Walking and Eating in Corsica

£7.00

walk & eat CORSICA

by Noel Rochford and John and Pat Underwood

A good companion to anyone attempting a sedate walking holiday in Corsica. Most routes are only a few miles long, making it a suitable guide for older people or those walking with young children. (Weekend Telegraph)

The emphasis is on first working up a healthy appetite, then satisfying it with recipes … taken from sources [as diverse as] monasteries and cafés. Beautifully illustrated and easy reading, even for non-walkers. (Food and Travel)

Walking, eating and Corsica. What’s not to like? (Living France)

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Description

Corsica W&E

This pocket-sized full-colour guide to walking in Corsica is designed for visitors who would like to do some fairly easy walking as opposed to tackling the more difficult routes described in Landscapes of Corsica. It’s ideal for high season, when strenuous routes may be too hot, or for those travelling with children. Even ‘non-walkers’ will appreciate the recommendations for eating out in Corsica. For each suggested restaurant there is a photograph of the décor and one of their dishes, plus sample menu, price guide, opening times and a recipe for one of their specialities. Other sections include: planning your trip, logistics on arrival, local markets and specialities, glossary of local food terms, and a restaurant mini-vocabulary. A special feature is the emphasis on natural local foods suitable for those with food intolerances. All recipes have been made by the authors and are known to ‘work’.

Area covered: There are walks all around the island. Note: There is some overlapping of walk routes between this book and Landscapes of Corsica. Do use the ‘Look Inside‘ facility to compare coverage in the two guide books.

Best months for walking in Corsica: In May and June the countryside is enlivened with a tapestry of wild flowers and maquis in bloom. The hills are ablaze with colour and the air is intoxicatingly-scented by the maquis. September and October are also fine.

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Where to stay

Your choice of where to look for accommodation will be governed by several factors. For instance, if you intend to hire a car you will benefit from a much wider choice. On the other hand if you plan to rely on public transport, you will need to choose a centre offering good access to the walk routes or excursions you plan to do. There is also the factor of what type of accommodation you plan to use, for example whether you plan to stay in a hotel or in a self-catering apartment or villa. The author provides useful advice on the various options in the Where to Stay chapter which will be found in the introductory pages of the book.

Edition/contents etc

13 walks and 1 excursion (on the world-famous ‘Trinichellu’, Corsica’s narrow-gauge railway)
144 pages; plans of Ajaccio and Bastia; area map; large-scale (1:35,000) topo maps
1st ed, 2006; ISBN 978-1-85691-295-2; UK retail price £7.99 / USA retail price $14.99

Table of contents:

PLANS OF BASTIA AND AJACCIO inside front cover

INTRODUCTION 4
the walks 5
the railway excursion 5
the restaurants 6
the recipes 6
corsican food 7
corsican wines 9
planning your visit 11
when to go 11
where to stay 12
what to take 12
planning your walks 13
on arrival 14
information 14
shopping for self-catering 14

Walk 1 · bonifacio 16
restaurant: u castille 23
recipes: stuffed aubergines bonifacio-style, omelette with brocciu 24

Walk 2 · forêt de l’ospédale 26
restaurant: le refuge 31
recipes: fig chutney, wild boar stew with ceps 32

Walk 3 · trou de la bombe 38
restaurant: auberge du col de bavella 39
recipes: veal cutlets with honey sauce, chestnut tart 40

Walk 4 · pointe de la parata 42
restaurant: le weekend 46
recipe: courgette fritters 47

Walk 5 · cascades des anglais 48
restaurant: hôtel du monte d’oro 54
recipes: duck breast with honey sauce, trout with pine nuts 56

Walk 6 · the venacos 58
restaurants: le torrent and bar/restaurant de la place 64
recipes: chicken in curry and coconut milk, vegetable ‘cake’ 66

Walk 7 · la restonica 68
restaurant: auberge de la restonica 73
recipes: roast leg of lamb with garlic, grilled sea bass with fennel 74

Walk 8 · cascades d’aitone 76
restaurant: l’aitone 80
recipes: rabbit sautéed with ceps 81

Walk 9 · sentier du littoral 82
restaurant: u furnellu 87
recipes: two ways with mussels, ‘petit Napoléon’ 88

Walk 10 · ostriconi 90
restaurant: village de l’ostriconi 93

Walk 11 · notre-dame de la serra 94
restaurant: u fanale 99
restaurants: u casanu, le comme chez soi 100
recipe: traditional corsican soup 102
recipes: meat stew with smoked ham, salade bergère 103
recipes: langoustine risotto, pork and chestnut terrine 104

Walk 12 · lumio, occi and lavatoggio 106
restaurants: chez charles and chez edgard 111
recipe: seafood salad with a citrus vinagrette 112
recipe: veal sauté with prunes and figs 112

Walk 13 · sant’ antonino and l’île-rousse 114
refreshments/restaurant: cave à citron and la cave 121
recipes: corsican-style red mullet, chestnut cake, fiadone 122

excursion · ‘u trinichellu’ 124

island map (excluding cap corse) 126

recipes: braised endives with panzetta, beans corsican-style 130
recipe: chestnut sauerkraut with chestnut beer 131

TRANSPORT 132

EAT GF, DF 134
eating in restaurants 135
self-catering 136
gf, df shopping 136
gf, df cooking; conversion tables 138

GLOSSARY (menu items, shopping terms) 139

INDEX 141
In the restaurant (pocket vocabulary) inside back cover

Guidebook index

The following is the index of places; the book also contains an index of recipes (which is not shown here). Page numbers shown in bold are where photographs appear; those shown in italics are where maps appear.

Agnone (river) 48, 49, 50, 51, 52-53
Ajaccio 6, 8, 125, 126, 127, 128, 132, 133
plan inside front cover

Bastia 6, 8, 125, 128, 132, 133, 137, 141
plan inside front cover
Balagne, la 106, 107, 108-109, 110, 114, 115, 116-117, 117, 118, 119
Bavella 35, 36, 39 Aiguilles de Bavella 34, 36, 38
Col de Bavella 34, 35, 36, 39
Boconago 126, 127
Bonifacio 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

Calanche (near Lumio) 108-109, 110
Calvi 95, 96-97, 98, 99, 100, 101
Capigliolo 43, 44
Capo Pertusato 17, 18, 19, 21, 22
Casanova 60, 61
Cascades d’Aitone 76, 77, 78, 79
Cascades des Anglais 48, 50, 51, 52-53, 125, 128
Cateri 115, 116-117
Corte 125, 126, 128, 129

Evisa 76, 77, 80

Foce, la 49, 52-53
Foce Alta 26, 27, 28-29
Ile-Rousse, l’ 106, 115, 118, 119, 120, 121

Lavatoggio 107, 108-109, 110, 111, 115, 116-117
Lumio 106, 107, 108-109, 111
Leonardo 68, 70

Monte (mountain)
d’Oro 48, 54, 55, 126, 128

Notre-Dame de la Serra (chapel above Calvi) 94, 95, 96-97
Notre-Dame de la Stella (chapel above Lumio) 106, 107, 108-109, 110

Occi 108-109, 109
Occiglioni 117, 118, 119
Ospédale, l’ (vil-lage, reser-voir) 28-29, 30, 126 Fôret de l’Ospé-dale 26, 27, 28-29, 29, 30, 31
Ostriconi, Plage de l’ (and Village de vacances) 90, 91, 92-93

Parata, la (Pointe de, Tour de) 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47
Poggio-di-Venaco 58, 59, 60, 61
Poggio-Riventosa 59, 128
Pont de Grotelle 69, 70, 71
Ponte Leccia 125, 126, 127
Punta di a Vacca Morte 27, 28

Restonica, Gorges de la 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 125
Revellata, la(penin-sula) 95, 96-97, 98, 99
Riventosa 60, 62

Saint-Florent 83, 84, 85, 86, 87
Sant’ Antonino 114, 115, 116-117, 121
Santo-Pietro-di-Venaco 60, 62, 63, 64
Sentier
de la Sitelle 77, 78
des Cascades 52-53
des Tafoni 27, 28-9, 29
du Littoral des Agriates 82, 83, 84, 87, 86, 90, 91
Tattone 126, 128, 129
Trou de la Bombe (Bavella) 36, 37, 38

Vecchio River 124, 125, 128, 129
Viaduct 124, 125, 128, 129
Venaco 60, 61, 62, 65, 126, 128, 129

Current update

1st edition (2006); updated 15/9/15

Updates for the walks, restaurants, shops and recipes on Corsica given below supplement those provided in the guidebook. It is vital that this Update is read in conjunction with the text of the book, but note that the Update applies only to the edition stated and not to any earlier editions. (If you have an older edition of this book you can “upgrade” to the latest edition at half price.)

Information has been forwarded to us by users of the book, and Sunflower Books offers the data in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any misleading or inaccurate content in the Update. Unless indicated otherwise, what appears here has not been verified by the author or publisher, so please allow due caution when new or amended routes are suggested. Each piece of information is dated; bear in mind that some of the older observations may have since been overtaken by events or further changes. If, during your holiday, you are using the current edition of the guide and are able to provide any additional updating to add to this page, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please send information, preferably by e-mail, to info@sunflowerbooks.co.uk.

General: Just returned from a splendid vacation in Corsica, we had so much pleasure in using the guide Walk and Eat. We did 6 of the walks, and we are very impressed by the accuracy of the descriptions of the walks. (e-mail, 7/06)

Walk 1: We think we have underestimated the distance on this walk, and that the timings should be more generous, especially in heat. Distance/time should read 9km/5.6mi; 3h10min; time checks in the text should be amended to: You pass the shell of a building (30min) and fifteen minutes later join the lighthouse road (45min). Turn right here and, when the road forks (55min), head right towards the Phare … You should reach the beach in 1h30min. If you want to go on to the lighthouse, there is a a steep path from the beach straight up to it. On the return, note that from the road junction (the 55min-point on the outward walk), you can take a path running just to the left of the road. In calm weather, you can usually follow paths all the way back to the ruin at the 30min-point. (Authors, 4/08) + NEW WALK FROM BONIFACIO: A good walk is shown by the red randonnee line on the 1:25000 map Top25 4255OT Bonifacio. The walk starts left up a track some 100m or so up the entrance road to Bonifacio. The walk goes to 3 bays and round the coast. (User, 5/09) [Editor’s comment: This user is referring to the path shown on our map which begins just west of the road to Port Vecchio and runs to the Phare de la Madonetta, a lighthouse just off the left-hand edge of our map; it is waymarked.]

Walk 3: You refer to ‘going right uphill here for PIANONA … an easy ascent … brings you to …. a grassy plateau’. The grassy plateau has become somewhat overgrown with small fir trees, obscuring the view. By going a hundred metres or so to the right I reached a mound with telecoms masts on top, and there was good view to the Aiguilles from here, but it didn’t seem to quite tie in with the description in the book. Also, as a variant, note that one can ascend directly to this point from the Col car park on a good path through the woods (or descend vice versa). (PS I definitely didn’t try climbing right up to the Trou: quite apart from the final climb itself, there are two narrow ‘V-shaped’ nicks to climb through and to reach the ascent point, and the last of these had a very awkward step down! But It’s a fascinating feature.) (User, 5/14)

Walk 9: The tracks to the Anse de Fournali may be more that ‘fairly’ bumpy, so do check your car insurance. (Authors, 4/08) + We have done this walk twice in a September ­ once when I think there had been an average amount of rainfall and this year, when there had been relatively heavy rain the few days before. Each time we’ve done the walk, the last major Anse before you reach the Mortello tower on the way from Ste. Florent (or Anse de Fornali, where we accessed the walk from), has involved wading through above the waist water, carrying bags on our shoulders. That was the shallowest crossing option we could find! We feel that swimming costumes are essential if you’re going to complete this walk, not an optional extra for if you fancy a dip in the sea! If the walk was like that in early September, dread to think what it would be like after a long wet winter e.g. in March. I think the volume and coldness of the water in early spring would make crossing that final Anse a very untempting proposition! Compare this with our comments below on the the Ostriccioni walk (Walk 10). (User, 10/09)

Walk 10: We have done this three times ­ most recently this last September and before that at the end of March. This is the opposite of Sentier du Littoral ­ absolutely no need to even remove boots and socks in September, but that’s what you need to do in March ­ nothing more. (User, 10/09)

Walk 12: Important: the original path from Notre Dame de la Stella is changed. The text should read: ‘… Notre Dame de la Stella (45min). 10m before the chapel, take the cart track at the right of the wall. After 100m go right, uphill. Keep left and ignore a path to the right. (The original path is no longer maintained; there is a new path marked with orange paint.)… From the building dated 1785 in Occi, walk towards a stone wall and then left, away from Occi, to a path that leads straight towards Calvi and the lighthouse on La Revellata. (At first the path leading away from Occi rises a little; I found ‘left downhill’ very confusing.) Past the Calanche, the waymarking is now all orange. (User, 10/05) + The church at Occi has been restored. (Sunflower, 2008)

Walk 13: At a fork about 200m/yds along, go right (the left fork is no longer signposted to the Couvent de Corbara)… Around the 40min-point the text should read: “You pass an old ruined convent (40min) on an S-bend; 50m past the convent you can take a small path down to the right (to the road leading to Occiglioni). (User, 2006) + We don’t think the path just past the convent (40min) is worth taking – far better to take the old mule trail described in the book, which has recently been cleared. There is no longer a cairn, but the path is just opposite a signpost pointing back to Sant’Antonino. (Sunflower, 6/08)

Excursion: Corsica has received considerable funding from the EU for modernising its railways – both the railcars and the tracks. The old-fashioned ‘trinichellu’ cars will be replaced by very modern railcars with picture windows, wheel-chair access, etc. The rail lines will be improved for the trains to run faster (cutting the Bastia-Ajaccio journey to under 3h). Some 130km of track has already been updated, but be aware that during the 2008 and 2009 seasons, other parts of the track will be closed for works (in summer 2008, the stretch between Ile-Rousse and Ponte Leccia). The rail company will lay on buses keeping to the same schedule. So for instance, you could board in Calvi, go by rail to Ile-Rousse, transfer to a bus, then get back on the train. There are a couple of the new railcars operating, but they are only experimental, and the new cars will not come into use until 2009. All work should be finished by 2010. Of course rail enthusiasts are very upset at losing the old cars, a couple of which may be kept to run in future as special attractions. (Authors, 4/08)

Restaurant update: Due to torrential rain and tummy upsets, we weren’t able to get around as much as we would have liked, but U Furnellu (St-Florent) and La Cave (Ile-Rousse) were as super as ever. At U Furnellu the superb Napoleon dessert is NOT on the a la carte menu, but they still have it (it is part of the “terroir” menu. At La Cave the chestnut cake is now served in a “cupcake” form with a crème anglaise sauce… At the Hotel Monte d’Oro, the duck recipe described in the book is different now – there are NO mushrooms, and the sauce contains some butter and cream – it is made from fruits of the forest, honey, PAPRIKA AND CURRY! Still delicious. We even had a sweet – “fondant de chataigne” – this was a crispy 100% chestnut flour cupcake filled with hot dark chocolate. In Calvi we went to the quayside determinted to try a different restaurant, but Le Comme Chez Soi STILL had the most appealing, wide-ranging menu. They do three speciality dishes that are not served anywhere else in Calvi: Tagine of crayfish, scallops and prawns Oriental-style; a Mini-aoili – Provençal fish plate with cod, steamed vegetables and spicy aioli sauce; Roast lamb with Coriscan wild mint. To finish up we had THEIR chocolate chestnut “moelleux” – a hugh pie of 100% chestnut flour with hot dark chocolate and whipped cream (one serving would be enough for 3 people). So at least we can report that these 4 restaurants are definitely still up to scratch! (Pat & John, 6/08) + We just got back from two wonderful weeks in Calvi where, following your recommendation, we had some superb meals with Mme Luciani. She was tickled pink to see your section on U Casanu , so much so she asked if she could borrow my book to have it translated and photocopied. On our final visit she returned the book to me, when she was highly amused informing me that she is mentioned as the owner of the restaurant. She said that Hiromassa-san is in fact the owner and that he was a little peeved to see her getting the plaudits. She thought it all hilarious. (User, 6/06) + We were in Calvi at the start of May and were disappointed to see Le Comme Chez Soi on the front was shut and it looked like this is permanent rather than a temporary thing. It may open later in the season but be warned. (User, 5/15) [The trouble with Corsica is that the season is so short: no doubt Le Comme Chez Soi just wasn’t open yet for the season. Not only is it still open, it has 4-/2 stars on Trip Advisor. Sunflower, 9/15]