The fourteenth consecutive Mushroom Days, which was held from 29th to 30th October in Brtonigla, gave many mushroom lovers and visitors the opportunity to see more than 200 kinds of exhibited mushrooms and sample specialties made with mushrooms. I was struck by the beautiful presentation of various kinds of mushroom – from edible and inedible ones to even poisonous ones.
Mycological societies from Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Serbia competed in mushroom picking, and awards were given for the largest and most beautiful mushroom. Many took part in an international mushroom stew cooking competition and the atmosphere was full of good cheer.
On Sunday, towards the end of the event, the winners were declared and various prizes were awarded. The profit gathered from food sales will go to humanitarian causes. I must admit that the entire tent where the Mushroom Days festival was being held smelled so wonderful that it was difficult to decide what to try. In the end, I decided on a plate of delicious baked mushrooms and a young local Muscat. The event also included children’s workshops, dancing and homemade local products sold at stands in front of the tent. With every event they hold, the people of Istria show that they are experts in cuisine and joyous people with lots of heart.
Sole Fish Days is an event that is held from 15th October to 30th November at restaurants and tavernas in Umag, Novigrad, Buje and Brtonigla. Sole fishing season is in autumn, and it is a fish that can be prepared in numerous ways. You can see and taste delicious, creatively presented dishes with sole at 19 locations. Sole has been popular since old times, when it was prepared for various different occasions, as witnessed by written historical sources.
Sole has a light and delicate meat, and it must be prepared with great care. Find out yourself how sole is prepared throughout northwestern Istria and experience an explosion of flavours paired with local wines. Some of the dishes you can sample are sole with truffles, sole soup, sole tartare, pljukanci pasta with sole in Istrian Malvasia sauce, sole tempura…
We had the opportunity to visit Lungomare restaurant in the beautiful town of Novigrad. At this restaurant located right on the water, as its name implies, we sampled items from their current sole-based menu. In addition to its beautiful location, the restaurant also has a warm, homey atmosphere. The lovely ambiance, especially added to by the fireplace in the middle of the restaurant, and the friendly, educated staff immediately appealed to me. Lungomare is a restaurant with extremely high standards of service, from the place settings to the presentation of their food and wines. Their thoughtful combinations of flavours and use of seasonal ingredients is especially praiseworthy.
For our appetizer, we tried marinated sole – delicate sole meat in a lovely marinade infused with fantastic flavours.
We continued with zucchini soup with sole and homemade pumpkin gnocchi with sole and sage. The flavours were exquisitely balanced.
For the main course, we had grilled sole with roasted potatoes and a fantastic, modern approach to sole – sole tempura with vegetables and soy sauce.
We ended our exceptionally delicious dinner with pears poached in red wine with vanilla cream.
The delicious courses were coupled with a 2015 Novacco Malvasia, which paired wonderfully with each dish.
Visit one of the 19 locations and see for yourself how delicious Istrian cuisine is. You have the chance to try sole until 30th November, and more interesting food festivals are on the way after that.