topped with cherry tomato halves, a slight grating of hard cheese and dried oregano.

 

Delicious butter cookies with apricot filling and a crispy and moist almond macroon from a pastry shop only open 2 half days a week in Bosa.

   
Pillows of cracker like bread similar to carte de musica. 

 

Fried calamari, shrimp and a whole fish at San Ignasio in Bosa.

 
A sample platter of cold salads from a cafeteria in Alghero 

   
Rigatoni with pancetta, a smokey bacon.

 

Risotto with asparagus, lemon and pancetta from Mandiga Lestru in Macomer.

   
Sausage cut open and pork belly at Mandiga Lestru.  


 

 

  
Voltini, which is a thin slice of veal filled and rolled with meat and covered in a tomato meat sauce. All is on top of a piece of carte de musica

 Poached or boiled potatoes and sliced fennel.

   
 

A frig full of tiramisu ready for take out at Mandiga Lestru in Macomer.

   

 

Crispy rolls served with lemon flavored olive oil at Green River or Verde Fiume in Bosa. One of the best meals served in a cafe overlooking the river in Bosa. More of our dinner…..

   
A primo or first course: farro, which seems a lot like barley to me, with zucchini, onion, calamari, curry and parsley. So flavorful!

 

House made ravioli filled with ricotta and spinach with a butter parsley sauce and grated parmigiana cheese.

   
Oven baked shrimp, calamari and a whole fish with lemon and parsley.

 

A pie like pastry filled with pear and chocolate and topped with vanilla ice cream.

   
Pizza that is folded after it is baked in squares and strips. One is filled with 4 cheeses and the other with mushroom, cheese and sausage. Giovanni’s Pizza in Bosa has a cool business model. His shop is take out only, but on both sides of him are bars with outdoor and indoor seating where you can order your drinks and eat his pizza! Evenings the crowds wait out the door for his pizza!

   

A very moist naval orange here and a fruit new to me. Nespole. The bottom pic show its seeds. Tastes like a citrusy apricot or nectarine. This fruit is blooming all over Sardinia and Sicily.

   
 

Fancy traditional breads on display in Bosa.

On to Sicily!

Where to go in Corsica?

  
We had the opportunity to experience Corsica  over 25 years ago when Dave gave a talk in southern Sardinia. We rented a car and drove north through Sardinia and took the 1 hour ferry to Corsica! It was an overwhelming experience we wanted to repeat. 

This spring we did, but we started in the north of Corsica in Bastia and traveled south. Our first stop was Occhiatana located in the north just south of Ill-Rousse. We stayed in a heavenly apartment overlooking Belgodère, the next town over, and the valley in between.

Then we moved down to Sartène for a few days and then to Bonafacio where we had a lucky 24 hours because the sea was too rough for the ferry to cross. Enjoy the views!

 
Leaving the port of Marseille France for Bastia, Corsica which is also France.

 
Bastia, a port in NE Corsica 

  

Occhiatana, a tiny town in the mountains of northern Corsica where we spent 10 days. 

 
  

Montemaggiore, a hill town overshadowed by the HUGE mountain, Montegrosso.

    
Pigna, a town of craftsmen and artists in a newly renovated chocolate box style.
 

Sant ‘Antonino is one of the oldest villages in Corsica 
 
The beach is 10 minutes from Occhiatana 

   

The Citadelle of Calvi, an ancient city which attracts tourists to their upscale style, historical sites, views, climate and beaches.

  

Port of Calvi

  

View of Calvi from Chappelle de Notre -Dame de la Serra

  
The Citadelle of Cortè from Le Belgodère. There is a good historical museum in the Citadelle. The students were demonstrating here, so we could not tour the museum or Citadel, but this view was marvelous!

    

The charming old town center of Cortè 

   
  

 

Speloncato, a town way up in the mountains near Occhiatana. This was an important Roman city. There are many WWI memorials in Corsica.

   
   

The Gulf of Gironalto on the drive south along the west coast. The coastal town of Porto is located in this gulf. We found this to be the most beautiful drive in our trip.

   
   Les Calanches is this rocky red area near Piana. A thrilling drive, though north of here at the Gulf of Gironalto area is more magnificent

  
The view in Piana from Les Roches Rouges Hotel where we stopped for lunch.

   
 

Sarténe is a mystical town in the hills of southern Corsica. It is known as the most Corsican of towns. We stayed at Les Roches Hotel where the views were endless.

   
  

   

We took a short drive from Sarténe to see some of the many ancient megaliths and dolmens. We met a band of goats there and luckily Dave befriended the herding dog who did not like us at first!

   
   

Artifacts from the archeological museum in Sarténe. The blue beads remind me of the Turkish evil eye glass which offers protection from evil spirits.

   
     

Bonifacio is a magnificent coastal town in southern Corsica. It’s a port for the ferries to Sardinia. We spent a night at this charming spot, Hotel Columba. The coast is immense and has many perspectives. The watch towers are ancient.

   
       

This coastline can be seen from many points. The cemetery offers a big picture view. The Port Gene perspective is up close and in your face!

   
  

As we take the car ferry on the short 1 hour trip to Sardinia, we say Au revoir to Corsica! 

What’s to Eat in Corsica?

  
Corsica is a beautiful French island south of Provence in the Mediterranean Sea. We took an overnight ferry/cruise ship there from Marseille. Magnificent mountains and hill towns envelope valleys, bands of goats, olive trees, cork trees, fragrant shrubby plants and vineyards. 

Historically the island indured constant invasions. It was governed by Pisa and Genoa and was finally given to France. Because of the invasions, the people moved to the interior of the island for refuge. Therefore they did not eat seafood! The traditional diet was and still is goats milk cheese, goat, wild boar, beef, pasta, olives, wine, bread and produce. Today there’s great seafood along the coastal towns!

  

 

Le Ranch in Occhiatana has wood fire pizza and roasted meats, typical Corse foods and home made desserts, plus a fantastic view!

 

Typical Corse lunch-goats milk cheese sprinkled with dried mountain thyme, cured wild boar and beef meats and fig jam.

  

Wood fire roasted veal chop covered with melted strong cheese 

   

Wood fire roasted lamb

 

Wood fire thin crust pizza

  

A liver sausage with figs 

 

Corse soup is a split pea like soup with beans and vegetables

   

Traditional wild boar stew with potatoes

 

Grilled beef steak with Roquefort cheese sauce. Much of this cheese is made from Corsican goats milk. The bacteria is added in Roquefort France.

   

Wild boar stew over pasta

  

Wild boar bacon, liver sausage, bread with melted goat cheese and a fried egg, a Corse lunch.

 

A crepe thin omelette with grated cheese and herbs

   

Spaghetti soaked in a rich seafood and meat sauce with gambas, a shrimp like shellfish

  

Calamari braised in a rich paprika sauce and the above spaghetti at L’Escale in Tizzano, on the sea

  

Wild boar in wine sauce with baked tomato 

Cigli or tiny lobsters with onions and baked tomato

  

Risotto with squid ink and lobster bites topped with gambas and a bubbly fish sauce 

  

A white fish over artichoke purée with a gamba and fish sauce 

  

A unique appetizer! Phyllo like rounds rolled around a piece of lobster, then fried and layered with lettuce and a saffron aoli dipping sauce

 

Voilà! Dining at Les Roches Rouges Hotel in Piana

  
U Castillè: A great eatery with a variety of venues in Bonifacio 

 
Sea view 

  
A pot full of mussels with lemon and white wine

 

St Pierre, a white fish with rice and a roasted red pepper sauce

Some fast foods from the patisseries  and delis

 

Sartenès specialty, pastry filled  with liver sausage 

  

Croque Monsieur, a toasted ham and cheese sandwich with melted cheese and goat cheese rounds on top

  

A sandwich with prosciutto and sliced cheese on ciabatta 

  
The best pastisserie in Cortè 

  

Soft bread with melted cheese on top, like a mini cheese pizza

  

Ham and cheese melted on a pastry cut in squares

  

Dry cheesecake that is not very sweet

  

The 3 Stars is an award winning pastisserie in Belgedere 

   

Strawberry tart from Belgedere

 
Brioche with local fresh goat cheese

 

  

Semi frozen dessert with strawberry sauce from Bonifacio

  

Dry cheesecake with no crust from Le Ranch in Occhiatano  

 
These  clementines grow all over Corsica. They make jams out of them and also from lemons and limes and sell them at the markets and shops

Corsica is a dramatically beautiful and earthy land. It’s a favorite!

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