What delight, what pleasure! In the northern Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, we are always overwhelmed by the freshness of the ingredients! The markets are full of tomatoes, fennel and artichokes, the fish markets in the harbours are legendary, on the
Piazzas are cheerful and lively, as are the restaurants, cafés and wine bars. You can't help but feel infinitely at ease", writes Silvia Trippolt-Maderbacher in her book "Enjoying in Friuli-Venezia Giulia". The author runs a restaurant in Carinthia, near the Italian border, together with her husband Josef Trippolt, and is just as addicted to the neighbouring region as many other Austrians and also Germans who travel year after year to this part of the country, which has long been one of the most interesting culinary regions in Italy. The autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, with Trieste as its capital, is located in the extreme northeast of Italy, bordering Austria to the north, Slovenia to the east, the Italian Veneto to the west and the Adriatic Sea to the south. About 90 percent of the region belongs to Friuli, the rest is part of Julian Veneto. The region is not particularly blessed with spectacular sights, but for those who want to look around apart from the many restaurants and wine bars, the authors and former ORF journalists Gisela Hopfmüller and Franz Hlavac have summarized the "111 places in Friuli and Venezia Giulia that you must have seen" in a book published last year.
One of the special features of the region is that the border area with Slovenia in particular has produced a very unique local scene. With a cuisine that unites both countries. For example at "L'Argine a Vencò" in Dolegna, where the border to Slovenia runs a few metres behind the house. At the stove here is top chef Antonia Klugmann from Trieste, who opened this now extremely popular gourmet restaurant together with her husband Roman in 2014 - a modernly designed fine dining restaurant with an exceptionally creative cuisine. In the upscale department of fine-dining restaurants, however, "Agli Amici dal 1887" in Udine is considered the spearhead of Friulian gourmet restaurants. With two Michelin stars, the restaurant is the most highly decorated in Friuli and also the most modern in the region: influences of Nordic cuisine and molecular cuisine are artfully interwoven here with Adriatic cuisine.
Fine Dining Restaurants
The "Osteria Altran" in Ruda, between Cervignano and Monfalcone, also has a Michelin star. The term osteria in the name is somewhat misleading, because what chef Alessio Devidè produces here in terms of unusual creations does not really have anything to do with simple osteria cuisine. "Devidè likes to play with consistencies, and every dish, no matter how seasoned, is reinterpreted," writes Silvia Trippolt-Maderbacher in her book. Great cuisine is also served at "La Primula" in San Quirino, "Laite" in Sappada and "La Taverna" in Colloredo di Monte Albano. The "La Taverna" northwest of Udine is an ancient classic in Friuli, it was adapted a few years after the great earthquake in 1976 from the ruins that were still there. In a very short time, the beautifully situated property developed into one of the most famous gourmet restaurants in the region. The wine cellar is still one of the best in Italy. However, two restaurants in Cormons, about 13 kilometers west of Gorizia, not far from the Slovenian border, have also contributed a great deal to Friuli's culinary boom. The "Al Cacciatore de la Subida" is a kind of pleasure refuge of the Sirk family. On the one hand, it includes the restaurant with a Michelin star and chef Alessandro Gavagna at the stove as well as an osteria that was restyled years ago, on the other hand, it has its own vinegar production and some country houses in the middle of a forest where you can stay. The "Al Giardinetto" of the Zoppolatti family, on the other hand, is known for its fine fish and meat cuisine, which decades ago ensured that many Austrian restaurateurs and chefs organized regular group trips to Cormons. During this time, Cormons became a culinary Mecca - and has remained so to this day.
Barbecue at the Fogolar
Friuli, however, is not only known for upscale Adriatic cuisine or for dishes with old Austrian influences, but also for a large number of establishments that still have a fogolar. This cooking and fireplace, known for the region around Udine, with a typical hood, can still be found in some simple trattorias, such as the "Al Parco" in Buttrio or the not so easy to find "Da Toso" in Leonacco, not far from Tricessimo, a town that has become famous for selling a lot of furniture over the years. A more upscale Fogolar cuisine can be found at the "Tavernetta al Castello" , nestled in a stately castle dating back to 1200. Mainly international guests sit here in front of historic stone walls and the aforementioned open fireplace and enjoy the creations of chef Antonino Venica. That, too, is Friuli.
(Un)retirement in Friuli
ORF legends Franz Hlavac and his wife Gisela Hopfmüller. have had a second residence in Friuli-Venezia Giulia since 2002. The two decades-long ORF journalists are proven experts on this region, about which they have published numerous books. Their most recent publication is "111 Places in Friuli and Venezia Giulia that you have to see" (Emons Publishers). In it, the two describe places like the "Osteria Mulin Vecio" in Gradisca d'Isonzo as a "culinary trip into the past".
Friuli expert Silvia Trippolt-Maderbacher is a journalist, copywriter and restaurateur. Together with her husband Josef Trippolt she runs the well-known restaurant "Trippolt zum Bären" in Bad St. Leonhard. In her book "Enjoying in Friuli-Venezia Giulia" (published by Styria) she presents an "uninhibitedly subjective" selection of restaurants and producers from a region that she has often visited simply because of its proximity to Carinthia. This has resulted in an enormous fund of dining experiences.
ISSUE IN Falstaff No. 02/2020