Mase’ is the ubiquitous deli or “salumeria” of Trieste, specializing in Triestine delicacies.
The stores are stocked with a variety of products from; dry goods like pasta and grains to wines and sausages, cheeses and precooked dishes and, of course, the assortment of “salumi” featuring the “Cotto Triestino”.
Mase’ was created by two brothers who moved to Trieste from Trentino in the late 1800s. The Mase’ website credits Bohemian housekeepers for introducing the Triestine people to traditional culinary delicacies from their homeland in Eastern Europe like sausages, roasted, smoked and cured meats and wurstels (various types of boiling sausages). Others say that the Austrian court brought many of these dishes to Trieste. Either way, taking their cue from the culinary traditions surrounding them, the Mase’ brothers knew that they could cash in on this trend and so they launched their business in 1890.
If you are looking grab a panino to go, or stock up on some staples, then Mase’ is a good place to stop. A few of their shops also have a dining area like the one in Via San Nicolo’.
If you’d like to sample a few Triestine staples, then this is your one-stop-shopping spot.
Cotto Trieste con Osso in Crosta – This is the Triestine favorite. It is a bone-in ham wrapped and cooked in bread dough. It is served with fresh horseradish grated on top and mustard and bread on the side. You cannot mess with this – no other sauces or glazes allowed — it is tradition and it must be eaten this way. You can order a whole one with the necessary apparatus (the cutting vice) for parties.
Liptauer – Arriving from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, this is a spicy cheese spread usually made with sheep’s milk cheese “bryndza” (similar to ricotta but with a tangy fermented flavor and a strong scent) or sheep’s milk ricotta if you want it more mild. It is then mixed with either a soft gorgonzola or sour cream, paprika and salt. Added ingredients a be Worcestershire sauce, fresh parsley, capers, but in Trieste they usually it is kept basic.
Strucolo – This is a sort of strudel (can be sweet or savory) made with a dough of egg, butter, flour and water. It is rolled out, filled, rolled up and sealed in a clean dishcloth and boiled for 40 minutes. The dish originates from Istria where its original name is “štruklji” (strooklee). Not to be confused with another Triestine favorite, Strucolo de Pomi (apple strudel) which is baked.
Gnocchi di Susine – Also a dish inherited from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, these are potato gnocchi filled with damson plums, cinnamon and sugar. They are boiled and then sprinkled with buttery toasted breadcrumbs. Some restaurants serve them as a dessert, while others serve them as a “pasta” dish with a brown butter sauce.
Chifeletti di Patate – the same potato gnocchi dough is used here but it is rolled and cut and shaped like little horseshoes then fried. They too can be served either sweet with sprinkled sugar or savory and served with meat dishes.
Sardoni in Savor – These last two are as much a standard in Trieste as the Cotto in Crosta. You cannot mess with the recipe. Sardoni are anchovies (not Sardines) that are floured, fried and then marinated overnight in a covered dish with sliced onion that was cooked in olive oil, wine, vinegar and topped with fresh bay leaves .
Sardoni Fritti – Fried Anchovies flour, eggs, breadcrumbs – plain and simple.
Make sure you pick up a nice bottle of Friulano (a local white wine) with which to wash it all down!