Furlan Culture
Traditional Furlan meals are typically very earthy. Pasta, corn, potatoes, and onions are a staple of the Furlan diet. Polenta is one traditional dish made with cornmeal and is usually served with a stew (umid). Muset is one of many pork-inspired dishes and is cooked with turnips (brovade). As with any Italian cuisine, pasta is also an essential part of the Furlan diet.
Friulano, Montasio, and Asiago are only a handful of the many popular cheeses that are made in Friuli. The distinct flavour of montasio cheese is produced by the cows which are taken to eat the rare greens that only grow in the mountains of Friuli. In Friuli, Frico is a popular snack that is based on cheese. Frico starts by frying diced potatoes in a pan, and then a cheese like Friulano or Asiago is added to it and melted in the pan. Once melted, the heat is turned up to form a crust. It's a delicious appetizer to any meal.
One of the chief food exports of Friuli is the sensational prosciutto from San Daniele. Each year the factories in San Daniele cure millions of prosciuttos that will be shipped all over the world. In San Daniele, you will find Prosciutterias instead of Pizzerias, where prosciuttos of different ages are served with breadsticks and a glass of wine. If you visit Friuli you must make a trip to San Daniele.
The Furlan Life Cycle
Many of those involved at the Fogolar are involved in it for one reason: to give back to the Club. Those who become members are not looking for incentives or hand-outs; they become members because they want to honour their ancestors. They want to give back to an organization that has been with them their whole life and want to show their children how inspiring the Fogolar can truly be.
From an early age Furlan children are involved in various events at the Fogolar such as Carnevale, the Children's Christmas Party, the Gotis di Rosade Youth Choir, and the Father's Day celebrations. Not only are young children involved, but teenagers as well. They become part of the Youth Group and volunteer for the same activities that they were participating in only a few years prior. The young Furlans also become employees of the Fogolar, working as bus boys and servers. The teens are a steady source of labour for the Club and many are very loyal workers because they have been a part of the Fogolar for so long and have a true appreciation for it. New bonds form during their employment there and many friendships and relationships emerge. Throughout this time they learn many traditions from their parents and grandparents. The boys learn about winemaking and sausage-making, the girls about tending to the garden and how to prepare staple meals like polenta and umid.
At 18, the young adults are now eligible to become members of the Fogolar and many do indeed take advantage of the opportunity. The playful relationships that started some years before have blossomed into something more. They begin attending members' functions like the monthly general assemblies and the annual Christmas Member's Banquet.
The parents sit on the sidelines and watch this all happen, grateful that their children are maturing and staying true to their heritage. They've pushed when pushing was needed, and then let them find their own path using the Fogolar and their Furlan heritage as guidance.
By volunteering on committees & building projects and getting involved with groups and activities like the Women's Association, bocce, and the euchre league, the parents continue to be active within the Club. Their children are now looking to start families of their own and before long the parents become grandparents.
The nonni now help raise the grandchildren and teach them Furlan language and culture, effectively planting the seeds for their future as a part of the Fogolar Furlan Windsor. The process has come full circle and begins again.
One of the most sacred ties to the homeland of many Furlan immigrants is their language. Unlike many regions in Italy where the residents speak a dialect of Italian, in Friuli the true language of Furlan is spoken. Furlan stems from Ladin (vulgar Latin) and over the years has been influenced by German, Italian, Venetian, and Slovenian. In Friuli you will find road signs written in both Italian and Furlan. While traveling in the region you will find that Furlan is the language of choice among the locals in smaller towns. In the larger cities like Udine, Italian is spoken. Furlan has been re-introduced into the school system as Italy is now trying to protect linguistic minorities. It has also become popular at the post-secondary level as students and professors have a renewed interest in the language. However, even though Furlan is taught, there are difficulties because various dialects of the language exist and therefore some simply choose not to use it.
In Windsor, you will find that many of our older members are still fluent in Furlan, even those who have been in Canada for over 40 years. To many it is still their first language and it is still spoken at home and with friends in the member's bar at the Fogolar. Although English has taken over as the main language during our monthly general assemblies, some topics are still discussed in Furlan.
Travel & Tourism
The Friuli region is one of the most diverse areas in all of Italy. As a tourist you can go from climbing mountains in the far North to catching some sun in the South on the sandy beaches along the Adriatic. The Alps and Dolomites stretch for hundreds of miles and they consist of countless mountains that can be climbed in the summer and skied in the winter. Bibione and Lignano are popular beaches that stretch for kilometres and have great city cores with plenty of eateries and retail stores. Right in the centre of Friuli is Udine, which has historic attractions like the Castiel di Udin (Castle of Udine), in addition to many shopping venues. Pordenone, Gemona, and Trieste are all other major cities which will keep you occupied during your stay in Friuli.
However, to experience Friuli in its purest form and take in the true culture and history you must visit the countryside. Each small village in Friuli has a story to tell and you will be missing out if you don't spend a couple days traveling from one to the next. You will be hard-pressed not to find some locals who would like to show you around or join you for un tai di vin neri (glass of red wine) and a one-of-a-kind wood-fired pizza.
The region is also teeming with vineyards. The variants unique to Friuli are where you should start. Wines like Refosco, Tocai, and Prosecco can be found in nearly every bar or ristorante. At vineyards and wineries you will feel like a king as they overwhelm you with hospitality and generosity. Grappa is a popular spirit that comes from the grapes and in Friuli you can find it flavoured with everything from figs to asparagus.
Although you will have not have trouble finding things to do in Friuli, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia are within a couple hours driving distance of Friuli and are great destinations if you are looking to diversify your stay in Europe. Also, Venice is located only minutes outside the Friuli border in Veneto and is definitely worth a trip.