I’ve been hearing rumors for some time about this fantastic Relais and Chateaux and about the wonderful people that own this wonderful Home (as Michela defines it).
Michela and Emanuele Scarello, two siblings united by one huge ambitious project: Agli Amici.
I definitely needed to go there, so on a Saturday morning, along with my photographic eye Andrea Zangrando, we set the navigator to a new route: Godia, Udine.
After leaving the motorway we find ourselves surrounded by long stretches of fields, as we head towards one of the loveliest places in Friuli!
As far as our eye reaches we see fields of Kennebec potatoes, typical of this area, with a whitish-yellow peel and pulp that makes them perfect for dumplings or mashed potatoes.
These fields guide us towards a small village, on the edge of the town of Udine: Godia.
The first wonder I set my eyes on is an old water mill, still working since the 15th century, owned by the same family since the 1700… impossible not to stop by and buy a ton of different types of flour!
But it`s getting late, time to go and taste the dishes from the Scarello Home!
Just a few steps further and we reach Agli Amici.
In front of me a garden opens up, and after that a porch with glass doors from which a smiling face with curly hair is waiting… it`s Michela Scarello, ready to greet me at the entrance of her world!
Cheerful and friendly, Michela introduces herself, as I`m welcomed into a modern environment where everything is Made in Friuli.
So, as I listen to the wonderful stories she tells me, explaining every detail of what I see in front of me, Andrea is taking more photos than a Japanese tourist would do in Venice.
All the tasteful Design that surrounds me is produced in Friuli, nothing is casual, from the slicer for San Daniele raw ham, to the plates for the appetizers, the furniture and everything else is designed and built in Friuli by local artists and designers using local material.
The ambitious and well planned project of the Scarellos, is that of turning a house from the 60s into a unique environment, that could welcome the restaurant`s guests and make them feel “at home”, also by using creations of their neighboring artisans.
The house`s welcome was impeccable: as I sat in a warm sitting room, stroked by the sun filtering through the porch windows, I chatted pleasantly to Michela about the restaurant`s history, that goes back as far as 1887 and that was passed down through the years until today, always staying modern and up to date with the restaurant`s needs. They`ve gone through many restoration processes, up to the current state, that looks perfectly new, but that was finished in 2009, when the architect Paolo Zuliani redefined all the spaces as I see them today…
Nothing is casual, from the air conditioning to the led lighting, the restaurant`s details are cared for to reach the best quality. That`s how it earned its first star in 2000, the second in 2013 and the year after that it became part of the great family of Relais and Chateaux!
But as always I`ve lost myself… it`s definitely time to sit down and try this wonderful cuisine, talked about from everywhere… the special cuisine of Emanuele and his brigade!
The cooking connects the tastes from the places nearby, where potatoes are a leitmotiv, seasonal food dominates the menu, and the mix of mountain and sea presents an alternation of fish and meat dishes, until they even serve a smoked trout along with a roasted cockerel.
Everything is fusion, a mix of traditional Italian cuisine with new interpretations of the classic carbonara pasta, presented as I would never have imagined it.
They have the imagination to create dishes without exaggerating in rich and mixed tastes, but the simple and incredible pleasantness of tasting the variety of flavors in a perfect match and balance of tastes!
The meal ends with the most wonderful desserts, light, tasty and incredibly delicate.
The thing that amazed me most, and I don`t think it was casual, was the search for color. Every dish was perfectly matched to the wild flowers that were set on the table, from the chef`s greeting down to the gin tonic with hibiscus and orange infuse that they served after the meal, everything was perfectly color coordinated.
We`re almost emotional by the time the coffee comes through, a special Brazilian Santos with the addition of cardamom, served in the traditional Italian moka. The idea of friendliness, Italian tradition and the feeling that the moka encloses, ends my experience at the Scarello Home.
Agli Amici, a mandatory stop!
I`m sure you`re all going to ask “HOW MUCH?” So prepare to book your table because I was amazed…2 Michelin stars and a full tasting menu for 85€ (wine not included) … only in Friuli!
Ph. Andrea Zangrando