Historically the area has been a sort of autonomous outpost thanks to its strategic position up to the fall of the Venetian Republic, with people there granted a certain freedom as to administration, thus preserving a strong identity 'til nowadays. Gubana was born there and flaunts a long history: the very first records trace it back as far as 1409, when it was served along with a long list of other dishes at a banquet set for Pope Gregory XII, in Cividale del Friuli.
But it wasn't until the 1970s that it crossed the Natisone Valleys to conquer the world. In fact, this sweet had always been baked at home as a special treat for grand occasions, like weddings, due to the richness of its ingredients: the filling must be half the size of a gubana and includes raisins (often soaked in grappa), walnuts and pine nuts, and the dough is made with butter, eggs, sugar, milk, flour and... a tot of grappa too. Its distinguishing feature is the twisted shape, reminding of a snail's shell.
The valleys' women handed down the recipe from generation to generation, and it was just around the 1960s that a few bakeries started producing and selling it. A few producers' associations were soon born to guarantee and safeguard its origins, and are still battling to have gubana officially recognized as a typical, exclusively local product.
In the meantime, it has become a favourite treat all around Friuli especially at Christmas time, and we weren't joking when we mentioned its worldwide fame: also Forbes website last year mentioned it among the many Italian Christmas cakes that mark different regional traditions.
And talking about festivities, as they are meant to celebrate, sure some good wines will be needed to pair with such a special dessert as gubana: some sweet ones like a Malvasia or a Ribolla Gialla, and even sparkling white ones like a spumante brut or a Prosecco would be perfectly fit for the occasion. A fair selection is available at our business partners' websites and facilities: Cantina Rauscedo, Sancin EVO Oil&Wine and Do Ville can offer the perfect match for any Christmas cake.