On Wednesday 27th of July, along the seafront of Grado, in the province of Gorizia, I had the opportunity to take part in one of the many events organized by Via dei Sapori FVG .
This Consortium was founded in the year 2000, by a group of 20 restaurants of the region, with the purpose of increasing the culinary quality and promoting the local territory.
Since then, 21 winemakers and 23 food artisans have joined the original 20 restaurant owners and created a focal point for all excellences from Friuli Venezia Giulia.
The consortium organizes wonderful dinners in fantastic locations, where elegance is a must and the wine and food selection is the best.
I’m just back from a nice evening in Grado, and thanks to a little rain I was able to enjoy their food selection without being tortured by July’s usual heat, even if I missed the typical red sunsets you get there.
As it was a very full tour, today I’ll present only a Selection of Tastes.
As soon as I went through the entrance and picked up my pocket and wine glass, I headed straight to the first art work: the ham slicer that was busy preparing thin slices of the 24 month San Daniele ham from DOK DALL’AVA.
San Daniele ham is unique for its delicate taste and I just love how it melts in your mouth; But I was also hypnotized by the beauty of Snaidero Mirco’s slicers, hand-made in Friuli Venezia Giulia.
A month’s work to make one of these slicers, unique decorative pieces that are sold all over the world.
As I walk around I reach the “Al Grop”, a famous restaurant from Tavagnacco (Ud) , that serves a lovely barley and bean soup with confit tomatoes and basil, a perfect starter for my sea front dinner.
I try another starter, a creamy pea soup with shrimps and a hint of dill at “Da Toni”, a restaurant from Varmo (Ud) and it was such a tasteful and delicate combination I would have had a second helping if I wasn’t distracted by the sight of the stall of the restaurant “Da Nando” from Mortegliano (Ud) that served La Polenta Cuinciade: polenta (a boiled cornmeal dish), with porcini mushrooms, montasio cheese and smoked ricotta cheese.
But “Da Nando” had two stalls, so why miss out on a pork fillet with Muzzana truffle, grated parmesan and crunchy corn? Delicious.
The beauty of this event is that you can watch of the different kitchens prepare everything on the spot; the perfumes that seep out from these large pots completely wrap you up.
It’s now time to try some wines, so for a good glass of wine, what better choice than a Vitovska from Zidarich? A local wine from the Karst to accompany a nice sandwich of veal meat with horseradish, tomato marinate in vinegar and montasio cheese, a dish made by “La Subida” from Cormons (Ud).
But there are still many stops ahead, so after taking a little break as I admire the people around me, I head to Lokanda Devetak, in San Michele del Carso in Savogna d’Isonzo (Go) . From far away I see Tatjana, who always guarantees delicious and great quality food. In fact, on a colourful plate they serve cotechino (a local kind of pork sausage) wrapped in turkey, on a cream of purple cabbage and red beets. I’m usually not that fond of cotechino, but this was the best I have ever tried: soft and tasty.
The meat comes from their own farmed animals, and they have the tastiest meat imaginable.
To refresh my palate after that, I tasted an Lustrik flavoured icecream (wild celery flavour) served with a touch of olive oil from the Karst and with little vegetables and crackers made with yeast base. A wonderful suggestion always from Lokanda Devetak.
And if your glass of wine was now finished?
I’m starting to think I might not survive this experience, so before I decide to give up, I take a moment to sit down behind one of the many stalls.
And here I am, hidden away to catch my breath. Nobody will see me. I’ll wait here as I watch all the lovely people that decided to try this same experience.
Just a few moments later the chef of the stall turns around, looks down at me and hands me their dish: fresh pasta rings with spider crab and cucumber.
I definitely can’t refuse, so I grab my fork and start over!
This recipe created by “Vitello d’Oro” in Udine, surprised me for the combination of cucumber, it was an explosion of freshness!
A last stop at the “Taverna” with grilled tuna with Wasabi and then I enjoy the sea breeze that blows as it gets darker…
There’s even a chance to socialize. It’s great to meet old clients; With their incredible ice-cream shop remind me of the best ice-creams I’ve ever had … milk cream with pear! So good, that Scian this gelateria is one of the 100 best in Italy.
I stop at their stall to try their coffee infused in white chocolate and their Nonnino distilled spirit with candied orange!
As a last stop I go back to Nando for the dessert: pastry with strawberries and cream and then American sorbetto!
My dear friends, this is definitely an incredible feast!
Nothing much left now but to take a relaxing walk around Grado before heading back home; it’s now 11.30 pm, and the evening is coming to an end, people started heading to the exit and as I head home, I wonder about when the next event of Via dei Sapori will be.
Thank you Friuli Venezia Giulia <3
Ph. Andrea Zangrando