FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA – The food and wine fields
The food and wine fields
Prosciutto di San Daniele and Montasio are – with wine – the pride of Friuli Venezia Giulia’s agro-food products, true “flag products”, which identify the territory outside the regional and national borders. Other products aspire to this role of “flag”, such as coffee, grappa, goose and trout to name just a few.
But for each of the products that have already found their place in the the global market, there are many others still unknown to the general public, niche products, discovered in those which Davide Paolini called many years ago, with a happy intuition, “enogastronomic deposits“. These are products that were – and in some cases still are – at risk of extinction, because they were neglected, forgotten in the transition from the peasant civilization, to which they belonged, to a more evolved but also more standardized society. It is the case, to mention one that is experiencing a moment of celebrity, of the “formadi frant”: in the past, to recover cheeses not suitable for conversation (defective forms), it was common to crush them, mix them with salt, pepper, milk and cream and then reassemble them in a form or mold. After 40 days the “frant” was ready, with a both sweet and spicy taste. This is the recipe of Carnia; in the Pordenone Valleys, the same mixture is recomposed in terracotta pots, in the dialect “cìt”, from which the name “formai dal cìt”. Also in the Pordenone pedemomtana another niche cheese is born, the Asìno Cheese: the forms are not pressed but matured immersed for two / three months in special wooden tanks (salumuerie). The product obtained with the same technique is called, in Carnia, Formadi Salat.
Even the malga cheese (no need to explain) is a product that is useless to look for in the supermarkets in the metropolis; it’s better to go – during the season of the mountain pasture – and buy it directly in the hut. Turning to cured meats, even the art of Norcina reserves some surprises. Next to all the best known products (and common to the processing of pork throughout Italy: from salami or soppressa all’ossocollo, to cotechino and bacon) you can find delicious meat like the marcundela: a chopped of kidney, liver, lungs, tender fats and cut-outs of meat, wrapped in the net (omentum) of the pig. It is eaten cooked, fried in a frying pan and sprinkled with red wine (but who tried to wet it with Picolit described it as a divine pairing). In mountainous areas, it is possible to taste the Sassaka (so it is called in the Tarvisiano) that becomes Waracke or Waracara in Carnia: a mixture of raw bacon and lard, flavored with herbs and spices. Originally made to flavor soups or vegetables in the pan, it is today required to prepare tasty croutons to accompany with an aperitif. Approaching the sea, you can try to find a preparation now almost gone, the Sievoli soto sal (mullets in salt) that once the women of the lagoon fishermen prepared when fishing was particularly abundant. Alternatively, you can buy mullets, reared in the fishing valleys between Carlino and Marano, and prepare them in saor, with the same recipe that is used for sardines. And moving from the animal kingdom to the vegetable kingdom, in addition to the brovada now taken over the DOP, Friuli Venezia Giulia reserves in the winter months (but only in Gorizia and surroundings) a real delight: a variety of radicchio which forcing confers, with the inimitable sweetness, the appearance and the color of the flower from which it takes its name, Rose of Gorizia and Rose of the Isonzo.
You can also not forget the gubana and the strucchi, made with the same filling, typical sweets of Cividale del Friuli and the Natisone valleys. Gubana is a spiral-shaped dessert, a base of leavened dough with a filling of walnuts, raisins, pine nuts, sugar, grappa, grated lemon peel, spiral-shaped, baked in the oven, once prepared only for the items and now instead all year round.
Innumerable other products of Friuli Venezia Giulia are naturally still to be pointed out: the asparagus of Tavagnacco, the peaches of Fiumicello, the apples of Pantianicco and Mortegliano, the beans of Platischis, the garlic of Resia, the potatoes of Rizzolo, the deriving products from the processing of Mortegliano corn, the Figo Moro di Caneva, etc.
From Friuli Venezia Giulia a real mine of excellent food products!