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the story of Bonifacio and the brocciu

Direction the sun, the maquis, the landscapes of character. Direction Corsica this morning.

Corsica, which should be enjoyed now and until June, before the summer surge. This is really where you will “meet the Corsicans”. This time I’m taking you to the south, to the Bonifacio region. Bonifacio which is sacred City of art and history, very representative of the 1,000 years of history of the city. Listen to Pierre Gazano, an inexhaustible guide-lecturer. “In the old town alone, which represents two and a half hectares (which is very small for a city), you have eleven religious buildings. This testifies to a past that is both rich and powerful, and which goes beyond small geographical limits of this cliff, of this promontory which makes eight hectares in total. ”

And then, according to Pierre, there is a place not to be missed for “Vivre Bonifacio”: the old market place, which was open to everyone in the old days. It is the pétanque ground, a strategic place, open on this arm of the sea between Corsica and Sardinia, that we had to watch. And there, at aperitif time, there are games of pétanque that unleash passions.

And then, above all, there is this view of the Mediterranean Sea, as far as the eye can see.

So obviously the beaches and coves around, but it is also an opportunity to go pesca-tourism. You know what it is ? Listen to Philippe Botti, who has been a fisherman for 30 years. “It’s the discovery of the fishing profession. You come with us in the morning. You enjoy the good weather, the beautiful view, and at the same time, you see how a day of fishing goes. We make the nets, the traditional rush traps and we fish with longlines too. We haul lobsters, danti, capon, red mullet … a bit of everything. ”

I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to go learn the fishing profession (which is not my hobby at the base) with an emblematic figure of Bonifacio.

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Did you find us some good accommodation addresses, I imagine?

  • A hotel with an exceptional location in the medieval city. You are at the end of the peninsula with a breathtaking view of the cliffs, Sardinia and the strait of the mouths of Bonifacio. And in addition the owner of the place, Marie is very caring. This is the Hotel Santateresa.
  • One bed and breakfast, in stone: Villa A Manichetta in a garden of hundred-year-old olive trees. Evelyne prepares small breakfasts with homemade products.
  • And there, the top. A four star: the charming lodge hotel A Cheda. A break with an organic vegetable garden, a swimming pool and a restaurant that serves fish caught the same day, maybe in Philippe’s nets.

Marion, what is the Corsican specialty you are going to make us taste?

Today is National Cheese Day. I wanted to tell you about the only Corsican cheese with a Protected Designation of Origin: brocciu. And it’s good, we’re in the middle of the season, since brocciu is not enjoyed all year round but when the animals give milk! Basically from October to June.

It’s not really a cheese, it’s a little indefinable. It is a creamy product that Corsican farmers have been making since time immemorial. The recipe would come from an ogre. In any case, it is the legend that surrounds this Corsican sweetness. Johanna Barazzoli, a brocciu producer, tells us about it.

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“According to legend, the estate of the casa di urcu was inhabited by an ogre, very wicked. The inhabitants decided to remove this terrible giant that stole their sheep and goats. This ogre had a secret: that of making brocciu. By cunning, the shepherds captured him. They negotiated the brocciu recipe. The ogre gave them the recipe for the famous brocciu and they killed the ogre. After that it’s a legend. ”

This recipe has been passed down from generation to generation orally. It was not until the 19th century that brocciu first appeared in writing, but Corsican farmers had been making it for a long time.

Is it goat cheese?

Goat or sheep, or a mixture of the two. In fact, brocciu is made from whey, the whey of sheep or goat cheeses. To make brocciu, you must first make a goat’s or sheep’s cheese. Recover the whey, which will be heated to 40 degrees with a little salt before adding whole sheep or goat milk and bring it to a temperature of 80 degrees. The brocciu producer can make a pure goat brocciu, pure sheep or a mixture of the two. He will harvest in the skimmer the dough that rises to the surface and which, once drained, will give fresh brocciu.

It’s a real cheese trick. Some in Piana still use traditional methods: they make their brocciu in copper pots, which are heated over a wood fire. Johanna Barazzoli has a less rustic farm on the Corte side in Omessa.

But if you walk on the GR20, in the Corsican mountains, do not hesitate to stop at her house, at the U tribiu cheese factory. She will show you how this brocciu is made and you will see her 40 sheep and 200 goats of Corsican breeds evolve in freedom and this is what gives all this character to this cheese.

How do we eat it?

  • Either fresh: it is very creamy. It lasts 5 days. You can eat it with a spoon, it’s tender, it melts in your mouth. Traditionally, it is brushed with a little brandy with a little sugar.
  • Let it be refined: it is called “Passage” when it is drained. Be “dry”, but it is very salty.
  • Either cooked: I love cannelloni, traditionally cannelloni are made with chard and mint.

But the most classic is the Corsican flan: the fiadone. This is the quintessential Corsican cake. I made you one! It is vanilla, while traditionally lemon zest is added. It’s a matter of patience, since you have to drain the fresh brocciu, for a week in the fridge. Once drained, mash the brocciu with a fork in a salad bowl, whisk before incorporating the eggs one at a time, then the sugar and a few lemon zest. Remains to be baked in a hot oven. The custard should be golden.



  • 500 g of fresh brocciu
  • 5 eggs
  • 100g sugar
  • Zest of a lemon or 1 vanilla bean
  • Butter for the mold

Production :

1. Start by draining the brocciu a week before. Leave in the fridge.

2. On D-day, crush the brocciu with a fork and whisk. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well each time.

3. Add the sugar and the flavor: lemon zest or the seeds of a vanilla bean.

4. Butter the mold. Bake in a hot oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes. The cake should be lightly browned.

5. Unmould when cold. And serve chilled.

What do we drink with it?

  • With the fiadone: a Muscat du Cap Corse.
  • With plain brocciu, if you prefer a red wine: a Porto Vecchio; and with a white wine, I recommend an Ajaccio, with its notes of citrus fruits and white flowers.

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