Trieste cuisine is a perfect match between the regional culture traditions and the central European ones reflecting the history of the city. Taverns and buffets are the typical Trieste dining places. By looking at the menus of these places you will find dishes with particular flavors and central European influences.
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You cannot start your journey into flavors without trying one of the best-known appetizers: the platter of hot cooked ham served strictly with mustard or kren (horseradish root) and the Trieste liptauer that is a cheese mousse based on sheep’s milk ricotta enriched with paprika and cumin. The liptauer is a clear Austro-Hungarian influence whose name derives from a Slovak locality and is perfect to spread on bread for an aperitif.
Among the typical first courses of Trieste soups and gnocchi stands out. Probably the best known soup is jota which is made with red beans, cabbage, smoked cragno sausages and bay tree. Then we have the bobici soup consisting of corn (bobici), beans and bacon.
You can find various versions of gnocchi, from the classic potato gnocchi with goulash to the more particular plum gnocchi. Plum gnocchi are prepared by wrapping the mixture of potato gnocchi around a dried plum and finally seasoned with butter and cinnamon. They can also be enjoyed as a dessert thanks to their sweet flavor. Last but not least we find the strucoli in strazza that is a sliced roll filled with meat, vegetables, ricotta and spinach. It is possible to find struccoli in strazza in a revisited fish based version.
Talking about meat we can find boiled pork dishes (commonly called caldaie) which includes porcina (pork shoulder), carrè (pork neck), pork belly, and zampone (pork leg). Meat dishes are usually combined with sauerkraut, mustard and horseradish.
Calandra is another typical dish which consists in some veal stew comined with boiled potatoes and vegetables.
Being a frontier city, Trieste cuisine brings various Balkan and Austro-Hungarian influences to the table. Some balcan dishes you can taste in Trieste are goulash (stew meat with vegetables spiced with paprika) and cevapcici (a grilled mixture of beef, lamb and pork minced meat). Among the Austro-Hungarian contaminations we find the Viennese luganighe (similar to würstel) and cragno sausages.
Trieste typical meat dishes can be combined by a nice glass of Terrano, a special red local wine.
In addition to meat dishes, the tradition also offers a variety of fish-based delicacies. Prawns and shrimp in busara is a typical fish dish. The prawns and the shrimps are cooked whole in oil with chilli flakes, garlic and breadcrumbs, blended with white wine and served with tomato sauce. In pedoci a la scotadeo the mussels are cooked with garlic, parsley and breadcrumbs. The spider crab is a large crab with a delicate flavor that is widely used in typical Trieste recipes. Some dishes come from the near Veneto region, like the sardoni in savor (fried anchovies marinated in vinegar and onion) and salted cod with tomato served with parsley. The locals white wines to pair with these delicacies are Vitovska and Malvasia.
Let’s conclude with the typical desserts of Trieste traditions. First of all the sweet version of the struccolo stuffed with apples, cherries and other seasonal fruit. The sweet struccolo is called the Trieste relatives of strudel.
There are basically two recipes for Trieste desserts linked to history: the recent teresiane and the koch. The teresians have a particular history being the sweet winner of the competition in memory of the 300th anniversary of Maria Theresa of Austria’s birth. The dessert is made up of three cinnamon-flavored biscuit discs that enclose two layers of cream one with caramel mou and the other one with Illy coffee. The three choosen flavors tell the story of the city: coffee represents Trieste, Cinnamon represents Austria and caramel represents Hungary. The koch is an ancient recipe with of Austro-Hungarian origin based on semolina embellished with raisins and pine nuts that looks similar to a soufflé.
The are two typical desserts eaten during Easter holidays. One of those is called pinza which is a brioche bread combined by cold cuts, fruit jams or chocolate spreads. The other Easter cake is the presnitz which is prepared with dried fruit, raisins, pine nuts and liqueur wrapped in a very thin layer of puff pastry. This is a historical dessert: in the past it was donated to the empress Elizabeth in 1856.
The Putizza is a original Slovenian dessert largely adopted by Trieste’s cuisine. It consists of a rolled up puff pastry filled with a sweet dough’s made up of walnuts, pine nuts, soft raisins, spices and a rum scent.
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