You Make a Living from What You Get - But You Make a Life from What You Give

mercoledì 4 maggio 2011


Even the ancient, burping engine and frayed wicker chairs of the coloured, wooden "Che Guevara", are greeted with warmth when one come by boat directly from Lignano Sabbiadoro to moor up and dine at Al Fiume Stella, in Precenicco, in the province of Udine, where gourmet food is at the river’s edge. The lapping water, the shouting, the unkempt foliage of the willows and the reassuring voice of the chef owner Daniel Siccardi who lists what’s on the menu. Thatched roofs and dust roads for those who, instead, come by land in order to enjoy the king crab caught in the North Sea off the coast of Iceland. A delicacy that Daniel calls "red gold" because "fifty are caught, only once a year." Fifteen of these come to La Fiume Stella, a restaurant that clearly pampers its guests.  The sloping green that plays with the chiaroscuro of the water and the rocking of the pier, all to be savoured whilst sipping French sparkling wine whilst time  stands still and all just a stones throw away from the Marano Lagoon.  "The catch of the day and the seasons are our reference point. The less you touch a fish the better", says the chef.  Mediterranean and Adriatic seafood are unsurpassable and perfect as starters: turbot, octopus carpaccio with blueberries, baby octopus, small bevarasse clams, a squid salad, anchovies, squill.   Obviously the kitchen of a true Venetian such as Daniele, whose heart has nevertheless been kidnapped by the riverside beauty of this Friulian set, would never be without sardines in saor, cuttlefish and Caorle scallops – a triumph of colors and flavors. "I can not change a light bulb, much less hang a picture on the wall - he says wryly - but I have the presumption to say that I do know how to cook spaghetti." 

Just a taste of a first course is enough to show that of the team of fifteen chefs and commis in the kitchen and the twenty waiters in the dining room, no-one is messing about.  Bigoli pasta in anchovy sauce, tagliolini ‘alla busera’ with scampi, oyster and basi risotto all nicely satisfy the appetite while the evening shadows fall. And an aura of happiness, as the writer Mario Soldati would have described it, wraps itself around the chatter, the smell of the food and the damp rising up from the river. The fishermen that once told tales of unruly characters in the sea and indomitable winds are no longer, but the landlord is quick to describe old recipes cooked in a "cassopipa", a clay pot, such as the original ‘Granzo Porro’ crab baked with rosemary in the oven or explain why spaghetti alla carbonara was actually once black. It was just a bit of cuttlefish ink, added by the cook tired of seeing black powder falling off Venetian miners. These memories are complimented by the simplicity of the table at which the white wines of Collio are served and a cellar that is home to more than one hundred and twenty labels. 


Al Fiume Stella
Via dell'Isolino 1,
Precenicco (Ud)
Average price (excluding wine): 50 euro
Closed: Monday and Tuesday.  
Open from April.
Tel: +39 0431587703/04/05

2 commenti:

  1. Oh, la ringrazio molto per tale suggerimento interessante, terrò a mente.


life wine travel chef gardening relais & chateaux spices exploring style boules bathing captured images carpets botteghe barbers trattorie light suppliers lawns craftsmen epicure dogs champagne castles bare feet hotel de charme