EVENT DATE: April 9th, 2018

Northeast of Venice and bordering Slovenia to the east is the Italian region Friuli Venezia-Giulia. This area’s tumultuous past has included wars and earthquakes and yet it was recognized as one of Italy’s five autonomous regions in 1963, making it a Terra Fortunata — a fortunate land. After World War II, parts of the region were returned to Italy in exchange for Istria — the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea — which is now part of Croatia, and the port of Trieste was a key spice trader. Because of this history, several of my Italian cookbooks include recipes from Istria and the region is influenced by its location as a significant trading port. Signature ingredients are polenta, all types of dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables like pears, grapes, turnips, apricots, beets, and plums, and wild game (particularly in the hills). Poppy seeds, along with cinnamon, nutmeg, parika, and black pepper — originating from Vienna and Hungary — are prevalent in the region’s dishes.

Read more about the menu I created to celebrate Friuli Venezia-Giulia’s dishes and flavors:



Grissini con Prosciutto di San Daniele e Crema di Rafano, Funghi Gallinacci sott’olio, Asparagi Bianchi Con Uova di Pesce, Bresaola Equina
Grissini breadsticks with San Daniele Prosciutto and Horseradish Apple Crème Fraîche, Marinated Chanterelles, Asparagus with Fish Egg Sauce and Black Truffle-Cured Egg Yolk, Horse Bresaola, and Donkey Salami

About the dish: Prosciutto di San Daniele (whose name comes from the town that produces it) is an award-winning cured ham, which many say rivals Parma’s best-in-class prosciutto from Emilia-Romagna. Asparagus — a common ingredient in Austrian cooking — is also prevalent in Friuli Venezia-Giulia, whose dishes are often inspired by its neighbor to the north.



Frico Croccante, Gnocchi con Crema di Montasio, Semi di Papavero, e Speck Fritto
Frico Bowl Filled with Gnocchi With Montasio Cheese, Poppy Seed, and Fried Speck

About the dish: Montasio cheese, from the mountains of the same name, has achieved DOP (Denominazione di Origine/ Protected Designation of Origin) status, which certifies it as locally produced and packaged.



Spalla di Agnello con Brovada
Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Red Wine Pickled Turnips, Cooked in Pork Stock, Butter, and Herbs

About the dish: Traditional Bravada pickled turnips are made by soaking the root vegetable in grape skins and seeds (often leftovers from winemaking) for 40 days. For my version, I fermented turnips in Barolo wine and then cooked them with butter, carrots, sage, rosemary, chives, parsley, paprika, and black pepper. The dish is a regional specialty that is often found on menus served alongside cotechino pork sausage.



Plum Brandy Crepes Filled with Plum Jam

About the dish: These fritters are a typical Christmas treat in Abruzzo. The dough is made from vermouth and lemon peel, rolled through a pasta machine, and stuffed with a paste of garbanzo, Sicilian almond, bitter chocolate, and grape musk—called Saba. The gelato was made with my favorite espresso bean, Vivace—which is roasted in Seattle in a traditional Northern Italian style to create added caramelization and sweetness.