Calinzana has three 'special' products: its cheese, its wine and its biscuits. Calinzana is the cheese (whether sheep or goat). The wine is an AOC Corse Calvi and it's Calinzana that has the biggest concentration of these producers (5 of the 10). Fritelle and cuggiulelle are the biscuits. Historically Calinzana was known for its honey and there are still excellent producers of AOC Melu di Corsica. Calizana was also a significant producer of olive oil, as elsewhere in the Balagne.
Nicole & Christian Perrin - Corsican Biscuits (canistrelli, macaroons etc): E Fritelle, Tiassu Longu (tel 04 95 62 78 17).
Gisèle & Greg Noesen-Grimaldi - Home-made cakes, jams and other Corsican delicacies: L'Atelier du Village, Place Commune (tel 04 95 62 75 83, fax 04 95 62 77 88) - Greg is from the US, so you can get informed in English.
Nathalie Liccia is a patissière and recently opened a shop in the village (next to the tabac behind the Casazza. She produces her delicacies at home.
Marie & Franck Dupré - Honey AOC Melu di Corsica: Pellicani, between Moncale and Suare, (tel & fax 04 95 65 07 74) - they regularly win medals for their honies in Paris. They produce a wide range (asphodel, clementine, heather, lavender, maquis, chestnut, arbutus).
Yves Tercé - Honey AOC Melu di Corsica: Mezzanodi, Route de l'Aeroport (tel 04 95 27 14).
Bernard Villanova - Wine - AOC Corse Calvi: Camellu, Route de Calvi (tel 04 95 62 79 92 or 06 80 10 79 02).
Laurent Cardi - Wine - AOC Corse Calvi: Domaine Cardi, 17 Carrughju Landanu (tel 04 95 62 72 45).
Domaine Orsini - Wine - AOC Corse Calvi is one Calinzana vineyard you should visit, since Tony Orsini produces not only wine, but eau de vie, aperitifs, jams, nougat and fruit sweets. When you go, treat yourself to a bottle of Fratellenzana, a sparkling blanc de blanc brut that with your eyes shut, you'd class as an excellent Champagne! Domaine Orsini, Rochebelle-Pietralba, on the road between Calvi and Calinzana (tel 04 95 62 81 01; fax 04 95 62 79 70).
Achille Aquaviva - Wine - AOC Corse Calvi: Domaine de la Figarella, Route de l'Aeroport (tel 04 95 65 07 24; fax 04 95 65 41 58). Created in 1961, Achille's daughter Marina, a winemaster (oenologue) is progressively taking over. She won a silver medal for her white wine (vermentinu) in 2003.
Pierre Aquaviva - Wine - AOC Corse Calvi: Domaine d'Alzipratu, route de Zilia (04 95 62 75 47; fax 04 95 60 32 16). This is an excellent vineyard producing Corsican varieties.
Jean-Louis & Lisa Villanova - Sheep Cheese: Pellicani, between Moncale and Suare (tel 04 95 62 82 39 & 06 32 93 83 60). Their sheep graze freely on their land and eat an interesting variety of plants - the matured cheese has a nutty flavour and won two prizes in 2004. They'll welcome you at their place, but it's worth phoning in advance (mealtimes are best).
Marcel Geronomi - Sheep cheese: Marsolinu (tel 04 95 65 0013) - Marsolinu is just over the Marsolinu pass if you take the road from Calinzana to Galeria through Suare. Marcel's son, Jean-Luc is one of the singers in the A Filetta polyphony group. You can get his cheese in the Calinzana village Spar shop. There are two other shepherds in Marsolinu: Antoine Massoni (sheep) and Jean-François Acquaviva (goats).
Jean-Louis & Sandrine Guidoni - Goat Cheese: La Bergerie de Frassigna, Route de Bonifatu (04 95 60 71 79 & 06 15 20 74 25). As well as a herd of goats, they have many other farm animals and those who camp on their land will be able to sample other products. Their cheese is matured and their animals eat different forest vegetation as well as grass.
Madeleine Rutily - Cheese Maturer: she matures cheeses for those shepherds that don't have their own cheese maturing rooms (see below).
Guidoni Frères et Fils - Charcuterie: Rue Neuve, just below the Mairie - the fils is the Maire and the dad Barthélemy has recently passed on. The Maire is called Pierre, and the town hall takes so much of his time, he's seldom to be seen in the shop! (tel 04 95 62 70 01).
There are two variants of Calinzana cheese - the primaticciu and the vecchju. Calinzana cheese making methodology is one of the five main Corsican types. It is important to say that each shepherd has his or her own special methods and in any event the grazing of the sheep or goats varies and produces differing tastes. The primaticcu is eaten about 4-5 months after making and the vecchju at about 10-12 months. There are about fifteen Calinzana producers, although not all are in the commune of Calinzana, vast though it is.
The Calinzana was in the old days produced by shepherds in the Niolu and then brought down to Calinzana for maturing. So, the role of 'maturers' (e casgilante)in Calinzana is what makes the cheese different to other Corsican regional cheeses. These people were called somewhat derogatorally incittaghji; the verb incittatà is literrally translated as 'to monopolise' (goods), but an incittaghju was a person who made the shepherd's life easier, since he produced the fresh cheese (basically a few days old, after draining the whey) and he did not have to be concerned with the labour-intensive and lengthy process of maturation and selling. However as with all middlemen, even today, they were criticised for making too high a margin on sales.
The cheeses are stocked in damp cellars in wooden coffers (e magile) that hold between 500-800 kilos each. After two months the cheeses have the crusts scraped off before the final maturing process.
Traditionally (other) incittaghji were active in the selling of Balagne olive oil. Ambulants would take olive oil over the hills for example, to the Castagniccia and return with chestnut flour. They worked in general in the barter business rather than using money.
There is only one maturer left in Calinzana. Cheeses in other regions are prepared by the shepherd and after a few days they can then be left to mature on their own, thus the specialist maturer is not required. The agricultural development agency has encouraged shepherds to do their own maturing these days, but there are those who consider this inappropriate.
The Calinzana is square in shape with rounded corners and weigh about 300-400 grammes. The surface and the cheese is white to off-white and smooth; the smell is not strong and the slightly salty taste is gentle. The making involves curdling fresh milk and the letting the whey drain in baskets; they are regularly turned and then progressively made into shape and salted on the outside. The maturing process involves regular turning and wiping and before being offered for sale, the cheeses are given a final wash to remove the excess salt.
Thanks to Jean-Antoine Prost of INRA, Corte.
Wine making was introduced into the Balagne by the Pisans in the C11. The Corse Calvi appellation is specific to the granitic nature of the soil. The three main vines are the Niellucciu, the Sciacarellu - red grapes - and the Vermentinu - white grapes. There are reds, both fruity ones to drink young and more tannic ones to lay down; young floral whites and more round ones to keep; rosés are delicately fruity, dry and light. The latter are excellent for summer drinking, especially at lunch; I especially like the vins gris - very pale rosés. The reds are hearty in the evening and especially good with Corsican cuisine.
The Niellucciu give deep dense red wines with aromas of red fruits and violets, with a woodiness that evolves to spicy aromas with maquis flowers. The Sciacarellu has its name from the adjective for 'crunchy' and it is only found in Corsica; gives fine wines, smooth and delicately coloured with a peppery bouquet plus red fruits, spices, coffee and maquis flowers. The Vermentinu is sometimes called the 'malvoisie de Corse'. It makes one of the best white wines of the Mediterranean; dry and often high in degrees - pale with hints of yellow-green; a floral bouquet with apple and almond.
If you want any more pointers to enjoying a visit to Calinzana, you could do worse than asking us. If you'd like to visit more of Corsica, then go to Corsica Isula - a website with a vast coverage of all aspects of Corsica.
calinzana.corsica-isula.com © 2005 William Keyser