The festival that celebrates the delicious fruit so tasty and versatile that it has become an indispensable part of the Mediterranean as well as Istrian cuisine, disguising itself as a vegetable, takes place in Umag at the end of July. Why July? Because that is the season for tomatoes in Istria! To everyone’s surprise, my favorite tomato dish was always the ordinary tomato soup, but it was precisely Tomato Days that taught me about the new tomato culinary combinations that I now so enjoy. This is the only gastronomic event of its kind in all of Croatia, and along with excellent food, it is also accompanied by a fantastic program of events, great music, and the pageant for the greatest miss tomato!
Karigador Fish Fest
Fresh barbecued fish is a popular delicacy in the summertime, but after a whole day of swimming, it is not easy to muster the strength to prepare a barbecue. In Istria, however, this doesn’t pose much of a problem problem! Live music, Istrian wine and delicious fish specialties are the perfect ingredients for a Mediterranean summer party which will blow you off your feet. My recommendation is, don’t miss out on my favorite: the fantastically prepared pilchards!
In the summer the world revolves around food and music, and this famous gourmet festival combines these exact two elements: local music and traditional cuisine at a special price. I am always drawn to the scallops (which I just cannot resist), but this edition of the Gnam-Gnam Festival is particularly dear to me because it will present food from all of the Adriatic and its gourmet riches that everyone should try; if nothing else, to see for themselves how fish from other parts of the Adriatic goes with the famous local wines!
St. Roch’s Feast
The feast that celebrates the patron saint of Brtonigla is the best opportunity to taste the excellent local cuisine! During the feast, typical Istrian dishes from the region will tempt you not only from the local taverns, but also from the colorful stalls in the street, where in addition to delicacies, you can also find traditional Istrian handcrafts. The children’s corner called Roccoland, where the children can be entertained while the parents savor a glass or two, is also named after the saint.
St. Pelagius Celebration
Novigrad is full of events in the summer, but the celebration of the town patron saint, St. Pelagius, brings a number of attractive events among which a special place belongs to the folk games. The celebration begins during the week and culminates at the weekend, when the number of attractions, including games, competitions and concerts, is the biggest and most varied. Although I have never been too good at the popular local game of “kukanje”, that has never stopped me from enjoying it anyway!
The Holiday of Grapes
All of Istria is famous for its wines, especially its northwest region. The countryside, covered in fertile fields and vineyards with a long tradition of wine-growing never skips a beat when it comes to festivities organized at the end of the summer to celebrate the fruits of the land. Buje long ago turned its celebration of the start of the grape-harvesting season into a famous festivity with an extremely wide range of events, including in particular the demonstration of the production of the local wine “mištel” according to the old Buje recipe which requires girls to crush the grapes by stepping on them. There is something magical in grapes exploding under one’s feet. It is an unusual experience that I would warmly recommend.