In Friuli-Venezia Giulia, on the very North-East of Italy, the middle European, the Venetian and the Slavic cultures come together. Like the art and the traditions, the tastes from this area are a combination of different cultures that produce many unique products and recipes that are influenced by the landscapes, the environment and the climate. There are some typical products that have been awarded with the DOP (protected Designation of Origin) denomination like the San Daniele ham, the Montasio cheese, the Tergeste extra-virgin olive oil, the Brovada, the little sausages, the wines like the Friulano and the Ribolla Gialla, the IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) products like the Sauris ham as well as the traditional recipes like the frico, the musetto, the cjarsons, the jota, the gubana, the presnitz, the putizza and the corn polenta. Friuli-Venezia Giulia is a fantastic journey through many different products and tastes, an amazing route full of surprises and emotions for your mouth too. If you don’t want to get lost among the tastes from this area you can visit the website dedicated to this region www.turismofvg.it/Strada-del-Vino-e-dei-Sapori.
Cividale del Friuli, between the vineyards and gubana
Cividale del Friuli is one of the most important towns of this region because of its art and history, it’s an Orange Flag of the Italian Touring Club and it’s the heart of the hills that stretch towards the Eastern part of Udine. It’s an interesting village from the architectural point of view, featured by a beautiful historical centre with the painted houses’ walls and a network of narrow streets and little squares where you can see the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta dating back to the 14th century, the city hall dating back to the 15th century and the National Archaeological Museum. This area is also famous for its vineyards that enables this territory to become one of the main areas for the production of wine. Among the several DOC and DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin) types of wine that are produced in the province of Udine there are the Picolit, the Tocai from Friuli, the Ribolla Gialla and the Sauvignon. Cividale isn’t just a land of wines but of cheese and sweets as well among which there are the typical sweet from the Natisone valleys called gubana that is made of some sweet leavened dough filled with nuts, raisin, pine nuts, sugar and grated lemon peel.
Fagagna, cheese and Pestàt
Fagagna is gathered around a hill where the findings of an old castle are set and it’s considered one of the most beautiful villages of Italy, it’s well known for its savory cheese from Favagna , it’s a PAT (traditional food product) product that was born in 1865 at the local county cheese factory. This cheese is featured by a smooth yellowish crust that gets brown after the maturing process. The village also offers the interesting museum of the peasants’ life where you can see the typical peasants’ houses and the social manufacturing context related to the rural environment, you can also see the parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta whose floor dates back to the 5th century. Another delicacy from this village is the “Pestàt di Fagagna”, the typical seasoning that was used to preserve the vegetables and the herbs’ tastes in the pork fat in Autumn. The pork fat is minced and mixed with the vegetables and the spice that are put inside a natural casing then it’s seasoned in wet cool cellars.
Grado, the eel and the seafood
It’s a network of canals, islands, islets, sandy dunes and marshy basins. Grado is the Northern wettest area of the Mediterranean sea, it’ featured by a unique eco-system where the herons, the common teals, the cormorants, the grey tufted ducks swans, the gear-eagles, the marsh harriers are the protagonists of an environment where the foxes, the weasels, the deer, the hares, the rabbits and the badgers are important too. It’s a picturesque labyrinth of narrow streets and little squares featured by traditional architectures, stone walls, staircases and chimneys where you can stop and taste the local cuisine. Many specialties are served in the restaurants like the “bisato in speo”, an expression from the local dialect meaning “barbecued eel”, chopped into pieces and cooked on a spit with the laurel branches. There’s a lot of fish to eat in Grado like the mackerels, sardine, the mullets, the horse mackerels and the bonitos, besides the shellfish and the seafood.
Gradisca d’Isonzo, goulasch and the plums gnocco
Gradisca is one of the most charming villages of the region, it’s surrounded by the towers, the ramparts, the restored walls and the findings of the ancient stronghold that was built by the Venetian people on the right bank of the Isonzo river. It’s a land of memories from World War I, it’s a village full of noble palaces, a garden village whose historical centre is featured by beautiful buildings among which the Torriani palace where the council hall is based that took inspiration from Palladio’s villas, the Palace of Monte di Pietà with an elegant doorway and the Merchants’ Loggia with its nice loggia and three rusticated arches. There is also the cathedral with its beautiful Baroque front side and the Church of Addolorata dating back to the 15th century. There are many wine cellars in this area that offer visits together with the wine tasting. Among the typical dishes from this area you can taste the goulasch, the plums gnocco, the codfish, the trippa, the salami and the cheese.
The plains, between the brovada and the white asparagus
The plains in the area of Friuli are a sort of carpet of tiny villages, mills, old factories, historical villas and castles where you can explore the history and the culture of this part of Italy near the heart of Central Europe. The restaurants offer the classical frico as well as delicious pork meat dishes and salami. The delicious white asparagus from Tavagnacco are celebrated in several festivals and events that are held in Spring, then there is also the salame from Friuli, the sausages, the “soppressa”, the bacon, the lard, the “musetto” and the “marcundela” made of chopped liver, spleen, kidneys and lungs. You can’t miss the historical “brovada” to be sipped with a good roast or a good dish of polenta then there are the specialties like the duck salami, the duck raw ham, the speck and the duck breast that you can match with the wines from the DOC Friuli Grave area.
The Carso, fish and cheese
The dry land of Carso tells about the wine and the cheese and much more. The salmon, the famous extra virgin Tergeste DOP oil from the Rosandra valley, a taste of jota, the traditional soup of cabbage and beans, the Jamar cheese, matured for at least four months inside a karstic cave that is called jama in Sloveniana, the pickled vegetables, the savory raw ham from Carso, many different types of cheese to taste with the very good honey from Marasca, then the porcina, the home-made cheese, many different tastes to be matched with the local wine like the Terrano or the more romantic Vitovska. The Monte Re cheese is one of the best products from this area, it dates back to the Austrian-Hungarian domination, it’s produced in one single dairy farm. Then there’s the meat and the fish from the coastline among which the mussels also known as “pedoci”, the clams that are called “caperozzoli” and the sardine that are called “sardoni” that are dressed “in savor” that is fried and pickled in the vinegar and the onions.
The hills, the land of wine
Between the plains and the mountains there are the hills, it’s a land of vineyards and wine cellars. It’s an area where the DOC wine from Collio, the Friuli Isonzo, the Friuli Eastern Hills and the Friuli Grave cross over together with the DOCG Picolit, the Rosazzo and the Ramandolo. It’s a high quality heritage. It’s a stretch of vineyards that produce high quality wines like the Grey Pinot Grigio and the White Pinot, the Sauvignon and the Friulano, the Ribolla Gialla and the Cabernet Franc, the Collio, the Merlot and the Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is everywhere, you can sip it with the wonders of the local food mainly with one of the main local product, the San Daniele Ham from Friuli, the cheese and the Rose from Gorizia, a type of tasty red chicory. In this area the Austrian, the Slovenian and the Italian traditions come together and you can eat the goulash, the blecs, the glizlikrof, a sort of filled ravioli, the gnocchi made of bread, the kipfel that are a type of fried pasta, the strudel, the putizza, the krapfen and the palacinke that are salty and sweet omelette.
The Carnia, between the Montasio DOP and the Pitina IGP
Sea, plains, hills and mountains. Friuli-Venezia Giulia also means peaks and valleys, natural parks and tracks, lakes and canyons. The higher part of the region, the Carnia, is featured by the unspoilt nature and it offers many slow routes in the mountains and in the rural areas, in the forests and around the charming villages where there is a diversified dairy production. The famous Montasio DOP cheese, the Sauris ham and the Pitina, both awarded with the IGP denomination are only a part of the several excellent products that are produced in the mountains where the popular traditions are very important too. If you visit the Carnia you must taste the special cjarsons, the bitter-sweet ravioli filled with a dough of herbs, potatoes, the raisin and sometimes even some chocolate, they are dressed with some melted butter and some cinnamon. The Carnia and its mountains also means the borlotti beans, “formadi frant”, it’s a dough of cheese belonging to the Slow Food Movement, the garlic from Resia, the “Radic di Mont”, a wild type of chicory that is picked up in the mountain pastures, the Asìno cheese, the boned loin and the “brusaula” that are little pieces of dried lean meat.
The places of taste
If you want to enjoy the world of tastes from Friuli-Venezia Giulia you can visit many different places. From the mountains to the plains, the hills and the sea there are many restaurants, farmhouses and tasty food shops that will give you unique emotions. There is the restaurant Al Monastero, the farmhouse Al Bosco Romagno in Cividale del Friuli, the Cjanor Farm, the Farm of Poggio di Fagagna, the ham factories of San Daniele del Friuli, the Bagatto, the Dok Dall’Ava, the Prolongo and the Alberti Ham House dating back to 1906, the restaurant La Taverna di Colloredo of Monte Albano, the wine cellar of Castelvecchio di Sagrado, the Borgo Conventi Mansion and the Villanova di Farra d’Isonzo Mansion then there is the restaurant Al Piave of Mariano del Friuli, the Castle of Rubbia di Savogna, the old Inn Alla Fortuna and the Inn All’Androna of Grado, the sweets shop and the farmhouse Bellaminut Cristian of Terzo di Aquileia and many other places to discover and choose from the website www.turismo.fvg.it.
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