U Salognu: A Sunny Place in Corsica

During our recent trip to Corsica, we chanced upon U Salognu — “the sunny place,” in Corsican — as we do many of our happiest discoveries: by following a roadside sign.

“Traditional Corsican cuisine,” the sign promised from a grassy shoulder off the road that leads from Cargese to Piana. We hadn’t had lunch yet, the hour was creeping dangerously into mid-afternoon territory, and we pulled over hopefully.

It was an old sheep pen made of stone, like there are thousands of abandoned ones across the island, but this one had been restored and turned into a tiny restaurant: six tables inside, and maybe twice more on a terrace outside, overlooking a deep, untouched valley with a waterfall in the far distance.

On the door, another sign announced, “Our menu is composed of ingredients from local sheep breeders and our own farm.” We looked at each other with mirror twinkles in our eyes.

U Salognu

Luckily, it was still time to get lunch. We settled at an outside table, and opted for the twenty-euro, three-course menu. What followed was an unforgettable meal: an exercise in simplicity and the perfect use of perfect ingredients.

It started with a plate of charcuterie, made by the owner with pigs he raises, slaughters*, and butchers: from left to right, saucisson (dried sausage), lonzu (made with tenderloin meat), and coppa (made with sirloin meat).

U Salognu

Next up was a lamb chop from a nearby farm, served with potatoes roasted in olive oil, tender nuggets specked with dried herbs.

U Salognu

Finally, Maxence had the sheep’s milk cheese, made by the owner’s brother and served with housemade fig jam…

U Salognu

… while I sighed my way through a small bowl of soft candied clementines, tangy and sweet.

u_salognu-5

Over the course of this, and then two subsequent lunches — we just couldn’t stay away — we spent some time chatting with the Albertinis, the couple who run U Salognu. It was early in the season and the restaurant wasn’t very busy, so we lingered on the terrace with them over cups of coffee.

U Salognu

They were generous with their stories, and we loved hearing about their militant approach to animal breeding and food production — how they have to resist European regulations in order to stick to the traditional ways, and how they strive to revive an agricultural activity that was all but abandoned when so many of their parents’ generation left Corsica to find work on the mainland. We also delighted in the contrast between their laid-back attitude and their uncompromising standards.

There is a tiny storefront attached to the restaurant, and from there we bought a bit of charcuterie (boar saucisson made with a boar that had plowed its way into their pig pen), a couple of jars of candied clementines (they will be perfect with vanilla ice cream this summer), and two bags of chestnut flour from their own chestnut grove, unlike any I’ve ever tasted — so sweet and cookie-like you want to eat it with a spoon.

U Salognu is on the D81 road that leads from Cargese to Piana — closer to Piana than Cargese, on your right-hand side when coming from Cargese. The phone number is +33 (0)6 72 89 38 84.

* According to French regulation, he should bring the animals to a central slaughterhouse. He explained to us that he did once, and it was such a revolting experience that he would rather do the slaughtering on his own farm and be fined for it.

[Hungry for more Corsican eats and sights? Check the highlights from my previous trip.]

Goats in Corsica

  • http://croquecamille.wordpress.com Camille

    What a lucky find! Makes me eager to get back to Corsica to do more exploring.

  • http://www.joeinvegas.blogspot.com/ joeinvegas

    Such interesting places when you drive the small roads.

  • Liz Thomas

    Oh! I’d love to go to Corsica. We have a Corsican friend here so have heard many other delicious stories from him too!

    Hope you had a wonderful time.

    Cheers!
    Liz

  • http://twitter.com/phillamb168 Phil in France

    Longer form response to “how they have to resist European regulations in order to stick to the traditional ways” -

    I think it’s funny that France is so dead-set against the EU/USA FTA (see recent ‘cultural exception’ for media), but they don’t seem to care 2 centimes for what the EU is doing to its culture. I’d say that it seems hypocritical, and I’d wager that there are some French MEPs that are making a pretty penny getting those sorts of euro regs into the books here.

  • http://www.plattertalk.com Dan from Platter Talk

    Beautiful post! Thanks for transporting your readers to such a far away place. I enjoyed reading this and seeing the photos of your experience in Corsica!

  • http://SpicedCuriosity.com Miachel

    What a beautiful chance to have home-raised charcuterie, along with fresh fruit.

    I’d welcome a chance to meet when you’re in New York. :) Cheers!

  • Sandra

    Mmmyum! On my Must Dine Visit list.

    By the way, finally reading your first book while enjoying an espresso outside, under the brilliant San Diego sun. Charmant!

  • Kristin

    Delicious post! I can’t wait to hear what you will do with the chestnut flour. I’m very curious about it; I’ve never used it but its tops on my list of things I want to try.

  • Pamela

    I look forward to each arrival of Chocolate and Zucchini and I embark on a new gastronomic adventure. Corsica sounds amazing so refreshing to read of the time honoured art of enjoying the preparation as well as the cooking. I am salivating over this page as I type. Thank you so much.

  • Kelly

    Thank you so much for the recommendation, Clotide! My husband and I stopped at U Salognu this week on our drive around Corsica and both agreed that it was the best meal of our trip. Their store was – alas – out of chestnut flour, but we did pick up a bottle of clementine wine and some honey from a local apiary (the first Corsican honey I’ve tasted that’s not slightly bitter from arbouse.) Virginie was very friendly and remembered you well: “la dame aux clémentines!” :) Thanks again for sharing your great find.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That could not make me happier, Kelly, thanks so much for writing! I believe I got some of that same honey — directly from their beekeeper friend — and we are sloooowly savoring our way through the jar.

  • http://livingonbreadalone.wordpress.com/ Thomas Gilligan

    The lamb looks so delicious and perfect for a sunny afternoon that I know I’m not going to have to spend the next few weeks trying to find a good excuse to have people over an cook it!

Planning a trip to Paris?
Eat Your Books Recipe Index

Instagrams

Get the newsletter

Receive a free monthly email with a digest of recent entries, plus exclusive inspiration and special announcements. You can also choose to be notified of every new post.