THE GUBANA OF GORIZIA

03/12/2019

So of the billiards in Gorizia writes his friend Kevin Cucit on Gorizia3.0, to demonstrate the inattention of the Gorizians to the treasures of our city and we increase the dose: we could add a thousand other cases to demonstrate a certain vocation to euthanasia. I highlight this story of the Gubana of our house, that the Gorizians themselves no longer know what it is, so much to confuse it with the Presnitz of Trieste, which would be a bit like comparing the Rose of Gorizia to any salad. And yet this exquisite product of ours deserved illustrious writings, among which I remember those of a person I, unfortunately, did not know: Lella Au Fiore, one of those women from Gorizia who would have given an arm for their city. So let's start, assuming that our intent is not to produce boring treatises but to arrive at a list of typical products of Gorizia, to make - as suggested by friends of Gorizia3.0 - a brand, a logo that enhances our food and wine tourism.

It is, between the Gorizia Gubana and the Natisone Valleys, a war never declared and unfortunately for us already won by those who cultivate a healthy parochialism, that is Cividale. A war fought to the sound of publications and historical studies that so far have not yet reached the final answer to the question: what is the real Gubana? Let's say that the two sweets have some superficial similarities in the rolled shape, but they are very different especially in the filling, in the dough, in the taste: in the Gubana Goriziana triumphs the compact and fragrant filling, made with chopped walnuts, almonds, sultanas, cedar, pine nuts, cinnamon, cloves; the dough is used to keep it together, it is a very thin sheet rich in butter and eggs. That of the Valleys is lighter and the dough, leavened, is much thicker.

Very similar to the filling, to which in the Valleys, to the ingredients already mentioned, are added macaroons and crumbled dry biscuits, caramelized walnut. Both are delicious. The one from Gorizia has become more aristocratic and Central European, a demanding dessert after dinner. The one from the Valleys is also ideal to accompany coffee, milk or breakfast tea. Which is the real Gubana? We anticipate that in case of conflict, the Gubana of Gorizia would be destined to succumb to the enemy's overwhelming power, since the Gubana of the Valleys is now an industrial product, with a production of six zeros, also distributed in the motorway service stations. Some attempts to promote the spread of Gorizia's sweet Gubana have been frustrated by the typically Central European understatement of the inhabitants of that city.

Moreover, the Friulians have begun to historicize their exquisite speciality for over a century by first recognizing the Slavic origin of the name "Gubana". "Guba", in fact, in Slavic language means fold and for centuries the people of the Natisone Valleys have called it "Gubanza". A poor cake, certainly and even in this different from the more aristocratic one you can taste in Gorizia: among the many legends of the Natisone Valleys, there is one that tells of a poor mother who, having very little in her pantry to sweeten the Christmas party, invented a cake with what she had: flour, eggs, nuts and honey. But there are much more illustrious documents of origin: in 1409 the Gubana appeared among the more than seventy foods that the Municipality of Cividale wanted to offer to Pope Gregory XII; and it is also mentioned in a contract of 1576, which states that with the gifts that were offered to the owners of the land along with the rents in money there was also the Gubana, which was valued at the rather high price of "one lira of twenty money", for those times a substantial amount. In short, the Gubana delle Valli has its cards in order and in the years after the war some bakers began to intensify production and in 1973 the "Consorzio per la Tutela della Gubana delle Valli del Natisone" was founded. The business was booming, the ducal city also entered the business and in 1990 it took the name "Consorzio per la Tutela della Gubana di Cividale e delle Valli del Natisone".

A completely different story for the Gubana of Gorizia, a city that mistakenly shuns what it considers marginal themes, such as food and wine. Luckily, in her bosom, there are voluptuous geniuses, like the incomparable and already mentioned Lella Au Fiore, who was historically the Muse of the Gorizia's Gubana. She has dedicated a book to the Gubana in which it is testified that the first mention of the Gubana in Gorizia dates back to 1714 and is linked to a tragic fact that has gone down in history as the "Tolminotti revolt", Slavic-speaking peasants who had rebelled against the continuous imposition of gabelle by the Goritian comical authorities.

The public execution of some unfortunate people brought to an end this stormy period that had broken the Arcadian propensity of the Gorizians to the good life, and that they celebrated also by inventing a very naive song, which among its stanzas also said: "Vin Tripuzzis di Chiauret e Gubanis cu'l savor". In short, the Gubana was also eaten in Gorizia, probably from time immemorial, but the next track dates back to 1860, when this Zandonati, from Aquileia, recognized that an aunt of the Au Fiore "...knows how to compose Easter Pincers (read Gubane) which is not the same in Udine...".

The Au Fiore hypothesizes that the name Gubana derives from the Hungarian "Skubanki", which means to crumble, but sincerely the Slavic origin seems more plausible. In Gorizia, about the Gubana there was a sort of culinary individualism that the Au Fiore synthesizes as follows: "... my grandmother used to say with a Veneto term, that to prepare a good Gubana you have to have the Soramanego", that is that magic touch that every good cook must have to make even the simplest dish superb. We could conclude that Gorizia's Gubana is an individual and almost artistic product in its inexhaustible variety. That of the Valleys, simpler and "poorer", is a product that is much more suitable to have wide diffusion, also thanks to the inexhaustible Friulian dynamism.



Antonio Devetag - Gorizia3.0