With its unique mix of cultures, varied topography, rich soil and access to both the fresh water of the Alps and the bounty of the Adriatic Sea, Fruili Venezia Giulia is home to exceptional food and drink.
Key to bringing these factors together are hard working local producers. Here’s a taste of some of the best I came across during my FVG foodie tour. To be sure, they’re all family-run operations and open to visitors with onsite shops and guided public tours.
Modena might be most famous for producing high quality balsamico but it’s not the only place making artisan vinegar. Balsameria Midolini near Udine holds the Guinness World Record for biggest producer of vinegar. But it’s not just about quantity here. Midolini have five, 15 and 30 year old vinegars – called Asperum – that are flavoursome enough to rival the finest Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena on the market. For Asperum, grapes used must be locally grown Refosco and Friuliano and the vinegars must be aged in a traditional seven-barrel method, with each barrel made of a different wood (chestnut, oak, cherry, ash, juniper, black locust, and mulberry) for a rich and distinctive palate. Find out more at midolini.com.
In the foothills of Trieste, Zeriul Adriana and his family sustainably produce extra-virgin olive oil from their own bianchera olive trees on a farm that dates to 1823. Their oils are rich and peppery with notes of artichoke, almond and tomato leaf. Fior Rosso is associated with Border Food, a trio of local producers working collectively to promote their products. The other two producers are Lenardon, a traditional winery straddling the border of Italy and Slovenia (“kitchen in Italy, bed in Slovenia”), and Kmetija Korosec, a cheese and charcuterie producer just over the border in Slovenia. For details go to fiorrosso.it.
Latteria Sociale di Muris
In the mountain town of Muris near the banks of the Tagliamento River is the cooperative dairy, Latteria Sociale di Muris. They make a range of cheeses and milk products here, including some of the most delicious panna cotta I can remember ever tasting. For more information go to turismofvg.it.
Villa Russiz is a vineyard and winery situated on the historic 1868 estate of Theodor de la Tour in the wine country of Collio near the Slovene border. The estate welcomes overnight guests to stay in rooms in its 19th century manor surrounded by the rolling hills of its own and nearby vineyards – an ideal setting to try the Villa Russiz wines (might I recommend the Sauvignon?). Details at villarussiz.it.
Vini di Emilio Bulfon
Emilio Bulfon and family make wines from ancient native grapes grown in their own vineyards at the base of the Dolomites near the famed ‘ham town’ of San Daniele di Friuli. I loved – and was intrigued by – each sip of every quaff sampled here. The one I enjoyed enough to take home a bottle of when offered my choice as a gift was the dry, white Sciaglin. Visit the winery online at bulfon.it.
From his vineyards winery on the Karst Plateau sloping some several hundred meters up from the sea, Benjamin Zidarich makes biodynamic wines from mostly indigenous varietals and ages many of them in kamens (traditional stone vats) with a pronounced zest and minerality true to its limestone rich terroir. Website: zidarich.it.
During my 2013 excursion to FVG, I came across a whole bunch of offer amazing local food and drink producers and had some especially memorable beer, ham and yoghurt, wine and more. For more about those tasty times, here’s a list of the relevant links:
- Forni di Sopra and the Dolomite Loop
- Speck-tacular Views and Smoky Brews in Sauris
- DOK Dall’ava Proscuittificio in San Daniele di Friuli
- Delectable Collio Goriziano
To whet your appetite until my next Flavours of Friuli Venezia Giulia post, go to turismofvg.it for travel ideas, itinerary inspiration, discounts, special offers and more to make your time in FVG as flavoursome as possible.