Some very tasty rags: Blecs
Blecs can be served in many ways, and they're all equally mouth-watering. The simplest way is with melted butter and Montasio, a Friulian cheese which can be combined with multiple wines.
A very typical seasoning for blecs (especially in an agroturismo) is usually a game ragù, a sauce with game's minced meat, like wild boar's for example. A glass of our good Cabernet or Pinot Nero will match perfectly with it.
An exquisite option can be blecs with figs and prosciutto San Daniele, a typical Friulian ham which is made in the city of San Daniele del Friuli (near Udine) and whose taste is enhanced by native grapes like Ribolla Gialla or Friulano. But if you're worried about which wine to combine, then you can pour wine directly (well, not exactly) on blecs! As in the tasty recipe with a Tazzelenghe-based sauce, a local grape's red wine.
But the ultimate version counts in the most expensive delicacy: truffles! In Friuli Venezia Giulia there are white and black truffles, and blecs topped with Montasio fondue and black truffles are just to die for. And better matched with some Friulano glasses...
Gnocchi di susine, plums plummeting down your throat
As we previously said, FVG culture was more influenced by Middle European traditions rather than Mediterranean ones (as in Central and Southern Italy), having been part, and a prominent one, of the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg Empire, and that clearly shows also through its cuisine.
As in a typical, delicious dish that can be easily found at restaurants in Gorizia and Trieste, a dish so sweet, and yet often served as a main course in local menus. We're talking about gnocchi di susine, dumplings stuffed with plums: it may seem strange at first sight, but at the first taste you'll be completely in awe! Gnocchi are usually salty, and this combination gives both sides of the story, mixing sweet and sour while melting slowly in your mouth.
The dumplings are just as regular gnocchi, which means the dough is made with smashed boiled potatoes, flour and eggs but is then rolled out, and cut in small circles that must be stuffed with sautéed plums. A very yummy seasoning gives the finishing touch: a mix of melted butter and toasted breadcrumbs spread all over the gnocchi di susine, gently sprinkled with freshly grated cinnamon before reaching your table.
Which wine could match this culinary marvel? Well a white one of course, being more suitable to its sugary&salty essence: a native grape like our Verduzzo Friulano for instance, and also a Sauvignon Blanc would make good companions for the fabulous plum dumplings.
Their origin is traceable up to its Austrian counterpart, Marillenknödel, apricot dumplings, a typical dish widely known also in Süd Tirol, a part of Italy's Trentino Alto Adige region that is strongly influenced by Austrian and German culture and language. But along the Slovenian border plum trees were very common, so plums soon replaced apricots and thus the recipe got a Friulian twist. In Trieste, the saying goes that a boy will be considered a grown up when he defeats his own father by eating a greater number of gnocchi di susine. A savoury contest indeed!
Try it at home!
For more recipes, take a look at “La cucina triestina”, a recipe book written by Maria Stelvio back in 1927, and still a must-have for any Friulian culinary tradition's lover. It was recently republished by LINT and contains more than 1.200 recipes. Its author, a journalist and a woman ahead of her time, meant to collect all that material as a gift to her daughter Augusta who was getting married, so that she could handle her newlywed life with her mother's help. And we're all so grateful to Augusta, as her legacy lives on... on our tables.