TRIESTE PROVINCE

GORIZIA PROVINCE

GORIZIA

CORMONS

GRADO

UDINE PROVINCE

PORDENONE PROVINCE

 

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Gorizia Province

Cormòns

Cormòns lies in the heart of Friuli's wine country. The surrounding Collio countryside is blanketed with vineyards, reminiscent of Tuscany’s rolling hills or California’s lush Napa Valley. The name Collio is derived from the Italian word colli, meaning “hills,” which epitomizes this landscape where the grapes have more sun exposure than in the low-lying plains.

The Collio zone is most famous for its white wines, Tocai Friulano in particular. Although this grape is not believed to be native to Friuli, it has been produced there for centuries. Recently, the European Union delivered an unpopular verdict regarding the name Tocai: of the three European wines having a historical claim on the name—Tocai Friulano, Tokai-Pinot Gris from France, and Hungarian Tokaj—only the Hungarian wine has been allowed to continue using its name. Despite much local protest, Tocai Friulano is now officially called merely Friulano.
Also popular are Collio’s white wine blends, which usually contain at least two of the following: Tocai, Malvasia Istriana, and Ribolla Gialla, as well as occasionally Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Bianco, or Pinot Grigio. Perhaps the Collio’s most famous blend is the Vino della Pace, which is produced from 540 grape varieties selected from every continent. This “wine of peace” is bottled and sent to political and religious leaders around the world.

The town of Cormòns is home to one of the region’s most noted wine bars, the Enoteca di Cormòns. Also the town's tourist office as well as the seat of the Collio’s wine-producing consortium, this bar makes a great place to taste regional wines along with local cheeses and salumi, including the locally smoked prosciutto D’Osvaldo. Every September, Cormòns hosts the Festa Provinciale dell’Uva, a wine festival featuring music, theater, and cultural events, along with the obligatory wine tasting.

La Subida

Situated on the outskirts of Cormòns is one of Friuli’s most esteemed restaurants, officially called Trattoria Al Cacciatore de La Subida but known to locals simply as La Subida. Surrounded by rolling hills and lush vineyards, La Subida serves impeccable dishes inspired by the nearby border where Friulian and Slovenian cultures merge.

Opened at Christmastime in 1960 by Slovenian Joško Sirk and his wife, Loredana, La Subida was originally a small osteria and inn, which soon became a popular gathering spot for hunters. A recreational cacciatore (hunter) himself, Sirk takes great pride in the land and has built a small complex of apartments adjacent to his restaurant, complete with tennis courts, children’s playground, horse stables, and swimming pool. For Sirk, building these rustic farmhouses has been an obsessive hobby and his primary passion—the realization of a longtime dream. “Subida isn’t a hotel with all the creature comforts,” he admitted, “and it’s not even very entertaining,” but he hopes it to be an ideal place for vacationers to spend a relaxing and invigorating holiday.

To the Sirk family, Trattoria Al Cacciatore is not just a restaurant—it is their home, filled with special belongings, mementos, and memories. Daughters Tanja and Erika have grown up here and now help out in the dining room. Joško and Loredana are always there as well, interacting with their guests, even joining them at the table. After a while, dining at La Subida is like dining with family.

The Sirks look at their cuisine as a slice of life, a part of their culture and heritage. The menu leans toward the Triestine—jota and gnocchi di susine, for example—but also offers a variety of Friulian dishes, including frico, frittata, and orzotto. They specialize in the Slovenian pastas mlinci and zlikrofi, as well as wild game, which is roasted or grilled to perfection. The stinco di vitello, carved tableside, simply melts in one’s mouth. While their food remains authentic, each dish is refined to an exquisite level through added touches such as fried sage leaves, elderberry flower syrup, and herb-infused sorbets.

The best way to experience this slice of culture is with La Subida’s multi-course tasting menu. After an aperitif and some light snacks under the lime tree or inside by the fogolâr, diners will feast on an appetizer, two or three first courses, two meat dishes, a palate-cleansing sorbet, and a dessert that inevitably includes a plate of homemade biscotti. This must all be accompanied, of course, by local Collio wine from Joško’s cellar.