Wondering what to eat in Friuli-Venezia Giulia? Here are some most popular Friulian Dishes :
Frico is a traditional dish from the historical Italian region of Carnia, made with a local delicacy known as Montasio cheese. There are two versions: the frico friabile, a crunchy snack made with cheese fried in olive oil until crunchy, and the more famous frico morbido, the soft one, combining the cheese with potatoes and onions in a succulent, rich pancake, baked or fried until it turns golden and crispy on both sides.
Frico is a delicious example of ‘cucina povera’ which means ‘poor kitchen’. It was invented in the 15th century as a clever way to use the leftovers from cheese production. It can be enriched with pancetta, mushrooms, or tomatoes.
It originates from Trieste, the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, which was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and as a result, the goulash is made with Hungarian paprika, among other ingredients. The dish is leisurely cooked and made with ingredients such as onions, beef, Hungarian hot paprika, olive oil, tomatoes and flour, making it truly Italian with herbs such as rosemary, thyme, marjoram or oregano, and bay leaves. Once ready, this version should be served with polenta, gnocchi, or potatoes.
Brovada e muset
Brovada e muset is traditionally a peasant dish originating from Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. It consists of brovada – fermented white turnips that have been sliced and macerated in red grape marc, and muset or musetto, a large and thick pork sausage that's similar to cotechino.
Conventionally, the dish is prepared and served for Christmas and it was invented from the need to preserve turnips over the winter. The sausages and turnips are cooked distinctly, then served together while still hot. Brovada is often used to complement meats, but it can also be used in various vegetable-based dishes and soups.
Presnitz is a flavourful Italian cake, a speciality of Trieste that is characterized by its visual appearance – similar to a rolled-up sausage. When sliced, the inner swirls become visible, revealing a dough made with flour, sugar, eggs, butter, milk, and lemon juice, and a layer of filling consisting of butter, sugar, raisins, cinnamon, and nuts such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pine nuts.
It is believed that presnitz was invented in a competition for the best sweet to give to Princess Sissi, the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph on their first arrival.
Gnocchi di prugne
These are plum-filled potato dumplings covered with a mixture of breadcrumbs toasted in butter, sugar, and cinnamon.
Interestingly, the dish is considered to be a dessert in other countries like Germany, Croatia, Hungary, Czechia, Romania and Slovakia, but in Italy, gnocchi di prugne are often served at the beginning of a meal - in restaurants they are usually listed under the primi part of the menu, next to different kinds of pasta and other savoury dishes.
Cjarsons is a traditional Italian dish originating from Friuli. The dish consists of stuffed pasta that's similar to ravioli. However, the pasta is made from potatoes, similar to gnocchi, while the ingredients in the filling range from wild herbs, ricotta, raisins, potatoes, cocoa, cinnamon, and other spices.
Cjarson should always have a flavour that's somewhere between sweet and savoury, or both at the same time. Each family has their own recipe that has been handed down over generations, because in the past it was a festive dish and the recipe was kept secret by the head of each family. Once prepared, the cjarsons are cooked in boiling water, then traditionally topped with melted butter and grated smoked ricotta.
These small-sized Italian treats consist of a sweet nut-based filling that is placed between two thin layers of dough. They come in several varieties that include different types of dough, and while the filling is traditionally nut-based, it can combine countless additional ingredients such as raisins, jams, candied citrus zest, and a splash of grappa or rum.
Strucchi are traditionally associated with the region of Friuli, more specifically Valli del Natisone area, and are a representative Christmas and Carnival treat. Whether they are boiled or fried, they are usually served dusted with powdered sugar.
Gubana is a authentic Italian leavened dough cake filled with dried fruits and nuts. It is believed that the cake was invented in either the Valli del Natisone or Cividale by a poor woman who had nothing to sweeten it, so she used what she had – eggs, walnuts, honey, and flour. Even though it was originally prepared for Christmas and Easter festivities, gubana is nowadays relished throughout the year, and locals recommend soaking the cake in grappa for the best effect.
The most popular and the most controversial Italian desserts – Tiramisù. Although it is actually a fairly recent invention, this dessert of coffee-soaked ladyfingers layered with mascarpone cream enjoys an iconic status among Italian desserts. Its name stems from the phrase tira mi sù, an Italian expression which literally means pick me up, a reference to the uplifting effects of sugar, liquor, and coffee.
The origins of tiramisù are heavily disputed between Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions. Regardless of these disputes, the perfect tiramisù should always deliver a serious caffeine kick from a shot of strong espresso, while brandy-fortified Marsala wine adds a nice sweet buzz.
Do not forget to enjoy these dishes if you plan to visit Friuli-Venezia Giulia.