The Friuli-Venezia Giulia region tucked up in the north eastern corner of Italy, some might almost say forgotten we say beautifully undiscovered. Lonely planet in 2018 agreed and named it in its top 10 places to visit. Just 100 kilometers to the east of Venice-Veneto and bordering Slovenia and Austria and Croatia this is a region with a massive mix of culture, foods wines and historically has been part of the Austrian Hapsburg empire and even Yugoslavia. Now part of a semi autonomos Italian region since the early 1960s. Trieste is marvellous city, We liken it to Istanbul without the authoritarian government. A bridging of the east and west makes for a fascinating port city, that has undergone a huge gentrification over the last 20 years. Illy Coffee reigns supreme here and as for the wines we think it compares to only Piedmont in terms of quality. So few come here, so you are treated so well, prices make Venice look ludicrous. We love the medieval citadels and castles and the snow capped Guilia mountains framing the background of course some the most important gamily driven vineyards in Italy. If we get round to speaking as client and supplier we will always try to get out clients to think about this region. One of the other major joys of Friuli is its proximity to Slovenia with its open border and Croatia, so you can very easily combine the three in even a 7 night tour of the region. There are no huge hotel chains here, just discreet family owned castles and winereis that have been turned into exclusive lodging, vineyard stays with a few rooms nestled amongst the vines. Its a perfect zone.
This beautiful and important port city of Trieste is the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia
UNESCO Roman ruins at Aquileia with the incredible mosaics of Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta
Beautiful Udine one of the regions richest cities
Trieste enjoys James Joyce and many literary interests
The colourful town of Gorizia split in half by countries
Oslavia and the Macerated white wines (vvoid the word Orange)
Outstanding Cividale del Friuli, a Medieval Citadel founded by Julius Caesar
The unique Carso region of Slovenia and Italy
San Daniele hams, the pinnacle of aged hams, every home has its own slicer
Grotte Gigante – the largest (visitable) cave system in the world
Piazza dell’Unita d’Italia in Trieste the largest Square facing the sea in Europe
Miramar Castle and its gardens the historical Museum within
Grado a delightful coastal town that is the jewel in Summer, superb seafood to be had
Enjoy listening to Friulian a Romance language still spoken here
How long do I need
Well firstly it would be a shame not to see Trieste or Venice while you are in the Vicinity. Trieste is a delight and Venice well she ia unique and deserves to be one of the most visited cities of Italy. Aside from these two cities we think a 5 or 7 night stay to be ideal. Closer to 7 if we are going to introduce you to Croatian and Slovenian wines. We have run several tours of this length and it works perfectly. Groups of 2 to 10 are ideal, larger than that we find we cannot have the superior lodging that makes for this immersion into the wines of East Friuli and Slovenia so good.
When to come
Due to the strong possibility of snow and inclement weather in Winter we would avoid the period from November through to April. All other times of the year are a delight with a particular fondness for May, June and July. If you are interested in seeing the fruit on the vines and or the wonderful colours when the vines have been cut then September and October are also interesting times.
The Wines of Friuli.
Friuli is one of Italy’s most unvisited wine regions making it an exceptional wine region for vineyard visits. These wineries are more often tiny family concerns making hand crafted wines no more than 30/50k bottles a year. When we take you into the vineyards and wineries you are going to meet the people who count, the owner and normally the enologist. This is a unique in Friuli
Think of mountain peasant fare melded with sophisticated venetian food and influences from the Slovenian slavic and Austrian cuisines. Seafood both fresh and seawater with all the game and poultry you could want. Pasta is more more prominent here than in Veneto eaten in many different forms such as Lasagne with Poppy seeds and Potato Gnocchi combined with local cheeses and squashes. Jamar cheese which is aged in caves in the Carso is a must. Cormons or Sauris where San Daniele hams are from and rare vegetables like the rose of Gorizia a revered Raddichio. You are not going to be stuck for Food. Agli Amici is Godia is true heaven of a restaurant and cooking school. Ancient recipes like Frico with Montasio cheese and potatoes, fried then shredded into crispy strips. Polenta also appears with stewed meats, game and cheese dishes are often serve with it. You will taste the most incredible hams from San Daniele, Seafood in Trieste, Enjoy the wonderful restaurant Devatak in the Carso amongst other things; below we have listed some of the dishes you can expect to find.
Wheat breads, rye and barley flour as well as Pumpkin bread
Canaderli, bread dumplings served in broth or with meat.
Potatoes and ricotta are used to fill a savoury strudel called strukli.
Bauletti Pasta contains ham and cheese stuffed with spinach, pork and veal flavoured with onion
Paparot is a soft cereal made from cornmeal flavoured with spinach and garlic
Polenta Concia. In this region, polenta is cooked by adding cheese; typically Montasio and Carnia
Cjarsons. Ravioli made with a potato, cinnamon, raison and fine herb stuffing
Lasagne ai semi di papavero. Poppy seed Lasagne
White asparagus served with eggs or grains
Muset e brovada (fermented white turnips sliced and macerated red grape wine and muset a large pork sausage
Pitina a style of sausage meatball tends to be goat based with pork meat corn flour cooked on pine wood
Soups are widely varied, including many kinds of vegetables, beans and meat.
Fasûj e uardi is an herb flavored barley soup, thick with beans, pork, onion and celery
Ham and beans are cooked with potatoes and corn to make bòbici
Venison and rabbit are cooked in a wine sauce called salmi
Gulasch, a beef and pepper stew flavoured with hot peppers, onions, paprika, and tomato, is served with polenta
A Grado dish is turbot chowder seasoned with garlic, olive oil and vinegar
Jota is a soup sauerkraut, beans, sausages and potatoes, sage and garlic
Ranzevola alla triestina is a dish of baked spider crab with bread seasoned with lemon, garlic and parsley
Shrimp, squid and mussels are simmered with rice in fish broth to make risotto di Marano
Popular fish are turbot, sardines, eels and salt cod
Other seafood enjoyed include squid, cuttlefish, shrimp, crabs and scallops
Bruada (pickled turnips) are served as a condiment with this. Sauerkraut and horseradish are offered with other sausage dishes
Presnitz, another dried, candied fruit and nut filled pastry
Apple strudel is prepared with pine nuts and raisins
Chestnuts are used in castagnoli cookies
Cherry gnocchi mashed potatoes hosts a pitted cherry as a filling. Rosa di Gorizia
Gubana is a rich yeast-raised cake Its cinnamon dried and candied fruit, nuts, an ancient (14C) recipe
Below see some of the tours that have touched Venice and what we tend to do while we are here.