If you are so lucky to plan an escapade to Istria, let it be a luscious extravaganza. Istria, the heart shaped peninsula, is a place where continental Croatia meets the Adriatic sea. Exquisite Istrian cuisine is based on various fruits of the earth and sea. Many of the signature dishes are enriched with herbs, wine vinegar and olive oil, making these foods not only tasting fabulous but also nutritionally invigorating. Trying these will simply melt your heart and make you want to stay forever.
1. Istrian prosciutto – unique dry-cured ham delicacy
Strict traditional method, combined with ideal climatic conditions, provides specific taste of Istrian prosciutto. This particular aroma has protected geographical status. Apart from numerous technical details, its most prominent feature is that it is not smoked, only dry-cured and treated with sea salt or seasoned with some additional natural spices such as pepper, bay leaves, rosemary and garlic.
2. Istrian truffles – the culinary winner
Culinary winner of the north – western Istria was discovered only 80 years ago in the Motovun Forest. Popular belief in its aphrodisiacal effect makes them even harder to resist. Immediately after harvesting, the fresh truffle is either directly used as a food ingredient, or it is being processed in order to produce high quality products such as a variety of spreads, cheeses, oils, sweets, etc.
3. Biska – magical powers brandy
Authentic Istrian brandy with a divine purpose – an excellent prelude to the Istrian specialties. It’s made of grape brandy called komovica, mistletoe and several types of herbs. The most famous Biska comes from Hum, place also known as the smallest town in the world. There is something mysterious in the story of Biska because of its use in the Celts’ druid magic. They resided in this area about 2,000 years ago.
4. Fuzi – heavenly handmade pasta
Fuzi is a traditional Istrian pasta made strictly from quality and fresh local ingredients. There is an ongoing love story between fuzi and truffles and they are often seen together on a plate. They pair oh so well. Fuzi are sometimes served with a mild red, veal sauce, which is usually made out of onions, tomato paste, white wine and broth.
5. Sponge fingers figs – sweet and endlessly unforgettable
If you have a sweet tooth, Istria is a place to be. Almost every local tavern will have something to suit you. Traditional Istrian dessert with sponge finger biscuits, cream, figs and a dash of rum will sweep you of your feet. Don’t say we didn’t tell you so.
Photo Credit: (1) Erik (Flickr), (2) Damir Fabijanic (Croatia Tourist Board), (3) Damir Fabijanic (Croatia Tourist Board), (4) Istra.net, (5) Festival Paste, (6) Anika (Flickr)