Corsica; part 2, Corte and the Restonica Valley

Copyright Millie Brown

Notre Dame des neiges stands in front of the 'Aiguilles de Bavella' (Bavella needles, mountain peaks).

Copyright Millie Brown

After a night spent in the charming village of Zonza and a wonderful dinner of wild boar we headed to the Aiguilles de Bavella and then north again further into the mountains to the town of Corte.

Copyright Millie Brown

Farmed animals here are free to roam and feed themselves on the island's wild chestnuts and other plants and island herbs, at the same time they are kept away from the olive tree which would make their meat too oily. This diet gives the meat its unique Corsican flavor. Breeding with the island's wild boar is avoided by castrating the males and desexing the females. Here in the image above our stationary car was being used as a cool shady place for an afternoon nap by these very cute and friendly piglets.

Copyright Millie Brown

Copyright Millie Brown

The town of Corte situated in the center of the island, once the capital of independent Corsica and part of the Corsican Republic, headed by Pasquale Paoli in the 18th Century.

Copyright Millie Brown

Jean Pierre Gaffori, leader of the resistance against Genoese rule in the 18th Century, looking very determined!

Copyright Millie Brown

Image left; the house where Arrighi de Casanova (born 1778 Duke of Padua and a French diplomat and soldier in the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars) and another historic figure Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte, born 1708, King of Naples and Sicily and elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte were born. Napoleon himself was born in Ajaccio. Image right; the Corsican flag.

Copyright Millie Brown

THE RESTONICA VALLEY SITUATED SOUTH OF CORTE

Copyright Millie Brown

Copyright Millie Brown

Copyright Millie Brown

Copyright Millie Brown

In the mountains of Corsica it's all about meat and cheese and they do them so very, very well. So well in fact that  it led me to a mainland self imposed cheese ban for having eaten way too much of it on the island! (well intentioned but very short lived as are most of my self imposed disciplinary actions)!

Here at Felix Battiste's hut (Bergerie de Melu) in the Restonica Valley you can taste some of the islands best brebis cheese. While the cheese is made down in the valley, Felix brings his sheep up to live with him (at approximately 1600m altitude) for the summer months. They share their home with Felix's donkeys who are a practical necessity here in the mountains, returning to the valley each day with Felix to collect supplies for the hut. (The sheep were still down in the valley on the day we visited, the nights are still too cold for them in early June).

For most of the hike up I was thinking of fried cheese beignets after having read they were served in the mountain huts here, as well as an omelette au brocciu (brocciu being the soft Corsican cheese made with either goats milk or sheep's milk), however on arrival I discovered they only prepared these dishes in the busier summer months. No complaints, the bread, cheese and salami combination was a perfect mountain lunch.  (Felix's cousin is responsible for the delicious salami).

This rugged, stunningly beautiful part of Corsica should not be missed, take the inland roads for their beauty but be prepared for some hairy driving!  The road from Corte to the valley in particular is interesting in a scary kind of way, with the road wide enough for one way traffic it has a stream of two way traffic moving along it at sometimes ridiculously high speeds.

Corsica; here on this island with it's beautiful mountain and sea air, stunning scenery, authentic villages and relaxed and happy locals is where I could so very easily stay.  Who knows maybe one day I'll find a parcel of land bursting with olive trees and bleating goats and do just that!

Millie xx

Corsica; part 1, Bonifacio and up into the mountains

Corsica; Part 3, Porto, l'Ile Rousse and Calvi

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