Recipe for a getaway: The IstraTerra top 4 culinary Istrian experiences not to be missed
Pasta with sauce, “fuži” (typical Istrian pasta) with truffles, “fritaja” (Istrian omelette) with asparagus, “bobiči” (Istrian stew made with beans, sweetcorn and meat), white or red “bakala” (dried and salted cod prepared with olive oil and garlic or tomato sauce), “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) and other Istrian delicacies. Have you tried any of these Istrian delights? Although we’ve described them to you, we worry you might get the wrong idea about them – they need to be tasted.
Today, cooking with seasonal, locally-sourced, home-grown products is a fashion trend, but for our grandparents and great-grandparents it was a necessity. If the tomato harvest was poor, pasta with homemade sauce was much better and more of a treat. The constant supply of Spanish tomatoes, Egyptian potatoes and Israeli courgettes we have today means that the added value of granny’s pasta and “bobiči” loses out to a constant lack of time and (too) fast a lifestyle. Without any hesitation at all, all of our IstraTerra team admit that we love to eat home-grown, seasonal and locally-sourced food in larger quantities than the recommended daily amount, especially granny’s minestrone and Sunday lunches. Love for everything tasty can be seen in our photos. 🙂 This is also the main reason why we carefully keep a record of all smaller and larger culinary festivals, which you simply have to visit if you are staying in our Istrian backyard when they are held.
Something of granny’s would never let us do…let’s start with dessert – this weekend the streets of Koper will be filled with Sladka Istra. The international festival of desserts and sweet products brings together tradition and modern confectionary techniques, and the opportunity to indulge in the sweet products of Slovenian Istria.
After filling our bellies with sweets in September we’re spending October at one of our favourite culinary festivals (we are all carnivores at IstraTerra and we love prosciutto) in Tinjan for the International Prosciutto Fair. On the 14th and 15th October you will discover why and how Istrian prosciutto is different from other prosciutto. The fair is not just about Istrian prosciutto; you will also be able to enjoy a good glass of wine and other Istrian specialities.
It’s not a traditional Istrian dish if it’s not accompanied by excellent Istrian olive oil. If you are in Istria in November, then don’t miss Olive Oil Days. For 3 days, Vodnjan becomes the centre and meeting point for olive oil makers, lovers of olive oil and gourmets. This festival traditionally brings together young olive oil with Istrian dishes, last year the organisers decided to show how seafood dishes can be made even tastier with Istrian “liquid gold”.
So we know what we’re going to be eating, let’s take care of the wine! Various wine fairs focused on different themes are a constant in the Istrian culinary calendar. This made it difficult for us to decide which one to tell you about. The IstraTerra ladies outnumbered the men and so we are sharing the wine tasting fair in Graćišće (traditionally held on Easter Monday). We would love to share their website with you but they don’t have one – we’re not joking! The Istrian clans are not giving in to modern technology…this supposed “Istrian stubbornness” is probably the reason why this festival is so well visited.
There are loads of more festivals we could share with you, but let’s call this our top selection that has led us towards the designing of our IstraTerra culinary experiences; we know it would almost be impossible for you to plan your holiday around our local culinary events, for some of you it’s too far for you to come for a few days every month. Tasty Wine Story, Truffle Hunting, Olive Oil Through Time, Tastes Of The Town and Around Istria With Your Wooden Spoon let you get the authentic culinary experience at any time of year.
After writing that blog, we’re all so hungry. What about you? It’s pointless sitting here without mouths watering…let’s go and discover the stories behind these stunning Istrian goodies!