Two days among the rolling hills of the high plains and a few medieval jewels.
It begins at Mont’Albano Agricola, in Savorgnano del Torre in the wine cellar that has for over 30 years practiced organic wine making; the first in Friuli. You will meet Mauro Braidot (“Mister Organic”), a pioneer of organic production, that even before the existence of certification and European regulations to protect production, foresaw what is happening now in agriculture. You will hear in detail as he recounts his impassioned tale about his business, principles and his dreams, which have been important to his personal growth and made him the person he is today. The rules for certified organic production will be explained as well as the ”feelings” behind cultivation, because Mont’Albano produces organically not just for the certification but above all because it is a matter of the heart: to protect our environment and all of our region for those who work here. Then a wine tasting of selected wines of different vintages will follow in order to best understand how every aspect of nature can influence the final product.
For lunch we’re headed to l’Osteria di Villafredda, a few kilometers North in Loneriacco, situated among the rolling hills of Tarcento. Luca the chef, a man of few words but pays great attention in both his choice of raw materials and in the presentation. As the name suggests, Luca and Barbara respect tradition and local cuisine and at the same time they take great care in the details. The Osteria has a familiar air, Luca the chef is extremely careful about his choice of raw materials. The sidhes are simple and traditional but with that little something extra.
The restaurant takes its name from the nearby Medieval village, Villafredda. It is a turreted village from the early 16th century that was residence to a noble family from Mantova. A short walk after lunch takes you to “Borgo Vecchio” a village within Villafredda.
The ends in San Daniele del Friuli, land of the prosciutto. An exclusive guided tour to stimulate all five senses and to discover a new one.
To begin you will be met by the Prolongo family and they will share their family stories that they have passed down for over three generations. You will slowly discover the secrets of their famous product, symbol of San Daniele del Friuli. Experience the thrill of walking through the seasoning rooms and seeing the majestic prosciuttos that rest on the fir shelves. You can hear the sound of the sea and the mountain air that permeates these walls. You can touch refined raw materials, like the sea salt and the suet (the special paste that protects the prosciutto during its long maturation). You will smell the unique aromas from the various rooms. It is a unique tasting experience with delicious thin slices that melt in your mouth, to be enjoyed alone or paired with handmade hazelnut bread sticks. The three parts of the prosciutto will tempt your taste buds in a vertical of flavors: the bow, with its particular intensity, the tip, characterized by the marbling and, the shin, with its smooth, sweet taste; it’s an experience for true connoisseurs.
During the one hour visit you can ask questions take pictures, and if you like, take a little San Daniele home with you, after you have carefully chosen a slice in the Boutique del Prosciutto, the shop located within the Prosciuttificio.
The second day starts in Venzone, recently named ” Italy’s most beautiful village,” with the first peaks of the Julian Alps as its background. Venzone was undoubtedly established before the year 1000 and is surrounded by a well conserved wall. Its St. Andrea Dome boasts a fascinating history. Built before the early 1300s, it was completely destroyed in the 1976 earthquakes that devastated Friuli. It is an example of philologic reconstruction, Venzone’s Dome was rebuilt just as it was: the stones were gathered and cataloged one by one and then laid in their original position.
The 1976 earthquake is in many ways a starting point (or better, a re-starting point) for Friuli today and if you meet someone who remembers, you will be scared and touched like never before. Meanwhile, visit "Tiere Motus" an emotional and detailed museum dedicated to the earthquake and the reconstruction that followed, which still today is a model not only technically speaking but also in social terms, for emergency management and reconstruction. A special experience awaits you as you watch the short film that describes the Dome’s collapse, stone by stone. It has been reconstructed in 3D by the exhibition’s technicians and the University of Udine: you will feel the floor shake under your seat as if you were there during that time.
Lunch and a tour of Azienda Agricola Colomba’s micro-dairy end the day. It begins in the barn. You will be taken inside to meet the cows and learn how they are milked traditionally by hand and, by the modern mechanical method; you can see the advantages and disadvantages of both techniques. From there it’s off to Al Tulin’s mini-dairy, found right inside the agriturismo, which is located in Montenars (From the middle of June until September the same experience is possible visiting Malga Confin, where Ennio, Gabri and the whole family, including the cows relocate for the summer). The fresh milk is brought form the barn to the dairy to be transformed into cheese, butter, ricotta, and yogurt. You can see the difference in the color, the aroma and the taste of the fresh milk compared to store-bought milk. You can witness the “miraculous” transformation from liquid to solid and you will see cream become butter in the churn. You will taste ricotta fresh from the vat and yogurt that is still warm. You can visit where the cheese is aged, where every single wheel is meticulously turned day after day and you can witness the magic that is cheese, how it changes color as the days pass. Cheese is available for purchase as well as Al Tulin’s other artisan products.
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