“How is our très cher Couvent ?” Is the sort of question Emmanuelle Picon is used to hearing by now. As the inheritor of...
Only accessible by sea or by the footpath that runs beside it, La Cabane du Lodu looks like mirage, set against the backdrop of the Désert des Agriates. This encampment, set in the middle of idyllic countryside, is the result of human endeavour and a family venture begun by Hervé Pagni, a Corsican native. It seems to be part of the landscape, in tune with the elements, much to the delight of those who manage to make the trip. La Cabane du Lodu is an experience that has to be earned. As much as the Saleccia beach that edges it and the fine sand and translucent water of which continue to haunt our imaginations once we’ve left them behind. An interior designer in another life, Hervé and his team have set up home in this little piece of heavenly coastline with its lush vegetation, and created a bubble of weightlessness. As in other places and yet on holiday, we enjoy sampling a minimalist menu where the freshness of the products doesn’t need to proven. Rewarded by the simultaneous smiles of this happy band of friends and tempted by a siesta in the shade in the high-slung hammocks provided, La Cabane du Lodu quickly earns a place is our hearts as an essential port of call on our Corsican journey.
La Cabane du Lodu, sentier du Littoral – 20246 Santo-Pietro-Di-Tenda. Reservations by telephone on 06.66.01.79.54 and at www.lacabanedulodu.com
Hervé, could you introduce yourself, please?
I’m basically an interior designer with the travel bug and the desire to give pleasure to people. When I was 24, I changed direction to the world of restaurants and got my first experience in Spain with some cousins and a few friends. I then began a new adventure, this time in Aix en Provence but still with a cousin. We spent two years there. Here I am today – where I’ve been since 2014 – in this little corner of paradise where The Socialite Family came to find me: La Cabane du Lodu.
What drives you?
The thing I like most about this profession is the way you can always improve, whether in what goes on the plates, the ambiance, or the decor. With a restaurant, you can go looking for new products and so give people the feeling of travelling by taking some time out in the middle of their holiday.
How did you wind up in this magical place?
With a lot of imagination, perspiration and most of all with the help of two lovely people: my friend Jean-Philippe and my father. They fought at my side to help me create and open this cabin, within the law, in this idyllic spot.
What is your signature dish?
Quite simply, our plancha-grilled king prawns. It’s a recipe that I can’t share with you and that will stay in the family. My father invented it and my team and I try to improve it from year to year by adding little touches. Generally speaking, we put just as much effort into every dish we prepare.
Who would be a typical customer of La Cabane du Lodu?
Everyone is welcome at La Cabane du Lodu. We don’t pick and choose our clientele, anyone who turns up here will always be welcomed with open arms and we’ll do our best to ensure that they have a special experience with us. The guys that work with me are all my friends and they are all in tune with the ambiance of the place. They also pass that feeling on to anyone who comes through this famous door, whether in the food they prepare or the atmosphere that reigns on the terrace.
Where do you spend your own holidays?
It changes all the time. Last winter, I went to California but otherwise, I love Italy, and Tuscany in particular. It gives me inspiration too. Before the season starts, I fly off in search of new ideas, particularly when it comes to food.
What’s your favourite swimming spot?
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily