Italy: pizza, spaghetti, tiramisù… well, not exactly, at least: not everywhere.
In the “Far East” of northern Italy there is an unfairly underestimated town that belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the first world war, and whose architecture and gastronomical tradition still betray its past: Trieste.
Trieste: where is it?
Trieste is the capital town of a small region in northern Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and lies less that 150 km east of Venice, that is by the border to Slovenia.
From Venice, it’s a two-hours rail trip; even if Italian railway system is not so good, these towns are pretty well connected, and if you happen to stay in Venice for a while, you shouldn’t miss to visit Trieste, too (which is, besides, extremely less expensive).
Trieste is also only 70 km away from Rijeka, Croatia, so if you are going to spend your holidays on a sunny Istrian beach, you should sacrifice one day of suntan to the beauty of this town.
And, once you are there, be sure not to miss
Five delicious dishes you can taste in Trieste and nowhere else in Italy
It’s more than a soup, it’s a flag, a banner of Trieste’s culinary tradition.
Each family has its own jota recipe, which basically is a soup of potatoes, sauerkraut and beans, seasoned with cumin… and pork, of course, pork in all shapes and sizes, according to cook’s inspiration.
A similar soup can also be found in the rest of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region (Friulians call it jote and also put corn and turnips in it), but it’s rather rare, while Trieste-style jota is one of the most popular dishes of the Slovenian regions bordering with the province of Trieste.
Gnochi de susini
These plum dumplings (their name is in the local dialect: in standard italian it would be gnocchi con le prugne) are a sort of variation on the theme of Marillenknödel.
Small plums (susini, in the dialect of Trieste, similar to Italian susine, another word for plums, which may identify different kinds of this fruit according to the region) are pitted and filled with brown sugar, then wrapped in potato-dumpling dough.
Billiard ball-sized dumplings are then boiled in salted water and later panfried in butter, breadcrumbs and sugar.
Obviously, they are delicious as a dessert (and some restaurant also serve them as if they were), but according to tradition they are a first course and are eaten before a savoury main dish, such as roast calf or…
This tasty beef stew is quite different from Hungarian one, although it borrows from the land of Esterhazys the usage of spices.
Equal quantities of onions and beef slowly cook for four hours or so with herbs, a generous quantity of sweet paprika and a little tomato sauce. The result is an extremely supple stew, with a light spicy note and a pleasantly sweet persistence.
This traditional Slovene cake has its origins in Prekmurje, a region at the northeastern end of the country, by the borders to Austria and Hungary, but is also popular and common in the whole Slovenia and the town of Trieste. It looks like a portion of lasagne, but… it’s far more nourishing!
Apples, cottage cheese, nuts, raisin and poppy seeds (and sometimes some more ingredients, according to the pastry chef’s flair) are stratified among layers of a sort of puff pastry and baked. Yummy!
This chocolate cake is told to have been created by an Hungarian gipsy, who seduced an american heiress married to a Belgian Prince by playing fiddle while the couple was dining, and later married her.
At the base of this recipe, there is a pretty simple idea: putting chocolate everywhere.
Rigo-Jancsi basically consists of a huge quantity of chocolate mousse spread between two thin layers of chocolate spongecake, glazed with chocolate.
As said, it’s a pretty simple idea, but it works.