Saturday, June 21, 2008


Corsican wheat makes a comeback

Today’s item is all about wheat, and its main by-product, bread.

A friend came to stay with us in Corsica last Sunday, who made a request I have never heard before. She said she finds that the traditional French baguette disagrees with her and asks if there are other types of loaf one can buy here.

The answer is of course a resounding yes, but I don’t want to talk about the diversity and excellence of modern Corsican bread just now. Instead I am going to flag up the work of a group of wheat enthusiasts who are seeking to identify, develop and even perhaps reintroduce one or two ancient varieties of wheat which are known to have been grown and used for bread-making in Corsica in antiquity.

The people doing this have formed themselves into an association with the name “U Granu Anticu”. It was founded in December in the island’s Roman capital, Aleria. It seems that eight farmers already have 150 hectares of the stuff growing. There seems to be a coming-together of the great and the good in Corsica around this project (the University in Corte, archaeologists, historians and agricultural experts according to Corse Matin (11th June 2008).

I wish them the very best of luck. Maybe one day they will be able to overcome our friend’s inability to eat baguettes.

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