Traditional Istrian souvenirs include the symbols of Istria, things that the region itself is proud of: small stone sculptures of kažun, a field house made from flat stones where goat and sheep shepherds would take shelter during storms, as well as various figurines of the Istrian cow – a calm and obedient animal that has helped the locals farm the land for centuries. These are souvenirs of the past, remembrances of a time when life was hard. From this past Istria grew into the leading tourist region in Croatia, first and foremost due to the hard work of the Istrian people. So, if there isn’t much room in your luggage, but you still want to take a memento of a pleasant time spent in this magical region, a small stone kažun or a cow figurine is the right choice for you.
When it comes to gifts for someone dear to my heart, I prefer getting something that carries the scents and tastes of the region as a souvenir. The aroma and the taste of superb wine, olive oil, prosciutto, cheese and truffles are the Istrian present. If you have a large suitcase, be sure to fill it with quality wine, first and foremost the local Teran and Malvasia, extra virgin olive oil, prosciutto or even tartufata – the truffle paste that is also an aphrodisiac. Also, bottles of local brandies, especially biska (mistletoe grappa) and medica (honey grappa), will certainly be a well received gift.
Of late, it has also become possible to give an impression of the Mediterranean with natural cosmetics so you won’t go wrong with choosing natural soaps or oils from local lavender makers. Take some of it with you and give a gift to someone dear to you that is more than just a souvenir: the spirit of Istria, captured in a bottle of tasty, aromatic essence.