Situated in the north-east of Italy, it’s cuisine is strongly influenced by Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia. The region is well known for it’s San Daniele del Friuli ham which is considered to be the best in the world, Prosciutto is a seasoned and salt cured ham and the designation “di San Daniele” assures the consumer that the ham has met government mandated regulations for its production, Montasio cheese and Frico cheese. Smoked meats and game, accompanied by Gnocchi or Polenta, are typical of the region, as are stews, bean soups, goulash, sauerkraut and bacon. The cuisine of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia is strongly influenced by it climate and its diverse landscape of mountains, valleys, its southern border along the Adriatic Sea and the plains which slope gently down to the coast, all of which produce excellent conditions for growing a large variety of crops. In the farming communities the green meadows support pigs, cattle and chickens are raised, the town of Carnia is especially famous for its pork.
In the Tagliamento River valley common crops are beans, corn, cereal crops, root vegetables, grapes and beans which feature in many of the Friulian dishes such as the Jota, a bean soup from Trieste. The forests in the mountains provide many different varieties of mushrooms and the sea brings fish in abundance also seafood, particularly the beloved eel. The Slavic influence is seen in many of the regions favourite recipes and the love of coffee and strudel comes straight from Austria. Pasta is not found quite as much as in other parts of Italy and Polenta takes its place, as do the Knödel and Gnocchi, all of which are excellent accompaniments to the rich stews of the region such as Goulash. The sausages and cured meats of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia are very popular and tasty, some of them are also very spicy, Friuli is noted for many kinds of sausages, salami, and pancetta. Many of the dishes are prepared in the open-hearthed ovens of the region called Fogolar. The dairy industry of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia may be small but it is very important to the region and it produces some very good cheeses, butter and cream are used in profusion in the traditional recipes. Cheeses of the region include Tabor di Monrupino, Litauer, Carnia, Ricotta and Montasio. Montasio is a cow’s milk cheeses which can be aged 5-10 months if fresh or aged over 10 months, the longer it is aged the sharper the flavour becomes and the oldest of the Montasios can be grated and used just as one would use Parmesan.
The region of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia has long been a wine producing area in fact it has been producing excellent wines since around 1,000 BC. Reds and whites, dry and sweet there is something to suit every palate and accompany every dish. Friulia grows a wide range of grapes, both indigenous and imported. Look out for Chardonnays, Rieslings, Cabernets, Pinot Nero, Pinot Grigios, Pinot Biancos, Merlots and Sauvignons, and the famous sweet wine Ramandolo. Lastly there is Grappa which is a brandy distilled from ‘marc’, the left-overs after the juice has been pressed to produce wine. There are many different grappas around but it is well worth searching out the best of them.
- Ramandolo (Bianco), produced in the province of Udine, in the area of Ramandolo, in the commune of Nimis, Italy and in part of the comune of Tarcento
Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit (Passito), produced in the province of Udine
Rosazzo, produced in the province of Udine
- Carso produced in the provinces of Gorizia and Trieste
Colli Orientali del Friuli produced in the province of Udine
Colli Orientali del Friuli Cialla produced in the province of Udine
Colli Orientali del Friuli Rosazzo produced in the province of Udine
Collio Goriziano (Collio) produced in the province of Gorizia
Friuli Annia produced in the province of Udine
Friuli Aquileia produced in the province of Udine
Friuli Grave produced in the provinces of Pordenone and Udine
Friuli Isonzo produced in the province of Gorizia
Friuli Latisana produced in the province of Udine
Lison Pramaggiore an inter-regional DOC produced in the provinces of Pordenone (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) and Venezia and Treviso (Veneto)