In Udine, the new fine dining oasis was born from the dream of the Marini family, a symbol of Friulian hospitality with the Hotel Là di Moret, and of the chef Stefano Basello who aims to enhance the small productions of the area and its artisans, in particular those of the Carnia traditions.
Born in 2020, Ristorante 1905 encompasses almost 120 years of history within its walls since Giovanni Marini opened a small inn with shelter for horses that same year. Today it is the fourth generation with Edoardo and Federica who have taken over the “baton” from their father Franco to carry on the business, which has expanded over the years to become a renowned hotel with a wellness centre, a hospitality point of reference for the whole region.
And it was in the hotel restaurant, Al Fogolar, named after the large fireplace in the center of the room, that Stefano Basello began his apprenticeship in the 1990s, first alongside the famous chef Ettore Troian, then himself at the head, as executive chef, of a young brigade that has been able to evolve over the years, bringing traditional cuisine to a new gastronomic avant-garde that combines nature, history and taste.
Nature is so subtle and sagacious in things that she doesn’t want to be used without great art.
(Theophrast von Hohenheim, known as Paracelso)
It is from this passion shared with Edoardo Marini that during 2020 the project of Ristorante 1905 comes to life, a small world of wonders with only 20 seats where the guest is accompanied through a culinary journey of haute cuisine that becomes a “spokesperson” of the territory and its artisans, especially those at risk of disappearing.
Stefano Basello is, in fact, a “botanist” chef who, in addition to being a fine connoisseur of the best products of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, from Pitina to Varhackara up to farm cheeses, loves to play with aromatic and spontaneous herbs, lichens, berries and sprouts collected mostly at the foot of Monte Zoncolan, to give his dishes the most authentic flavors of the region.
A philosophy that is reflected in the entire creative process of his brigade and which is measured in the preference for small local suppliers and in the adaptation of the menu on a seasonal basis with the aim of minimizing waste, in an up-cycling perspective. So, even the kitchen’s waste, such as fruit and vegetables, finds new uses, becoming, for example, food for the hens raised in free-range mode which, every day, provide the restaurant with fresh eggs.
Even the beautiful interior design, coordinated by the architect Nico Vidoni Del Mestre, reflects the love for the territory: caressing the gold and green tones of the forests and pastures, the floors are a tribute to the Mosaics of Spilimbergo, while the traditional majolica stube gives a pleasant touch of home to the environment.
The mise en place and the tableware are a wonderful hymn to artistic craftsmanship: like the menu and the flowers made with oxidized metal plates by Engrave, which refers to the Carnic tradition, or the handmade wooden supports by Ermenegildo Basello, father of the chef, with whom he also shares the passion for collecting lichens and wild herbs in the woods.
The menu, which brings to mind the legends of local elders and ancient cookbooks, is divided into three tasting itineraries that tell the story of Friuli-Venezia Giulia from Carnia to the Adriatic Coast. The recipes are as creative as tasty such as the Benedetto Cavalieri spaghetti, local hazelnut cream, Çuç di Mont cheese, lichen powder and Allium Victorialis sauce, served with headphones to savor the sounds of the mountain huts that inspired the dish as well as its taste and smell.
A cuisine that speaks of respect, for nature and the territory, and is already highly appreciated in the world of haute cuisine as evidenced by the recent recognition of the Identità Golose 2023 guide and the featuring in various international magazines.
Another example of chef Basello’s extraordinary cuisine is his “bark bread”, thanks to which he has obtained various awards, which, starting from a half-century-old mother yeast, involves the use of a fraction of “flour” from the bark of spruce and white fir trees, felled in 2018 by Tempesta Vaja, in the Sappadino area.
The wine list, curated by the maître d’ and sommelier Juri Cossa, is made up, in symbiosis with the tasting menus, of labels that enhance original terroirs and small cellars and which, thinking of Friuli-Venezia Giulia as a “borderland”, also welcomes bottles from nearby Slovenia and Austria.
Ristorante 1905 is truly an experience to do at least once in your life if you really want to get to know the essence of this region, which is still mysterious and unexplored on the palate, whilst letting yourself be pampered by the Marini family. While, if you are looking for a quicker or more informal break, the nearby Al Fogolar restaurant awaits you with the same quality and solid tradition testified by the more than 600 dishes of the Buon Ricordo tradition that embellish its historic ceiling.
The name of the Marini family hotel derives from their nickname “moret” which in Friulian means dark-haired people, hence the catchphrase “let’s go to the moretti’s place”.