Friday 14 December 2018

An evening with Friuli Venezia Giulia tourism

Who, you ask? I wasn't sure myself until recently! Friuli Venezia Giulia is an Italian region in the North East of Italy which borders Austria, Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea. And isn't she a beauty?

Image credit for both of the above: Luciano Gaudenzio

How was I introduced to Friuli Venezia Giulia, you ask? Well I was invited back to the Crystal in London where I was with Rome Tourism last year (all the gossip can be found here), but this time it was with Friuli Venezia Giulia tourism.  

Speaking to us was Tatjana Familio from the Friuli Venezia Giulia press office. She spoke of the region being somewhat of a mysterious one as not many people have heard of it, let alone been there (a minimal shower of hands at the press evening confirmed this fact). And from the presentation, Friuli Venezia Giulia seems to have it it all. Palatial buildings. UNESCO heritage sites aplenty. Scenic cycling and walking routes. Beaches. Skiing and a wealth of other winter sports. Celebrated food and wine tours. Mountains. Mirror shine lakes and waters. I've never been to Austria or Slovenia before, but the Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia definitely has that sort of air about it. In the video footage shared with us, there was an incredible sense of peace and I'm not surprised that many renowned writers found their inspiration in this beautiful region.

 Image credit: Marco Milani

Image credit: Gianluca Baronchelli 

At the front of the room was a cooking station which looked very promising indeed. A cooking demonstration of a celebrated local dish sounded great. But getting to taste it afterwards? Even better!

The dish cooked for us was Frico Friulano - a dish containing cheese, onions and potato. It's hard to compare it to anything else, but it was a deliciously flavorsome dish and what can only be described as soul food. Eating this dish made me ridiculously happy and I could have easily polished off several more plates of it (I have no shame). Apparently the key to a great Frico Friulano is the cheese used. You can't use any old cheese. You need Montasio sourced from - you've guessed it - Friuli Venezia Giulia - something that I'm currently trying to track down so I can make this dish at home. If you ever go to Friuli Venezia Giulia, make sure you seek out Frico Friulano!

It was beautifully paired with white and sparkling wines from the region, which were sweet without being too sweet. Lovely light wines like these would lend themselves well to salads and light pasta dishes.

Our appetite well and truly whet, we were invited downstairs and sat down to dinner, our plates laden with pasta, meats, smoked fish, gnocchi, cheese and salads. The Italians certainly know how to do food well.

The pork belly was a particularly popular choice that evening and understandably so. It was beautifully soft and melted in the mouth. And the pumpkin and sage salad was something that I could eat all day every day.

Thank you to Friuli Venezia Giulia tourism and WTM for the invite and for a lovely evening. I loved the cooking demonstration aspect of the evening as this was something new that we didn't experience at last year's event. I'm so happy that Friuli Venezia Giulia is on my radar now, and I'm already planning a visit (mostly for another plate of that delicious Frico Friulano!). If you have ever been to Friuli Venezia Giulia, please do recommend hotels to me in the comments below!

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