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Capraia, by Land and Sea


This piece was originally published in the April 2014 issue of Dream of Italy. Legend says that when the goddess Venus emerged from the waves of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she dropped her necklace, and those gemstones became the seven islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. Many visitors would declare Capraia to be the most stunning of these islands, with its dramatic cliffs, pristine waters, and wild, uninhabited interior. While the island is a popular summertime destination for Italians, it still has much to offer during all but perhaps the coldest winter months. I traveled to Capraia in mid-June, when the crowds had not yet peaked, but the weather was still warm enough to enjoy a refreshing dip in th...
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Recipe of the Month: May 2019


For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Risotto con gli Asparagi ( Risotto with Asparagus ), in honor of Tavagnacco’s Festa degli Asparagi. Held over a span of three weekends from late April into early May, this festival celebrates the town’s locally grown white asparagus. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe. Original link
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Elba: Ten Great Things to Do on Napoleon’s Isle of Exile


This piece was originally published in the May 2011 issue of Dream of Italy. Stunning beaches and glowing sunsets attract countless vacationing Italians to the island of Elba, located off the coast of southern Tuscany. While July and August are the busiest months—and perhaps the ones to avoid—there are plenty of spots to escape the crowds (and heat) during the less sweltering months of May and June. In fact, all the major sights are open from April to October, so consider an off-season trip for maximum tranquility. Feel free to spend your vacation in exile, enjoying il dolce far niente—but if you begin to yearn for a bit more exploration, here are ten terrific things for you to discover. 1. ...
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Recipe of the Month: April 2019


For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Gubana Cividalese ( Cividale-Style Pastry Spiral ), a pastry traditionally made for the Easter holiday. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe. Original link
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A Culinary Tale of Seduction


This piece was originally published on BloggingAuthors.com. For more than a decade of traveling throughout Italy, I had been captivated by the country’s many charms—its ancient art and architecture, breathtaking scenery, and irresistible cuisine. It may sound a bit cliché, given the overabundance of American Italophiles, but no place else in the world held the same allure in my eyes. It wasn’t, however, until my first trip to Friuli–Venezia Giulia—a tiny region in northeastern Italy—that my Italian affair truly began. I had traveled to Udine, one of the region’s major cities, for a business meeting at the Ledragomma GymnastikBall factory. (I was, at the time, working as a Pilates instructor ...
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Recipe of the Month: March 2019


For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Rape Dolci (Sweet Turnips). Even the turnip hater will find it easy to like this dish—the sugar and butter offset the natural bitterness of the turnip. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe. Original link
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Muggia’s Carnevale Unmasked


This piece was originally published in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Dream of Italy. Photos of the Carnevale parade and megafrittata courtesy of the Associazione delle Compagnie del Carnevale Muggesano. (These photos show costumes from the 2003 Carnevale Muggesano.) Elegantly dressed courtesans waltzing to Vivaldi at a masked ball, mysterious caped figures drifting past the shadows of the Grand Canal—for many travelers these are the images that an Italian Carnevale evokes. But for those with a penchant for the quirky and bizarre, a trip to the town of Muggia affords an alternative Carnevale experience with a week chock-full of wackiness. Across the bay from Trieste, the capital of ...
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Recipe of the Month: February 2019


For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Cjalsòns di Piedim (Pasta Filled with Chocolate and Nuts), a unique dish perfect for Valentine’s Day, either as a decadent pasta course or as an unconventional dessert. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe. Original link
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Recipe of the Month: January 2019


For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Braciole di Maiale al Latte (Pork Chops Cooked in Milk). Braising meat in milk is a common technique in Friuli, and pork loin or ribs may also be prepared this way. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe. Original link
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Recipe of the Month: December 2018


For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Torta Rigojanci (Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Filling), a decadent Hungarian dessert perfect for the holidays. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe. Original link
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Recipe of the Month: November 2018


For my Recipe of the Month, I have chosen Strucolo de Spinaze (Spinach-Filled Pasta Roll). Strucolo means “strudel” in the Triestine dialect, though restaurants may also refer to the dish as a “rotolo” or “rollata.” It is quite common throughout the Carso, often served with the pan sauces from a roasted or braised meat. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe. Original link
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Eat Your Way through Friuli–Venezia Giulia (Part 4): Pasticceria Penso


This review was originally published in the September 2010 issue of Dream of Italy. My fondest memory of Trieste will always be the day I first stepped into Pasticceria Penso. My timing seems predestined—I arrived on a blustery February morning just as a few dozen chocolate cakes were being pulled from the oven. I was immediately invited back into the cozy kitchen to watch their transformation into torta Sacher. The patriarch of the family-run bakery, Italo Stoppar, doused each layer of cake with Maraschino liqueur, then spread on a thick coat of apricot preserves. His son Antonello drizzled the top with dark chocolate ganache, which was soon followed by a garnish of chocolate sprinkles arou...
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Eat Your Way through Friuli–Venezia Giulia (Part 3): La Subida


This review was originally published in the September 2010 issue of Dream of Italy. Since my last visit, La Subida has been awarded one Michelin star. Situated in the heart of the Collio wine zone is one of Friuli’s most esteemed restaurants, Trattoria Al Cacciatore de La Subida (known to locals simply as La Subida). On the outskirts of Cormòns, surrounded by rolling hills and lush vineyards, La Subida serves impeccable dishes inspired by the nearby border where Friulian and Slovenian cultures merge. Opened at Christmastime in 1960 by Slovenian Joško Sirk and his wife, Loredana, La Subida was originally a small osteria and inn, which soon became a popular gathering spot for hunters. A recrea...
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Eat Your Way through Friuli–Venezia Giulia (Intro)


While doing research for Flavors of Friuli: A Culinary Journey through Northeastern Italy , I practically ate my way through the region. Over the coming month, I will share with you three unforgettable dining spots: Osteria Al Vecchio Stallo, where I enjoyed my first Friulian dinner; Ristorante Salon, which produced the best cjarsòns I ever tasted; and my all-time favorite restaurant in Friuli, La Subida. Plus, we’ll visit Pasticceria Penso, one of Trieste’s oldest bakeries. These reviews were originally published in the September 2010 issue of Dream of Italy. Since then, following the passing of its owners, Ristorante Salon has closed its doors. Original link
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Eat Your Way through Friuli–Venezia Giulia (Part 2): Ristorante Salon


This review was originally published in the September 2010 issue of Dream of Italy. Since then, following the passing of its owners, Bepi and Fides Salon, Ristorante Salon has closed its doors. In the hilltop hamlet of Piano d’Arta, on a serene lane lined with shady trees and wisteria blossoms, Hotel Ristorante Salon has long been recognized for its innovative local cuisine. When Arta Terme’s thermal baths first opened in the late 19th century, the sudden influx of visitors spawned a proliferation of new restaurants and hotels in the valley. Salon was one of the originals, opened by Osvaldo Salon in 1910—first as an osteria and then expanding a few years later into a small pensione. It was w...
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Eat Your Way through Friuli–Venezia Giulia (Part 1): Osteria Al Vecchio Stallo


This review was originally published in the September 2010 issue of Dream of Italy. During my very first visit to Friuli, my friend Steno treated me to dinner at Osteria Al Vecchio Stallo. At that time, I had no familiarity with Friulian cuisine, but Steno wanted me to experience authentic regional cooking at its best. Ever since that first meal of cjarsòns (cinnamon-laced ravioli) and frico con patate (cheese and potato pancake), this unassuming, hole-in-the-wall restaurant has held a truly special place in my heart. One of the oldest in Udine, this osteria is housed in a 17th-century building that once served as a stable and rest stop where horses and their drivers could stop for a meal an...
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Recipe-of-the-Month: October 2018


For my Recipe-of-the-Month, I have chosen Gnocchi di Zucca (Butternut Squash Gnocchi), in honor of the Festa della Zucca held in Venzone during the last weekend of October. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe. Original link
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Recipe-of-the-Month: September 2018


For my Recipe-of-the-Month, I have chosen Palacinche (Crêpes with Apricot Jam), Trieste’s version of the Austrian palatschinke and the Hungarian palacsinta. Apricot jam is perhaps the most popular filling, but these crêpes may also be served with chocolate cream, fresh fruit, cooked apples, ricotta cheese, or hazelnut, walnut, or chestnut cream. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe. Original link
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Recipe-of-the-Month: August 2018


For my Recipe-of-the-Month, I have chosen Scampi alla Busara (Langoustines in Tomato Sauce). During the summertime, particularly in the month of August when Italians flock to the beaches for the Ferragosto holiday, I always think of seafood. This scampi dish is a perfect example of the shellfish native to the waters off Trieste. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe. Original link
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Recipe-of-the-Month: July 2018


For my Recipe-of-the-Month, I have chosen Petti d’Anatra ai Frutti di Bosco (Duck Breasts with Berry Sauce), in honor of the Festa dei Frutti di Bosco, held in late July in the Carnian town of Forni Avoltri. Duck is widely served throughout Friuli, especially in the province of Pordenone. This recipe makes use of the wild berries that grow in the region, as well as spices introduced to Friuli from overseas. Visit Flavors-of-Friuli.com for the recipe. Original link
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