My Latest Italian Food Find – Agriturismo di Ivan

My new front runner of culinary delights is "Gnocchi di polenta", a discovery we made while visiting friends in Udine.

My new front runner of Italian culinary delights is “Gnocchi di polenta”, a discovery we made while visiting friends in Udine.

Thursday, February 5.

Today we visited friends in Udine, a two-hour train ride northeast of Venice. We left behind powerful, gusty winds, rain mixed with snow, and rising waters. I was happy to be inside the warm train, speeding out-of-town until the waters receded. Little did I know that our journey north would lead to the best dish I’ve had yet here in Italy.

Our friends took us to Agriturismo di Ivan, about 20 minutes outside of Udine, deep in the countryside. This restaurant was heavily populated with locals and workmen. I felt as though I was slipping into a place largely unfrequented by tourists. In fact I felt as though I stood out quite blatantly.

Everything was rustic, and cozy. A mature fire was close by, and low, warm lighting made this a place where I wanted to linger well after the meal.

The menu was simple and incredibly inexpensive. I spied several items of interest. Our friends pointed out a specialty of the house, a gnocchi of polenta with smoked ricotta and speck (a type of ham) and insisted we try it. I shelved my usual low carb restrictions and jumped onboard. This turned out to be one of the wisest culinary decisions I’ve ever made.

I guess I was expecting typical gnocchi shapes, just made with corn flour. Instead, these gnocchi looked like little polenta “cubes” doused with shavings of the smoked ricotta and chunks of speck. I took my first bites and became speechless. I was so engrossed in this new culinary experience that my chatty left brain shut down. I just ate…and ate. I’ll be thinking about this dish for a long time, and a trip back to this area, just to partake of this polenta gnocchi, will be well worth it.

Agriturismo di Ivan, about 20 minutes outside of Udine, in Friuli Venezia Giulia

Agriturismo di Ivan, about 20 minutes outside of Udine, in Friuli Venezia Giulia

This in no way should indicate that Agriturismo di Ivan is a one-trick pony. The cheeses and prepared meats will knock your socks off. The table wines are tasty, and the other pasta dishes, secondi and contorni (particularly the spinach in butter) are delicious.

We’re back on the train to Venice and to yet another fine dining experience at a favorite restaurant there – Osteria Anice Stellato.

By |2015-11-11T11:13:52+01:00February 6th, 2015|Eating in Italy, Exploring the Veneto|6 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. Tom February 10, 2015 at 12:32 am - Reply

    I LOVE polenta. This gnocchi of polenta sounds absolutely divine. I am so jealous!

    • Jed February 12, 2015 at 1:04 pm - Reply

      Come have some with me!

  2. ann nelson February 6, 2015 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    I fell in love with Italy and especially Umbria. But i am soooo not Italian in my appearance in any way. Never once felt like a foreigner due to the graciousness of the people. Your polenta gnocchi sounds incredible.

    • Jed February 6, 2015 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      The love affair, and the discoveries keep unfolding! I hope all is well.

  3. Dorothy February 6, 2015 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed

    I love your Italy wise page and all your wonderful postings. It is making me desperate to get back to Italy. Sending you masses of the good stuff.

    Love Dorothy xx

    • Jed February 6, 2015 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      Hi Dorothy,
      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog, and if my adventures make you long for returning to Italy…well, that makes me happy! We look forward to seeing you in a few months.

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