Gorging on food festivals around Udine
Italians are fond of food fairs and festivals. No local products are too plain or insignificant to deserve a celebration, and for tourists the fairs offer a real taste of the place. Here’s a guide to food festivals around Udine
Friuli-Venezia Giulia around Udine in the north-eastern corner of Italy is characterized by a strong central European influence, yet the love of good food is unmistakably Italian. And almost every month there is a gastronomic event or food festival somewhere in the region.
Here’s a list of what to go for:
Asparagus and snails
In May it’s time to celebrate the asparagus with excursions into the woods and up in the mountains to look for wild asparagus, radicchio and spring mushrooms. Arta Terme and Tricesimo have quite extensive programmes with lots of food and entertainment. And the more adventurous can go to Trivignano for the ‘Sagra dai cais’ which is a nice euphemism for lumache snails
Bread and ham
In early June there’s a ‘sagra del pane’ with bread nibbling all over Ampezzo. Later the same month San Daniele hosts a great international ‘Aria di Festa’ to promote cured ham . Friuli makes 2.7 million of the best cured hams in Italy and every year during the last weekend in June you can visit producers and factories, eat yourself silly in prosciutto and Montasio cheese, sip superb regional DOC wines and attend musical performances and exhibitions around the town centre.
Ostrich and gigantic potato crisps
A month later in July there’s another ‘festa del prosciutto’ in Sauris, while Pozzuolo del Friuli celebrates the ostrich as something that can be eaten and enjoyed with musical entertainment.
One of the local specialities is ‘frico’ – a frying pan filled with onions and potatoes and covered in crispy melted cheese. There are regular attempt at new world records for the largest frico in the world and both Dignano by the Tagliamento River and Resia in the mountains near the Slovenian border have a ’Sagre del frico’ in mid August.
Mushrooms and maise
In September there are happy mushroom hunters in Ravascletto and a month later they move on to Attimis
October in Povoletto means maise and the ‘Fieste de Blave’. Basiliano serves crabs at a ‘Sagre de las Masanètes’ where you can also taste polenta with eel, squids and salted cod. And of course there are pumpkin festivals like the one in Terzo di Aquileia
New wine and goose
November sees a couple of goose fairs chased with new wine in eg. Mortegliano
And finally, Sapori di Carnia in the tiny Raveo village will stuff you with about 14 local specialities ranging from frico to chucrut. The names of the dishes and the ingredients reveal a certain autonomy. For instance, potatos which should be patate in Italian are known as cartufules in these parts, but the taste is the same. As is the timing set for the first Sunday in December every year.