2018-03-07 / Front Page

On the Road in Italy: Pizzeria in Aquileia

By Catherine Tsounis

Giovanna and Dr. Despina at Alla Basilica ristorante/pizzeria.
Giovanna and Dr. Despina at Alla Basilica ristorante/pizzeria. Seeing a chef create a pizza in eyesight is what a tourist wants. “I know a place for lunch,” said our Aquileia guide Giovanna Strigher Di Robilant. A traditional Pizzeria in a country setting with an outdoor terrace best describes Alla Basilica ristorante/pizzeria. A world of homemade Friuli cuisine.

Friuli Venezia Giulia cooking is known as a composite of Friulan peasant fare, sophisticated Venetian food and influence from the Slavic and Austrian cultures. Despite these vastly assorted styles of cooking, this region manages to merge them successfully.1

Guide Giovanna told us “we do not have snow like previous years. The mountains are bare Goccia di Carnia natural water.
Goccia di Carnia natural water. of snow. My father worked for the Bank of Italy in New York during the 1960’s. I lived in a beautiful home with grass and a garden in Little Neck. This is fate that I am a guide to you and Dr. Despina, persons from a place where I had a happy childhood.” Getting to know residents is part of enjoying cuisine.

Pepperone pizza.
Pepperone pizza. We had a natural beverage called Goccia di Carnia and sorgenti di fleons natural waters, pepperoni pizza, salad, traditional bread and a chocolate dessert. The website says “Goccia di Carnia, with its purity and its valuable properties, arrives untouched on your tables for 40 years thanks to the support of our Italian distributors in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and of our distributors abroad.”2

Preparing pizza.
Preparing pizza. We watched the entire creation of pizza from crust, tomato cheese topping, cooked in a large traditional cement oven. The chef took out the cooked pizza with a long handle ladle. The crusty bread was like eating dessert. We had a local homemade lemon dessert beverage. Prices for non-fish cuisine ranged from 7-12 euros. Grigorio, Fiorina, Stefania and Elizabeth are the staff. Their smile, hospitality and warmth transcended the language barrier between us. Giovanna was our interpreter with the Alla Basilica staff.

Pasta is eaten in many different forms in Friuli Venezia Giulia cuisine. Lasagna noodles are layered with poppy seeds. Gnocchi are made with potato, winter squash or plums. The filled pasta called bauletti contains ham and cheese and offelle are stuffed with spinach, pork and veal flavored with onion. Other pasta is packed full of vegetables, fruit, bread, herbs or even chocolate.

Bread is another staple food in Friuli Venezia Giulia cuisine. In addition to wheat breads, rye Reiulan salad.
Reiulan salad. and barley flour are used to make bread. Pumpkin bread is also commonly enjoyed. Gubana is a bread traditionally served for Easter. This rich bread resembles brioche and is filled with layers of cocoa and grappa flavored dried fruit and nuts. Bread is used to make canaderli which are dumplings that are served in broth or with meat. Potatoes and ricotta are used to fill a savory strudel called strukli.3

“You are lucky there were not any crowds today.  On October 17th,” Giovanna said. “last Friulan bread.
Friulan bread. week we had crowds.” Giovanna, as a local knew the right spots to take us. The Trattoria Hotel "Alla Basilica" is located in the center of Aquileia and is located 5 km from the splendid seaside town of Grado. For further information contact 0431 917449.4
Why did we select Giovanna for a private tour? She gave us accurate directions from Venice.

Lemon liqueur made from natural ingredients.Lemon liqueur made from natural ingredients.“Take the train to Trieste and you get off at CERVIGNANO del Friuli,” she wrote in an Chocolate dessert.
Chocolate dessert. email. “I will come with my car and take you to Aquileia, where we will visit everything available (many different realities: part of the Museums and the temporary exhibitions).  I suggest we pass the entire day together from 11.00 a.m. to 17.00. When the visit is finished (around 5 -  6 pm) I will take you to Cervignano where you'll take the train to Venice. The cost of the private tour is € 250.00. This is the most convenient way of passing a whole and I hope pleasant day in the fantastic place that is Aquileia. You are strangers in our land. We must offer you our best in hospitality.” She escorted us to the train platform and saw us on the train. Our Aquileia trip gave us an insight into the hospitality of Northern Italy.

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