Getting to know springtime Istria while basking in the sun
A few days ago, we extended our lunch break. In those few sunny days at the beginning of March, we simply needed coffee in Koper town square, catching the sun, looking at the renovated Tito square and the hustle and bustle of Čevljarska ulica. After the grey, rainy, snowy and gale-force wind filled days that was the end of February, the entire IstraTerra team needed a little time in the spring sun.
A group of middle-aged Americans were sat at the table next to us – four couples who had arrived in Koper on this year’s first large cruise ship. They had two more hours to kill, followed by the question of where to lunch. We obviously had to butt in. J Can you imagine how our eyes lit up? They couldn’t have found a better group of locaks to ask for advice even if they had tried! There were so many suggestions that they could have been here for another week …
1. Wild asparagus
We’ve already tried this year’s crop recently! Fritaja (Istrian omelette) with wild asparagus was a typical spring culinary delight of our nona (granny), sometimes they put the asparagus in risotto or minestrone, that our stomachs were full and added something sweet – fritola (common sweet street food in Istria – similar to a doughnut but without a hole in the middle ;)), hroštole (a very common Istrian sweet – fried crunchy pastry coated in sugar) or some delicious spring pie. With local seasonal ingredients, we can take you Around Istria with a wooden spoon. In the traditional Istrian environment we always prepare typical Istrian meals by following our nona’s recipes.
2. Mmmm … homemade lunch
In Koper, there are places where you can enjoy delicious home-made chocolate, local beer and wine, Istrian prosciutto, homemade pasta and homemade ice cream. When you put all of this together, what do you get? A delicious lunch! The lunch will be seasoned with the herbal salt from the unique Sečovlje saltpans, the northernmost operational salt-pans on the Adriatic. Tastes of the town is a unique way of getting to know the history of Istria.
3. Picnic in the olive groves
The olive pruning has already begun, and spring is vibrant in the olive groves! Not only the olive trees, but also the birds, ladybirds, bees and other inhabitants. Together we can jump back to the 19th century, you will meet Tona and her torkla (olive mill), modern techniques of cultivation and processing of oil and olives. We will try different sorts and tastes of oil, stuffed olives, spreads and chocolates … In the picnic basket we will add some slice of prosciutto and a bottle of excellent wine. In the heart of Slovenian olive country, you will be able to get to know Olive oil through time, relax, enjoy the view and feel the tranquility of the Istrian hinterland.
4. Hidden Istrian nooks and natural beauty
What would you expect if we invited you to »Istrian ears«? The green shelter of the Dragonja River, the tranquility of the salt-pans and the untouched Škocjan-Zatok are just some of the natural pearls of our Istrian backyard. Tell us your wishes and we will create you a story. It can be more delicious, more active or more instructive, with more or less adrenaline, above or below the sea level … while discovering the natural beauties, we will make sure that you feel, taste and experience Istria with a customised trip.
These are the four suggestions we gave our new American friends. They hungrily chose the second option, and once full, added that they would be back for sure – for more than the four hours their ship aloowed them. This, because of incredible flavours, local ingredients and Istrian honesty.