I’ve longed to travel through the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. But the closest I’ve come is wandering through the seductive Flavors of Friuli: A Culinary Journey through Northeastern Italy by Elisabeth Antoine Crawford.
For that day when I do travel to the region, I hope Crawford will have created an app. Otherwise, I’ll be forced to lug her three-pound, 368-page tome with me. It’s an exhaustively researched guide to the mountains, meadows, vineyards, and coasts, all with their own distinctive foods, wines, architecture, museums, attractions, and festivals.
Most Italian regions don’t border anything other than other Italian regions or the sea but not Friuli Venezia-Giulia. It juts north and east of the peninsula. It’s bordered by the Veneto to the west, Austria to the north, The Republic of Slovenia to the east, and the Adriatic Sea to the south. Romans, Venetians, Austro-Hungarians, and Slavs have all ruled this territory over the centuries. Parts of the region weren’t incorporated into the Republic of Italy until after World War I and the cosmopolitan city of Trieste not until 1954.
Middle European influences abound in dishes such as sauerkraut, buckwheat pasta, liptauer, goulasch, and torta Dobos. Yet, the region also produces foods that are recognized around the world as quintessentially Italian: prosciutto di San Daniele, Montasio cheese, and Illy caffè.