Bounty of the sea
The Novigrad Scallops
Scallops, locally known as kapešante, are one of the most famous delicacies of Novigrad. The secret lies in the seashells themselves rather than in any local recipe: scallops thrive in the Adriatic Sea mixed with the fresh water of the river Mirn. This gives all local scallop dishes a special taste and I adore it in the simple recipe of kapeštante with cheese!
Adriatic squids are specific in taste and texture and their most bountiful days are winter ones. Northwestern Istria celebrates them with The Days of Squids, a gourmet winter event marked by special menus in the restaurants of Umag, Novigrad, Buje and Brtonigla.
Švoj or Grilled Sol
White fish from the Adriatic is the most tasty in the world. The way to simply prepare sole, or švoj, as the locals say, is just to just grill it, with some olive oil, garlic and parsley. Simplicity adds exquisite taste to this dish that will win you over.
The Istrian brodet – a thick, luscious fish stew made from scorpion fish, conger, angler, which are boiled alongside two or three cuttle-fish or squids, a shrimp or two, and a crab – is deservedly famous. Adding some Istrian olive oil and Istrian white wine into it creates a rhapsody of taste you will never forget.
For the true gourmand
The subterranean fungi are a special delicacy all over the world are especially so in Istria, the home of both the white and the black truffle. There are many traditional ways of making truffles here – in an omelette, ground on a steak or with venison – but I love them the most with Istrian fuži.
Boškarin and pljukanci
The Istrian cow with long horns and white & grey hide is a true gourmet delicacy. It is either served with sauce and traditional Istrian pasta, called pljukanci, or prepared as a steak. I was swept off my feet by the boškarin carpaccio n Umag.
Istrian goat cheese, alongside the famous Istrian prosciutto dried in the bora wind and the Istrian bacon, is one the ingredients of the famed Istrian traditional appetizer dish. It derives its special taste from the mik produced by the local breed of sheep.
A special delicacy elsewhere, the asparagus is a daily dish in Istria, an omelette with wild asparagus is a often seen spring meal at the Istrian table. And it is irresistible. Asparagus with local pasta called fuži is eaten just as often, and there are cream soups as well, in addition to creative recipes that combine asparagus with meat or fish. Unusual desserts, such as an asparagus semifreddo, complete this mouthwatering list.
Exquisite traditional tastes
A stew made of beans, potatoes and dried meat sounds simple, but the richness of taste that you will spend years trying to recreate at home is a real culinary delight that will keep you coming back to the small Istrian taverns forever and ever.
The traditional energy drink of the Istrian peasant is one of the most popular delicacies of the peninsula. It is drunk from a special dish called bokaleta, in which it is also made by mixing sugar, pepper, oil and warmed wine. A grilled piece of bread is dunked halfway into the mixture and the Istrian soup is ready to serve!
Fennel is another spring plant that has inspired Istrian cuisine. Boiled with pig tongue, potatos and beans, fennel enriches the Istrian vegetable stew that is a maneštra with a very special and specific, a bit bittery, taste.
This scrumptious winter maneštra used to be the first line of defense from the cold and the illnesses it brought. Today, it is one of the most popular sauerkraut dishes.