OK, I confess we had modest goals for our first day’s ride, but I wanted to have an easy first day figuring out how to balance our panniers (those saddle bags on a bike) and adjusting to highway riding. Not autostrada, but still we were navigating fairly busy roads.
We pulled into the main piazza in Cividale just in time to enjoy the last hour or so of sunshine. There is a wonderful enoteca (wine bar) called Gustobase that is everything you would want from a wine country wine bar. We sampled a Tokai Friuliana, the signature white wine of the area, and a simple Malvasia. After chatting up Enrico, the owner of Gustobase, he suggested we try something a little more ‘particulare” (Pronounced part- ick- you- lar-eh, this is an Italian designation given to anything that is a little bit different, sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes it’s just plain odd. It can be useful when someone is asking you how you like something, you say, “Ah, molto particulare.” Could mean anything.)
We were up for something molto particulare, so Enrico suggested “Bianco Kaplia ’04 by Damijan Podversic. Yes, that’s an Italian wine producer, but you are a stone’s throw from the Slovenia border. It’s an unfiltered wine, so it almost looks like cider in the glass, but it had a beautiful fresh pear nose, and a persistent, somewhat racy finish. I was treated to one of these unfiltered wines once before and they are definitely particulare, but in a good way.
We had plans to bike up the hill to the looming hotel, Locanda del Castello, but we both decided that after the previous night’s Fart Hotel experience, we wanted to be right in the heart of town. Enrico suggested the comely Locanda del Pomo d’Oro (or Tomato Hotel) and it fit our needs perfectly. Warm, clean and cozy and with homemade streudel and San Daniele for breakfast, what more did we need? We had our first lesson in bike safety when we attached our bikes to some unused “no parking’ signs, and came out in the morning and found our bikes safely propped up against a wall, but without the no parking signs. Guess they needed them after all.
Once again we roamed around this lovely town on our bikes, checking out some art galleries, crossing the famed Devil’s Bridge and all in all, having just a fine time. When we got hungry, we went back to Enrico at Gustobase and he suggested we have dinner at Ai Tre Re. Enrico is clearly The Man in Cividale!
Ai Tre Re is a cozy, mountain town restaurant with some killer grilled sausage. But, if you look at the sausage photo, up in the right hand corner is a bowl of potatoes. One bite and I was back at my grandmother’s kitchen table. I hadn’t tasted that combination of potatoes and onions in over 50 years and the flavor was exactly what I remembered eating at my Busia’s house. It’s amazing how a flavor or smell can transport you, even more than something visual.
So, there we were, our first night without the ‘safety net’ of a nearby car. It felt good.
Piazza Paolo Diacona, 24
Cividale del Friuli
Tell Enrico we sent you, closed Tue.
Locanda al Pomo d’Oro
Piazzetta San Giovanni, 20
TEL.+39 0432 731489
Ai Tre Re Ristorante
Via Stretta San Valentino, 31
Tel: 0432 700416