Around the olive tree and the chestnut tree
Chestnut orchards and olive groves contribute to Corsica's landscape heritage.
The terrain on which they are planted is highly varied, with different levels of incline, not always accessible to machinery, and sometimes distant from any roads or villages.
The chestnut tree
Each valley is a "cru" of exceptional gustatory richness. Just under 50 varieties of chestnuts are known, amongst which in particular: the campanese, the gentile, the niella and the tighjulana highly appreciated for their flour, the rossa and the insitina for confectionary ("marrons glacés") and the carpinaghja, as eating fruit.
Although the main commercial application of chestnuts involves processing into flour (AOC/PDO "Farina castagnina corsa"), they are also used to make many other products (jams, marrons glacés, liqueurs, etc.). There is also a "Miel de châtaigniers" PDO. In addition, as part of the AOC cured meat finishing process, Corsican pigs are taken to chestnut groves to give their meat its characteristic taste.
Corsican chestnuts reach natural maturity (fruit fall) between mid-October and end of November.
History explains for a large part the origin and diversity of olive varieties. Thus, the Sabine, the most widespread variety in Corsica, and in particular in Balagne, has been locally selected solely from wild olive trees, as was the Capanacce, the dominant variety in the Cap Corse region. It would seem that the latter has adapted to rather hostile conditions (winds and sea spray). Some varieties are of Toscan origin ("Ghjermana" and "Ghjermana di Balagna"), while others, such as the Zinzala, are the result of hybridisations between local Oleasters and introduced varieties.
The dominant flavours differ depending on the varieties and their combinations, but the "Huile d’olive de Corse-Oliu di Corsica" AOC/PDO stands out thanks to its sweetness in the mouth.
Olive harvests take place, depending on the variety, between November and June in the various production areas. The first oils are available for sale from December onwards.