Truffles, wild asparagus, olive oil, teran and malvazija, pomace, mistletoe and herb brandy “biska” and Istrian ox “boškarin” meat are gastronomic treasures of Istria which you must taste. Powerful, imaginative and passionate, the Istrian cuisine has created divine dishes and tastes using very few seasonal and locally grown ingredients!
The autochthonous Istrian cuisine has always been based on simplicity which respects the culinary heritage and tradition of Istria – always local, seasonal and home-made. Adapted to the season of ripening of foodstuff crops – wild asparagus, truffles and olive oil, the Istrian cuisine acquired the reputation in the world gourmet scene a long time ago. Indulge yourselves in a complete experience of tastes and aromas and start your culinary journey around Istria! Truffles, wild asparagus, prosciutto ham, Istrian ox meat, accompanied by the golden drops of olive oil and wine are waiting for you!
Boškarin, a strong and enduring Istrian ox, in history was of great importance for poor Istrian farmers. Apart from being the main help for pulling of heavy loads across rough terrains and land farming, farmers used its milk and meat for food. Today, this noble ingredient has acquired a new, gastronomic impulse, becoming the star of the Istrian gourmet. Boškarin meat can be prepared in the traditional way, in the form of a stew, served with Istrian pasta “pljukanci” or gnocchi. In recent years, however, dishes and combinations have become increasingly imaginative – you must try boškarin carpaccio, boškarin cheeks or tagliata!
They give it numerous attributes and call it by different names. All are united in one – this peculiar bulb is the peak of gastronomy. Truffles are Istrian treasure, hidden under the ground in the dense forests of the Mirna River Valley. Truffle hunters find it, helped by specially trained truffle dogs. It is an inspiration of many gourmet experiences and fits perfectly in with all dishes – salads, pasta, meat and even desserts. The fragrance of truffles proudly spreads also from Buzet, the town of truffles which, in autumn, organises numerous events in honour of truffles. This is a particular time when you can taste typical Istrian dishes with truffles, but also have a go at hunting for them.
Apart from truffles and mushrooms, Istrian forests also hide wild-growing plants – wild asparagus. Hidden in places which are not easily accessible, often surrounded by prickly bushes, wild asparagus are a symbol of health and vitality. Their pleasant, bitterish, taste is a real treat for the palate and it will bring a breath of freshness and Istrian living to every dish. All you need for picking of wild asparagus is a hawk’s eye sharp vision, patience and preparedness for a scratch or two. Each one of them will be worth it once you, after having picked them, try the Istrian scrambled eggs “fritaja” with wild asparagus.
Each Istrian dish and wine have always paired well. Interwoven with the wine tradition since the ancient times, Istria bred premium wines, which will complement the taste, making the experience complete. Malvazija, a typical Istrian sort, which, with its dominant flavour and specific aroma, ideally rounds out all seafood dishes. On the other hand, there is teran – a wine which talks about the pride of vineyards and hard farmers’ lives. Due to its deep ruby colour, it is often referred to as “black” wine in Istria. Its uniqueness and a dominant taste does not leave anybody indifferent.
In olden days in Istria, home-made Istrian brandies were made also in family households, for personal use. You can see how brandies are distilled, labelled and bottled at a former Buzet old wine cellar, which has been turned into an attractive distillery of the Aura Istrian brandies. With the traditional pomace, mistletoe and herb brandy “biska”, honey brandy “medica” and teranino liqueur, Aura also produces brandies of different wild-growing plants from the Mount Ćićarija, as well as home-made marmalades, made using old-fashioned traditional methods. Apart from being able to learn and observe the process of distillation, tasting is also compulsory of completely natural products, prepared in a different, entirely new way at the Aura distillery.
In spring, wild asparagus, in autumn, truffles, olive oil and forest mushrooms. With dishes prepared with these ingredients, in Istria one looks forward to each season of the year! You too can look forward to it at our restaurant Vela Vrata – head for a gourmet acquaintance with Istria and its gastronomic treasures!
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