The traditional cuisine and delicacies of this region are truly a feast for the palate, and true gourmands are sure to appreciate the wide variety of its offer – from meat, mushrooms and wine to asparagus, shellfish and spices. The arrival of fall in Northwest Istria brings great joy to both the locals and their guests due to the grape and olive harvests, as well as the truffle hunt that is accompanied by numerous parties and guaranteed fun in restaurants and taverns. The following tastes, smells and forms of entertainment ought to be particularly highlighted as true autumnal cuisine sensations:
1. Grape harvest, tour of wine trails and wine parties featuring the tasting of wines by renowned Istrian winemakers
During early fall, you can find parties connected with wine and the grape harvest most anywhere, and the best-known and merriest of them all is the party in Buje. A famous wine trail with many wineries where you can taste all sorts of wines stretches through this hilly region, but one experience you should by no means deny yourself is tasting the most popular variety in Northwest Istria – the Istrian malvasia.
2. Truffle hunting and tasting culinary variations on the theme of truffles
The truffle is the main star of culinary festivals worldwide, and its native home is in the forests of Northwest Istria. Though unsightly by appearance, this mushroom is bound to leave any gourmand speechless upon tasting, regardless of whether it is used directly as an ingredient in a meal or as part of a processed product such as spreads, salamis and oils.
3. Olive harvest and home-made olive oils
The olive oil trails of this region are a path that you should most definitely walk. Numerous legends dating back to the Roman Empire will lead you to globally renowned and acclaimed olive farmers that will make you believe that dipping home-made bread into these magical, golden droplets might truly add a few years to your life.
4. Carpaccio and other meals made from “boškarin” cattle
The boškarin is a traditional Istrian breed of cattle of a white-grey colour that was, in the past, used as help in the fields and as food for the poor. Today, it has become a tourist attraction and a culinary hit all over Croatia, though it is always bred in the region of Istria. Boškarin cattle is prepared and served in many different ways, but boškarin carpaccio is a meal that is bound to make you want to eat it on an everyday basis –as the starter to every single dish.
5. Home-made “pljukanci” pasta with truffles and/or “boškarin”, olive oil and Istrian wine
After trying this traditional Istrian pasta in one of the taverns of the region, you are bound to ask for the recipe – luckily, it is easy to make and you can prepare it in the comfort of your own kitchen. While you’re in Istria, we recommend you try it in combination with all of the aforementioned – boškarin, truffles and a few drops of olive oil on your plate, together with a few drops (or more!) of Istrian wine in your glass.