There's no shortage of places to eat in this food-obsessed town and most are of a high quality. If you don't want to opt for a proper meal (though the Friulian dishes on offer are tempting) you can sample local prosciutto, cheese and trout in any wine bar or prosciutteria.
Hamming It Up
There are two world-revered prosciuttos manufactured in Italy: the lean, deliciously nutty (and more famous) ham from Parma, and the dark, exquisitely sweet Prosciutto di San Daniele. It might come as a surprise to find that the latter – Friuli Venezia Giulia's greatest culinary gift to the world – comes from a village of only 8000 people, where it is salted and cured in 27 prosciuttifici (ham-curing plants) safeguarded by EU regulations.
Standards are strict. San Daniele's prosciutto is made only from the thighs of pigs raised in a small number of northern Italian regions. Salt is the only method of preservation allowed – no freezing, chemicals or other preservatives can be used. The X factor is, of course, terroir, the land itself. Some prosciuttifici claim it's the cool, resinous Alpine air meeting the Adriatic's humid, brackish breezes that define their product, others argue that it's about San Daniele's fast-draining soil: such effective ventilation makes for perfect curing conditions.
In late June, the town holds the Aria di San Daniele, a multiday annual ham festival when prosciuttifici do mass open house tours and tastings and there's much gourmet celebrating. San Daniele's tourist office has a list of prosciuttifici that also welcome visitors year-round; call ahead to book your tasting.