Traditional dishes and typical products of Friuli Venezia Giulia
Wintertime in Friuli-Venezia Giulia is characterized by an intense brown color of the countryside, a deep blue of the Adriatic Sea and a white of the snowy mountains, under the clear skies and with a crisp air guaranteed by the characteristic Bora wind.
In this period the cuisine of this region offers many recipes and traditional, very tasty and fragrant dishes. In this section, some of the products and typical recipes of Friuli Venezia Giulia will be described.
Depending on geographical areas of the region, traditional dishes can vary considerably, reflecting the habits and the diversity of local products in different places.
Gnocchi are the traditional first course or main course, widely represented in the regional cuisine; this plate can vary, depending on its basic ingredient and seasoning. In our regional cuisine, most common types are gnocchi (dumplings) made of: bread, potatoes, pumpkin, and with plums or prunes.
Gnocchi made of potatoes (potato dumplings). Potato farming in Friuli Venezia Giulia region dates back to the 1950s and is widespread especially in the area of lower Friuli and Carnia. Godia (Udine), Reana del Rojale (Udine), Zoppola (Pordenone) and Ribis (Udine) are among the most famous potato growing areas in the region Friuli Venezia Giulia, thanks to the pH acid soil rich in iron.
The crucial feature of this tuber is its high quality, which may differ in characteristics depending on usage, since it can be used for gnocchi, puree, fried or boiled.
Normally, the ideal potatos for gnocchi must be poor in water as to avoid a necessity of adding too much flour in the dough. The most common seasonings are roast gravy, goulash, which has the clear Austrian origins, melted butter and smoked ricotta from the mountains (dark surface, white interior, smoked taste and mountain herbs added).
In the Adriatic area, close to the sea, the dumplings are served with sauces based on local fish and shellfish.
Another type of gnocchi are those made of bread, also deriving from the Austrian cuisine (in the Tarvisio area they are called “Knoedel”). Bread gnocchi are a poor cooking dish, for which all remnants of dry bread are reused and transformed into a dish. Usually these gnocchi are served with meat or tomato sauce, or with melted butter, sage, smoked ricotta, edible boletus and other forest mushrooms sauces in the mountains and foothill areas.
A very much appreciated type of gnocchi in the region is the one made of pumpkin (pumpkin dumplings).
Pumpkin growing in the foothill area of Venzone and Gemona in Friuli benefits from the particularly favorable characteristics of the soil. Over the centuries, this fruit was, like potato, a source of supplies in the poorer areas. The pumpkin from Friuli is low in sugar and rich in vitamins and minerals, and amongst all types, the most appreciated is the curved yellow squash. The gathering of pumpkins takes place from late summer through October.
Pumpkin gnocchi is a typical dish of Carnia and of the foothill area extended in Friuli.
In autumn a very attractive event takes place in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. It’s called the Pumpkin of Venzone Festivity and celebrates this bright colored fruit of sweet and delicate flavor. Pumpkin gnocchi are usually seasoned with melted butter and smoked ricotta.
We want to conclude this summary recommending plum or prune dumplings.
The origins of this rather unique dish are related to the Austrian tradition. The ingredients are just the same ones used for gnocchi made of potatoes, but within this type of gnocchi there is a plum or a prune. The dish should be seasoned with melted butter, sugar, cinnamon and grated bread.
It is possible to taste this typical dish in the mountain areas of Friuli as well as in the restaurants of Trieste.