Frasca is a James Beard Award-winning restaurant inspired by the practice of leaving a branch or bough (a frasca) hanging outside the family farm in Friuli. The frasca is a signal that new wine is for sale. Both the restaurant and this book perpetuate that tradition with thoughtful food and wine pairings that reflect an abundance of influences that make the cuisine of Friuli distinctive.
Tucked in the far northeast of Italy, with a seacoast and Alpine regions and historic connections to Central Europe, Friuli’s food and drink can be eye-opening to those who expect it to be the same as the sunny South. Bobby Stuckey—former wine director at The French Laundry—and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, a multi-award winning chef, do a remarkable here making the differences clear and appealing.
Mentioning “food and wine” in the title of a book is enough of a trope that the wine aspect is often paid little more than lip service. That’s not the case here, as the first 50 pages of the book tackle the subject in depth, covering geography and grapes, as well as significant producers, and the kind of common pairings that locals would make automatically. Sidebars throughout the rest of the book call out remarkable pairings with the food presented.
Three separate food sections are divided into land, sea, and mountain to add further depth to their portrait of the region. While there is a rustic simplicity to many of the dishes, the presentation here of even a polenta dish known as farm gravy has enticing style. And it’s easy to come across unfamiliar pleasures, such as Slovenian dumplings in veal jus, tagliolini in a prosciutto and poppy seed cream sauce, squid stuffed with dandelion greens, and a spaetzle-like spelt pasta served with zucchini and rosemary.
Refreshing and worthy of respect.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.