Friuli Venezia Giulia Food & Wine
The foundation of the region's cuisine was formed by Austrian, Yugoslavian, and Oriental influences.
The principle crop is corn, followed by beans, fruits, and vegetables, inclusive of white turnips, asparagus, and dwarf chicory. Gnocchi (dumplings), one of the region's specialties, is made of potatoes, squash, or stale bread. The poor man's choice of meat is pork; however, Friulians also enjoy a variety of seafood off the Adriatic.
Polenta is the food most found on the table here, and always complemented by tasty sauces, game, chicken, rabbit, or frico, a seasoned cheese cut in pieces and fired in butter. Frico made up of Montazio GOP cheese, from mountain meadows.
Once considered poorest of the northern regions, Friuli had culinary influences from both Austria and the former Yugoslavia. Although a reminder of hard times, a traditionally inexpensive and filling dish was jota, a soup of sauerkraut and barley. For pizzazz, brovada (a local mix of turnips steeped in a wooden cask full of grape pressings for about ninety days ) was added to the basic broth.
Spices, sweet and sour sauces, and smoking techniques are unique to this region. You can find smoked prosciutto throughout the region, as well as smoked ricotta and smoked trout. These are rare or nonexistent in other parts of Italy.
This region only accounts for a small percentage of wine production for Italy. However, some of the country's best wine is found here. Friuli produces a fruity Merlot and the hearty Refosco. It also produces dry and fruity whites, such as Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Riesling Renano, Saufignon, and Tocai.
Sparkling wines are a growing item, as Pinot and Chardonnay grapes are being produced (as well as Ribolla for Spumante) by the classical and Charmat methods.