Archive for the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Category

Beer and Sausages in Trieste

Posted in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trieste, Venezia Giulia with tags , , on June 2, 2013 by gannet39

Trieste, the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia  is another new place for me, I came here on my day off to see my friend Barbara who took good care of me during the 36 hours I was here.

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First stop on her evening tour of the nineteenth century centre was Piazza dell’ Unita with the glowing lights of the town hall at one end (pictured) and to the side the former head office of Lloyd Triestino, once one of the world’s biggest shipping companies. The other end of the square looks out over the Adriatic and on a good day you can see both the Croatian and the Slovenian coasts over the water.

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Trieste was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and this is very much reflected in its food culture. The city is a culinary crossroads where the Latin, Germanic and Slavonic cultures meet. You will find restaurants selling beer, sausages and goulash next to ones offering pasta and wine and either might have dishes on the menus have Slovenian names. It’s also the home of Illy, Italy’s largest coffee company.

Knowing my love of good grub, Babs had laid plans for me and took me with her daughter Elisa to her favourite beer hall near Piazza dell’ Unita.

Kapuziner (Intermediate A), 1 Via Pozzo del Mare

This Bavarian style beer hall and sausage specialist is one of the most unusually decorated restaurants I’ve ever been to.

The walls are mounted with deer antlers, bearskins and old French horns with the blue and white check of the Bavarian flag being the main colour theme.

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The serving wenches in their period costumes finish the effect of a Black Forest bierkeller.

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One of these friendly waitresses pointed me in the direction of the house special, the Kapuziner Teller; five kinds of grilled Bratwurst with Tirolese style sautéed potatoes and two types of mustard on the side. This pressed all the right buttons for me (A) as it brought back memories of char-grilled sausages at family barbeques in Norway when I was a child.

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Of course the essential drink to have with this was beer and I tried two types that had been brewed on the premises; the double hop…

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…and the Kapuziner weiss, both of which were great (B+).

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Finally, a slab of Tiramisu which met our sugar needs but had a slightly soggy base (B).

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This is a fun place to come, and Gianni the owner (Barbara’s friend of thirty years standing) is a very friendly chap, so I would totally recommend coming here when in town.

After this we went on a short tour of the buzzing bars around Piazza dell’ Unita.

I particularly liked the row of pubs on the intimate Via del Ponte where I had a glass of Tongerlo,  a ‘red’ beer from Belgium (B).

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Buffet Rudy (Intermediate B+), 42 Via Valdirivo, Tel. 0122 453 0327

The next day we went to another restaurant near Barbara’s office, also owned by a friend of hers. It’s one of four little places in a row, all of which look very nice.

I had my beloved Spaghetti al Vongole which I had been fantasising about eating for nearly two years since my last time in Italy. It hit the spot (B+) and went perfectly with a chilled glass of Friulian Tokai, or Fruilano as it should be known,

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The sweet of vanilla ice cream, sweet strawberry sauce, sour plain yogurt and a thin crispy biscuit (somewhat similar to a ‘sable‘) was recommended by the waiter as a dessert his mother made for him as a child. It was very nice (B).

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Hosteria Malcanton (Elementary B), 1d Via Malcanton

We were unlucky with the weather during my stay here and had to leg it through a torrential downpour to get to this place. Babs chose it in an attempt to avoid getting too soaked as it’s fairly near the hotel, but with little success. The warm pub atmosphere was most welcome as the three of us came through the door dripping wet.

The dishes here seemed to have a Slovenian slant and always on the hunt for something new, and on the suggestion of my hosts. I went for the Ljubljanska (named after the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana). Although it doesn’t make for the most attractive photograph, it’s a tasty (B) combination of layers of veal, ham and cheese which is battered and deep fried.

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A logical accompaniment to this is Patate in Tecia, aka mashed potato and sauteed onion with small pieces of bacon, presumably fried in the bacon lard (B).

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Finally a slice of Strudel which means ‘whirlpool’ in Middle German although the dish is Hungarian in origin. In this case it was Apfelstrudel; a combination of apple, raisins, cinnamon and breadcrumbs and sugar wrapped in very thin layers of dough and baked (B).

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You will find lots of other meat dishes on the menu here, including wild boar and venison. It’s a nice homey hostelry to come for comfort food on a cold rainy night.

So just a short stay in Trieste for me, which left plenty more for me to come and see next time. Many thanks to Babs for showing me around and generally taking care of me! x x

Here are some more places listed in my 2010 copy of Gambero Rosso’s ‘Ristoranti d’Italia’:

Amarina (€45 restaurant), 2 Via Diaz, closed Sunday and Monday.

Bollicine (€45 winebar), 2b Piazza Sant ‘Antonio, closed Sunday.

Buffet de Pepi (€20 trattoria), 3 Via Cassa di Risparmio, closed Sunday.

Ai Fiori (€55 restaurant), Piazza Hortis, www.aifiori. com, closed Sunday and for lunch on Monday.

Pepenero Pepebianco (€65 restaurant), 14a Via Rittmeyer, www.pepeneropepebianco.it, closed  Sunday.

Al Ritrovo Marittimo (€35 restaurant), 3 Via del Lazzaretto Vecchio, closed  Sunday and Monday.

Scabar (€60 restaurant), 63 Erta Sant Anna, www.scabar.it, closed Monday.

Antica Trattoria Suban (€40 restaurant), 2 Via E. Comici, www.suban.it, closed Tuesday and open evenings only except for Saturday and Sunday.

Le Vele de Hotel Miramare (€55 restaurant), 325/1 Viale Miramare, www.hotelmiramaretrieste.it, closed Sunday.

 

A portion of Pordenone

Posted in Friuli, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Pordenone on May 18, 2013 by gannet39

This was my first time in Friuli,  a part of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in the north east of Italy. Pordenone  is a pretty little town; very clean and civilised (lots of greenery and cycle paths) and everyone seems to be cycling around with a smile on their face.

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Founded in the Middle Ages as an important river port, it is now the home of Zanussi the electronics company. It has a slightly Germanic feel to it so it didn’t surprise me when I read that it was once an Austrian enclave belonging to the Habsburgs.

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The oldest street in town seems to be Corso Emmanuele II which is lined with old porticos and painted houses from the Renaissance and Gothic periods.

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At the end of the street is the pretty City Hall with its medieval clock with the sun in the middle.

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If you bear left from here you get to the cathedral of St Mark which has a famous altarpiece and fresco inside. The impressive campanile stands alone off to one side.

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I only had one night here but arrived early enough to do a little tour of the towns restaurants before plumping for this one:

La Ferrata (Intermediate A), 7 Via Gorzia (which is through an arch on the right as you near the end of Corso Emmanuele), www.osterialaferrata.it

After looking at the other places (all of which seemed fine) I chose La Ferrata for its ambience (trad meets modern), low prices (just €7 for a primi piatti) and the fact it gets the most honourable mention in many guides, including Michelin. The service is good too and the head waiter is quite a character.
The area is known for its ham and cheese so I negotiated smaller portions (they are separate on the menu) so I could try both. The affettatti (cold cuts of meat) included a couple of smoked varieties which were quite interesting (B).

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The cheeses were my favourite though (B+) as I got six different small slabs of varying ages, the oldest being the best and most powerful. I wasn’t too keen on the accompanying dips though. The yellow Mostarda  (candied fruit in a mustard sauce made I think in this case from quince) didn’t really suit me (C) but the accompanying red concoction was ok (B) although I could only get from the waiter that red wine was one of the ingredients.

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To drink with this a quartino of white Tokai (B), a wine I’d only heard of before in Hungary and the subject of some debate between the two countries. With the main, another quarter litre carafe of Cab Sauv, also good (B).

For my next course I had the classic Italian dish for Spring; Risotto di Primavera,  a very tasty (A) combination of rice, stock, Parmesan, green vegtables and herbs which gave it a vibrant green colour.

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Against my better judgement I had the Mattonella di Gelato al Pistacchio, Fragola e Fiordilatte con Salsa di Fragole (or slices of pistachio, strawberries and vanilla ice cream cake with strawberry sauce) which sounded great and was spectacularly presented but sadly had little flavour to speak of (C).

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With this a shot of Pagura, a Friulian herb infused amaro (B).

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Total cost €40. Despite a couple of weak choices, I would definitely come here again. These other places look ok as well though:

Ristorante al Gallo at 10 Via San Marco, near the cathedral, is a seafood specialist, but you can only sit inside.

Osteria Antico Burchiello at 11/D Corso Garibaldi, one of the streets off the central square. There are only a couple of options per course but the people running it are very nice and you can sit outside. The weather wasn’t great when I was there in May though.

I was put up at the Great Western at 43 Via Mazzini which was fine. They don’t have any facilities except wi-fi but the staff are helpful and the breakfast is fine, and it’s very near the station.

The reception can also give you a 10% food discount card for use at affiliated restaurants and a food map showing where they are.  La Ferrata is not part of the scheme but the other two restaurants are.

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