Catch up with Joy Dodds’ Mediterranean travels in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
On the cusp of departing the islands of Sardegna and Corsica for Iberian climes, it may be of interest to survey the gastronomic highlights of our expedition to date. Whilst understandably, the clear green waters of the Mediterranean provide copious supplies of seafood – squid, mussels, whitebait and myriad fish species – the Sardinian terrain is equally as bountiful with marbled beef from Sardo and Melina cattle and stoic hardy pigs from which the famous black salami comes.
Specialty produce outlets abound, each displaying delicacies ornately wrapped and proudly bearing the Sardo or La Corse emblems. Most abundant is the famous emblem of the four heads of the black pirates, adorned with the blood-red scarf tied at the neck, reminiscent of blood-thirsty Captain Hook of “Peter Pan” fame.
The poisonniere in Bonifacio sells the finest of each day’s catch, while nearby the produce market sells the freshest lemons, ruccola (rocket), long grey-black aubergines/melanzana and every possible agricultural produce from the islands’ soil. Delicious tiny vine tomatoes have an unforgettable taste, and are perfect with goats’ cheese and grissini.
Specialty salami shops are adorned with long skinny and not-so-skinny salamis, a deep-black colour and far more chewy than standard salamis from Italy.
When discussing their particular deep flavour, the providore explained that the Corsican black pig salami had a strong taste, pointing to her stomach to indicate plenty of fat and blood – charming! Equally as charming – not! – are the slabs of tripe and other offal cuts in the local boucheries.
In the finest of French traditions, the boulangeries in Bonifacio produce the tastiest and lightest of baguettes along with delicious light pastries and slabs of pizza, in deference to neighbour Sardinia.
And of course both islands proudly produce delicious gelato in so many different flavours, and the tastiest of cones. Legend has it that it was the Moors, the Arabs, who introduced citrus fruit to Italy, after they landed in Sicily, and that looking at Mt Etna and seeking to quench their thirsts, they invented gelato!
Sardegna’s famous white wine, Vermintina, is magical and the perfect complement to the island’s produce. So too is the local rosé from Corsica Terres Rouges from the Ile de Beaute, the bottle proudly stating that it has been produced locally since 1830 – around the time of famous Corsican Napoleon Bonaparte!. The local beer, Colomba, comes in red and white varieties and makes the perfect thirst-quencher to the summer heat.
Next stop will be Barcelona and the start of our Spanish and Portuguese odyssey. No doubt the gastronomic highlights will again be something to savour.
Stay – Bonifacio
This hotel, Solemare, is another treasure, on the waterfront and outlooking to the upper town. Also affordable, three stars and very stylish.
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TOP IMAGE: Hotel Solemare Bonifacio