This is an excerpt from the book “Trieste and Friuli”.
San Daniele prosciutto is the most famous product of the Friuli agricolture.
Love and respect for food are the pride and the banner of Friuli Venezia Giulia. Every single itinerary, every discovery regarding arts or nature has its joyful ending around a table lavishly laid out with different and surprising tasty dishes. In actual fact, here you will find yourself right in the heart of the cross-roads where the freshness of the Mediterranean cuisine, the mountain goodness of the Alpine dishes, the savory taste of the Slav and Austro-Hungarian specialties all come together, without being mixed up. And you will always feel satisfied and contented.
Molluscs, shellfish and fresh fish all add color and savor to the characteristic cuisine that can be tasted along the coastline.
However, Friuli Venezia Giulia also means frico (a delicious cooked cheese dish), Montasio Cheese, San Daniele prosciutto – cured ham, asparagus, gubana (a traditional cake made with dried fruit), olive oil from the Riviera in Trieste and thousands of other specialties and products characteristic of the single places and territories.
Whether you may have chosen one of the most famous restaurants mentioned in the best Italian and foreign guidebooks, or an agri-resort on a hill, or a village osteria or inn (In Friuli Venezia Giulia there are still many of these typical places!) or even a typical osmizza (a kind of agri-resort) on the Carsic area in Trieste, the Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia will always be a surprise for you when you sit down to eat at one of its tables.
San Daniele prosciutto is one of the world’s best hams, made only by 27 small producers within the town of San Daniele. The locals will tell you that the quality of the pigs, fresh air from the nearby Alps, humidity of the Adriatic Sea, and the care taken with seasoning are what make this ham deliciously unique. Free of additives and seasoned only with sea salt, San Daniele proscuitto has no more than 3-4% fat, found only on the edges of the meat.
A basic frico consists of cheese that has been fried like a pancake until it is crisp. Potatoes and other ingredients can be added, which makes the dish more of a frittata or omelet. There are endless variations to be found throughout Fruili Venezia-Giulia; every village and valley seems to have its own special version. Once a staple of local shepherds, today a frico most often appears as an appetizer.
Montasio cheese has been an export of the region since the 18th century, and today, it may only be produced legally within the area covering Friuli Venezia-Giulia and the Veneto provinces of Belluno and Treviso, together with parts of Padua and Venice. This delicious cow’s milk cheese is mild when young; stronger when aged to 10 months; and tangy at its most mature, when it can be grated as an alternative to Parmesan.
Friuli-Venezia Giulia Recipes:
Friuli typical foods include:
Boreto alla graisana: chowder of fish (preferably turbot) stewed with olive oil, garlic, vinegar.
Fasoj e uardi: bean and barley soup with pork, onion, celery and herbs.
Frico: aged Montasio grated, mixed with cornmeal and fried flat and crisp; some recipes add chopped onions or potatoes.
Granzevola alla triestina: spider crab meat baked with breadcrumbs, garlic, lemon, parsley.
Gulasch or glas: beef stewed with onion, tomato, herbs, chili peppers and paprika.
Jota or jote: beans, potatoes and sausages simmered with broth in an earthenware pot are flavored with sauerkraut and sage sauteed in garlic in the Trieste version of the soup.
Muset e bruada pork-rind sausage boiled and served with bruada or brovada (turnips pickled in vinegar), sauteed with onion, garlic, salt pork.
Paparot: corn meal with chopped spinach and garlic in a tasty gruel.
Risotto di Marano: rice boiled in fish stock served with sauteed shrimp, squid and mussels.