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Soups of Friuli-Venezia Giulia


In centuries past, the people of central and northern Friuli-Venezia Giulia were typically poor and often plagued by famine. This was especially true during the long, brutal winters in the Carnia mountains, when snow would barricade the few existing roads, leaving families to fend for themselves. Until modern times, most Friulians were farmers. Their cuisine was a diet of poverty, consisting primarily of hearty grains and vegetables, particularly those with a long shelf life like potatoes. Beans, barley, and corn could easily be dried for lengthy storage. Turnips and cabbage were preserved through fermentation to make, respectively, brovada and sauerkraut. All of these foods are still an imp...
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Recipe of the Month: January 2020


For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Orzo e Fagioli (Barley and Bean Soup), a hearty soup perfect for a cold winter’s evening in Friuli—or practically anywhere you happen to live. For my recipe, visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com.Original link
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Winter in Friuli: Top 10 Things To Do


1. Ski the slopes of Monte Santo di LussariAmong the towering, snow-capped peaks of Italy’s Giulian Alps, Monte Santo di Lussari stands out like a precious gem. Near the 5,870-foot summit, a pristine 14th-century sanctuary looks out over the forested valleys below. Legend says that in 1360 a shepherd knelt to pray atop this mountain and discovered hidden in the brush a wooden statue of the Madonna and Child. The patriarch of Aquileia soon ordered a small chapel built on that very spot. For centuries, vast numbers of pilgrims from neighboring countries have journeyed to this religious site. Today, the telecabina, or “ski lift,” carries passengers from the village of Camporosso at its base to ...
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Recipe of the Month: December 2019


For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Cuguluf (Chocolate-Marbled Cake). Called “kugelhupf” in German, this classic Viennese cake is commonly eaten for breakfast or as a special treat with coffee or hot chocolate. While other recipes may include raisins, almonds, pine nuts, or candied fruit, this chocolate-marbled version is typical of bakeries in Gorizia. For my recipe, visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com.Original link
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Wines of Friuli–Venezia Giulia


This article was originally published in 2013 on TravelLady.com.Tucked away between mountains and sea in Italy’s northeast corner is the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Known for its unique fusion of cuisines that blends Austro-Hungarian, Slavic, Venetian, and Roman influences, Friuli offers a variety of irresistible flavors. From goulasch to gubana, there is something to entice everyone’s palate, and wine connoisseurs will be particularly delighted with the wines in this off-the-beaten-path destination.The Collio and Colli Orientali del Friuli constitute the heart of Friuli’s wine country. These two wine zones, which are sometimes referred to collectively as the Collio Goriziano, are remin...
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Celebrate the Relaunch of BalanceontheBall.com!


For the past couple weeks, I’ve been working on redesigning BalanceontheBall.com, the website for my first book, Balance on the Ball: Exercises Inspired by the Teachings of Joseph Pilates. I’m relaunching the site on a new platform and am excited that it now features an e-commerce page where you can purchase both of my books, Flavors of Friuli and Balance on the Ball. To celebrate the relaunch, I’m offering this 40% off coupon, valid through the end of November.To order, click this link https://balanceontheball.com/order/ and use the code LAUNCH40BL at checkout. Thanks for shopping!Original link
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Recipe of the Month: November 2019


For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Cevapcici con Ajvar (Grilled Sausages with Bell Pepper Sauce). These tiny sausages were inspired by the Middle Eastern spiced meat patties brought to the region by the Ottoman Turks. Eaten throughout Slovenia and Croatia, as well as in the provinces of Trieste and Gorizia, they are typically served with chopped onion and a red bell pepper sauce called ajvar. For my recipe, visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com.Original link
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Gubana, Putizza, Presnitz: Deciphering Friuli’s Spiral Pastries


My rendition of gubana delle Valli del Natisone, as featured in Flavors of FriuliWhile doing research for Flavors of Friuli, one of my most nagging questions was this: is there any difference between gubana and the similar-looking spiral pastries from Trieste, putizza and presnitz, or are they simply regional names for the same dessert? On one of my trips I spoke to a woman working at Pasticceria Ducale in Cividale del Friuli, and she gave me what was the clearest explanation I’d yet found.Derived from the Slovene word guba, meaning “wrinkle” or “fold,” the name gubana is suggestive of the swirls and spirals in the pastry. While literary sources date similar recipes to the Middle Ages and pe...
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Recipe of the Month: October 2019

cavucin
For my Recipe-of-the-Month, I have chosen Cavucìn (Butternut Squash Purée), in honor of this month’s Festa della Zucca. Held annually in the tiny, medieval-walled town of Venzone, this festival celebrates pumpkins of all varieties with a weekend of food, art, music, and dancing. For my recipe, visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com.Original link
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Autumn in Friuli: Top 10 Things to Do


1. View the Barcolana sailing regattaFounded in 1969, the Barcolana sailing regatta takes place in the Gulf of Trieste on the second Sunday in October, beginning near Castello di Miramare and finishing in the waters just off Piazza Unità d’Italia. It is the biggest event of its kind in the Mediterranean and one of the busiest in the world, with over 2,000 yachts taking part in the race. Sailing near Trieste can be especially challenging this time of year, as the strong bora winds can sometimes reach gusts of 100 mph.The event is typically viewed by several hundred thousand spectators, many of whom watch from Via Napoleonica (a.k.a. Strada Vicentina). Leading from the Opicina obelisk to the t...
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Recipe of the Month: September 2019


For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Strucolo de Pomi (Apple Strudel), in honor of the Festa della Mela, held in mid-September in the Carnian town of Tolmezzo. While apple strudel is popular throughout Friuli, this version using puff pastry is based on the recipe given to me by Trieste’s Pasticceria Penso. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe.Original link
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Land of the Sbilfs: Turn back time in the Carnian Alps


This piece was originally published in the June-July 2013 issue of Dream of Italy under the title “Simple Pleasures in Friuli’s Carnian Alps.”Hidden in the mountains of northern Friuli–Venezia Giulia are the seven valleys, twenty-eight villages, and 121 hamlets of Carnia. In this remote area where Italy meets Austria, Alpine farmhouses dot the landscape, cows graze in verdant pastures, and time almost seems to stand still. Rugged peaks and long, treacherous roads have served to separate Carnia from the rest of Friuli, and it is precisely because of this isolation that the people have maintained many of their deep-rooted customs.We begin our journey in Tolmezzo, the gateway to the Carnian Alp...
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Recipe of the Month: August 2019


For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Calamari Ripieni (Stuffed Squid). Popular in many coastal regions of Italy, as well as along the Istrian peninsula, stuffed calamari are featured on menus at the numerous seafood restaurants that line Trieste’s waterfront. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe.Original link
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Food Festivals of Friuli: Final Thoughts


It occurred to me, after visiting these—and other—festivals, that part of Carnia’s allure was the promise of stepping back in time, to an era where life was simpler. Where every family farmed its own crops and milked its own cows. Where clothes were sewn by hand and there were no supermarkets or electricity. These small-town festivals genuinely strive to capture this nostalgia, but the impressions of the past inevitably become blemished to some degree with the modern-day bothers of crowds, traffic, and the occasional sub-par, mass-generated meal.To truly appreciate the charm of a town, I made sure to spend some time, in the days before or after the festival, exploring the tranquil streets an...
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Food Festivals of Friuli (Part 5): Festa della Zucca


The Festa della Zucca is held annually on the fourth weekend of October in the town of Venzone, nestled in the foothills of Friuli’s Alps. On this autumn trip, I had made Trieste my home base and would need to first take the train to Udine before making the connection to Venzone. The last time I had visited Venzone, I had been stranded during a transportation strike. Fortunately, on this particular day when thousands of people would be heading to the festival, I learned that extra trains would be added to the schedule.When I arrived in Venzone around 1:00pm, the streets within the medieval-walled village were packed beyond capacity. Townspeople dressed in medieval costumes roamed the streets...
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Food Festivals of Friuli (Part 4): Festa dei Frutti di Bosco


The final stop on my festival tour that July was Forni Avoltri, located in Carnia’s far north near the Austrian border. Celebrating the berries of the forest, this festival was the largest of all those I attended in Carnia. The village straddles the Degano River, and most of the festival events were to take place on the farthest side where traditional wooden homes scale the forested hills. On the day I arrived, workers were erecting carnival rides in an empty parking lot and setting up booths along the steep roads. I took a short hike up into the mountains, past a dribbling brook and miniature waterfall, to the Goccia di Carnia plant, where fresh spring water is bottled for sale.Back in town...
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Recipe of the Month: July 2019


For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Gnocchi Croccanti di Sauris (Crispy Stuffed Gnocchi), a specialty at Ristorante Alla Pace in Sauris di Sotto. The gnocchi are stuffed with prosciutto and cheese, fried in butter until golden brown, and served on a bed of wilted arugula. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe.Original link
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Food Festivals of Friuli (Part 3): Mondo delle Malghe


My next stop that summer was Ravascletto, which I would use as a home base for a hike to nearby Malga Pozôf, as well as for the Mondo delle Malghe (world of the malga) festival in Ovaro. My room at Albergo Bellavista certainly lived up to its name “beautiful view”—across the valley rose the verdant Monte Zoncolan, at the top of which was my first destination.The town of Ravascletto provides a chair lift to the peak of Monte Zoncolan—necessary, of course, during ski season—but unfortunately on that particular July day it was closed for repair. So I geared myself up for a two-hour uphill trek. Beginning in the valley below Ravascletto, I hiked up the grassy, wildflower-strewn ski slope and thr...
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Food Festivals of Friuli (Part 2): Festa del Prosciutto


My bus ride to Sauris was one of the more hair-raising I have endured. After changing buses two times—and squeezing myself into a seat amid a sizeable group of motion-sick school kids—the final leg of the journey traveled through dark mountainside tunnels and across a precipitous bridge suspended over the turquoise Lago di Sauris. I arrived on a breezy, overcast July day—a welcome respite from the heat wave that was blanketing the rest of Italy. The scent of rain hung in the humid air, threatening to dampen the upcoming weekend’s prosciutto festival.More so than any other Carnian village, Sauris has retained a sense of otherworldly charm, its characteristic multi-story homes—white masonry be...
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Food Festivals of Friuli (Part 1): Festa dell’Asparago di Bosco, del Radicchio di Montagna, e dei Funghi di Primavera


The Festa dell’Asparago di Bosco, del Radicchio di Montagna, e dei Funghi di Primavera—celebrating wild asparagus, mountain radicchio, and spring mushrooms—is held every May in Piano d’Arta, a hilltop hamlet just up the road from the town of Arta Terme. I arrived a day prior to the street fair’s scheduled opening, but there was plenty to keep me busy.Several hotels were offering special tasting-menus for the entire weekend. For lunch at Albergo Ristorante Salon, I was treated to a series of small plates that showcased local wild edibles: herb fritters, marinated trout with wild fennel and greens, dandelion soup with delicate Montasio cheese puffs, orzotto (barley cooked “risotto-style”) with...
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