There are few things in northwest Istria that make me longing for the fall and winter.
Young olive oil!
Only people who live among olive groves perhaps get so excited with fresh, dark green, thick, intense, extra-virgin olive oil. Northwest Istria is well known for its olive oil of the highest quality. This area is one of the northernmost regions where olive trees grow. This apparently gives a special quality to the terroir. When visiting restaurants here in late October through December, the waiter will at certain time, beside a bottle of olive oil already at the table, bring you a small jug and with a mysterious pride will let you know it’s a young olive oil. I always feel privileged at moments like this. Almost like we are part of some secret society. Privileged to live in this awesome part of the world.
White truffle in Istria is at its heights in October. There are truffle days and festivals organized from Buzet to Livade. And similar to olive oil gesture, when in restaurants you order anything that includes truffles, the waiter will almost in a whisper ask you: White truffles?. Sure he doesn’t expect you to answer anything but Yes.
Perhaps not as noble as the previous two items, manestra is for me a highlight of the winter in Istria. A staple of Istrian cuisine, nothing can comfort me better on a cold winter day than a bowl of this delicious bean soup.
Sure, it’s too cold to swim in the Adriatic later than October (respect to those who do it a year around!). Sure, Europeans barely think of Croatia in November, and believe me this shows on accommodation prices. Not only that you can get a great deal on 4 and 5-star properties in Novigrad and Umag, but more often than not, you’ll get a free wellness entrance, or a treatment, a three course meal, or a buffet dinner with a price of your room. If you want to relax, enjoy a wellness or gourmet break, and profit from excellent hotel deals, think of northwest Istria during the winter.
OK, sunsets in Istria, or in Croatia in general, are pretty all year around. But there is something about winter sunsets that makes them even prettier. Whether it’s bura, a cold north wind that makes my lips chapped, clears skies so much that we are able to see Alps although they are 100 km away, and creates the most intense red sunsets ever; or it’s clouds that create these beautiful, dramatic sunsets so many times over the fall and winter, but nothing compares to sunsets at this time of the year.
I don’t know about you, but I love this time of the year when the trees change color, and you are able to enjoy all those shades of green, yellow and red. When the region of northwest Istria was creating their slogan, In all the colors of Istria, they perhaps had a fall in mind.