Friuli Venezia Giulia and its food products
Bordering Austria, Slovenia and the Adriatic is Italy’s most North Easterly region, Friuli Venezia Giulia, boasting an incredibly diverse offering of local food products. Thanks to its unique geography and the convergence of culinary influences from neighbouring borders the understated Italian corner is home to some of Italy’s finest regional produce, including the Prosciutto San Daniele. Whilst the region is a comparatively little explored destination on the average tourist trail, from delicatessens to traditional taverns serving a wealth of local food, we guarantee it’s worth the trip. Here are 11 typical products you should know about in Friuli Venezia Giulia:
This semi-hard cheese is produced in Carnia, a once impoverished and isolated area, where the Formadi Frant started life as a process to save defective mountain cheese: the defective forms are chopped and blended with milk, cream, packed into wooden molds and left to mature.
Aglio di Resia
Called “strok” by the valley’s local inhabitants (with a population of no more than 1500) Resia garlic has a small reddish bulb and is extremely aromatic. The Municipality of Resia and the Natural Park of the Julian Pre-Alps have started a project for the protection and enhancement of the garlic, a small but very important symbol of the region’s biodiversity.
Prosciutto San Daniele
One of the most famous Italian hams, Prosciutto San Daniele is protected and valued by a local consortium. Rigorous controls dictate every aspect of manufacturing, from the breeding of the pigs to the ageing process of the meat. The prized ham has the distinctive guitar shape of the meaty leg with the trotter attached and is valued for its unique taste as well as being easy to digest.
A thorougly traditional Friuli food product that was developed in the 15th Century is that of goose salami: a mixture of raw beef and pork and goose.
Pitina was created to preserve meat in the mountain areas. A round ball shape of meat, including chamois, roe deer, sheep or goat that is further seasoned with salt, garlic and black pepper, is rolled in cornflour and then smoked with pine wood.
Trota affumicata di San Daniele
Also known as the “Queen of San Daniele,” the special smoked trout is the result of particular preparation techniques and makes for a perfect hot or cold starter.
This spicy and sour ricotta has roots dating back to early 1800. It’s traditionally mixed with herbs (usually wild fennel) and left to sour for a few months before eating.
Another product made with ricotta, and another strong flavour that can prove a bit too extreme for some. To produce the scueta franta, ricotta is crushed and placed in special wooden vats, where it remains for several weeks to ferment.
The pestat (picture above) is somewhere halfway between a preserve and a condiment. Born in the green valley of Fagagna it consists of lard mixed with chopped carrots, celery, onion and spices, which is stuffed into a casing and left to age. Its uniqueness is that it is not eaten like a sausage, but is in fact best enjoyed fried and to add flavouring to local dishes like soup or sauerkraut.
A European protected food and DOP since 2011, brovada is made from macerated and fermented turnip left in red grape skins for a month, which is then peeled, cut into julienne strips and packaged. It is traditionally eaten with pork meat.