It’s wine region, they said.
Very quickly I realized it was.
The epiphany: they must have more winemaking regions in southern Europe because they drink more wine.
Only the finest of beverages to be paired with Istrian delicacies. Who knew Istria, formerly an Italian province and now a region in Croatia, is a gastronomical playground?
So every day, six friends bonded over breaking bread. We rejoiced over the simplest, most intimate experiences you can share: eating, drinking, and good conversation (not pictured: Taylor Michael Burk who along withmyself took photos of our culinary experiences).
In Southern Europe, particularly in Istria, a long lunch or late dinner is cultural. We take our time and talk everything from business strategy to break-ups, over a cool glass of Sauvignon and spoonfuls of gelato.
After guiltless pleasures and great company, I invite you to come to Istria with an empty stomach and an open heart.
1. It is known for award-winning olive oil and bread.
I’m not kidding. There are olive oil tastings and locally produced extra virgin olive oil that will put anything purchased at Costco to shame.
Let the oil merge with a balsamic vinaigrette over an organic salad or copious amounts of fluffy, fresh bread.
2. Meat eaters rejoice.
So you like veal? Try it with a gnocchi pasta. Would a sauced steak suit you? Brick roasted will engage all of your senses. How about cold cut salamis and sausages?
Istria is the expert. Indulge in your favorite carnivorous cuisine, locally farmed.
4. Local fish and seafood.
Opt for fresh fish — and by fresh, I mean that if they’re out of fish, they’re out. No frozen back ups for you.
The calamari, octopus salads, and shrimp are popular too.
4. That cheese. Brie cheese. Mozzarella Cheese. Paski Cheese. Cold Cheese. Melted Cheese. Cheese to make you cheese.
Served as an appetizer with melon or as a dessert with jam, you can also delight in deliciously cheesy homemade pastas.
You could literally have a four course meal where each dish includes a different variation of cheese.
4. Guiltless Pastries, Gelato, and Desserts.
When dessert tastes that good, you reconsider splitting it and don’t even feel guilty.
Shameless gluttony. Don’t feel bad for having at least one bite.
5. Local wine and craft beers.
Did I mention Istrians’ love for wine? Try a midday spritz white wine mixed with cucumber, mint, lemon, and sparking water. Wrap up your evening with a red at the light house, have a brew along the water taxi, or pair your perfectly seasoned fish and vegetables with a chilled Chardonnay.
Before you know it, you too will be giggling with new friends and old.
6. Mushrooms, or “Truffles”
Known as Istria’s gold, truffles in Istria hold a Guinness World Record. Whether paired with pasta or a chocolate mousse, they are guaranteed to be an option on your menu.
My fave was, of course, the risotto with the local award-winning truffles.
8. Gnnochi. Actually, Pastas in General
Formerly a part of Italy, Istria’s strong Italian influence isn’t just cultural and in architecture. Their gastronomy reaps all of the benefits of the worldwide recognized ravioli, tortellini, and lasagna. Istrian pastas are fresh with unique twists. Enjoy!
9. Olives in General
They’re not just for homemade olive oil. Green or black — have them with that famous Istrian wine.
10. The Views
The only thing better than your meal are Istria’s views and the people you meet. From beach side to countryside, Istria is so beautiful. Thank you for filling our stomachs and souls with a spoonful of happiness.
Recommended Restaurants (Pictured)
Guided Tour of Olive Oil tasting: Meloto
Bursic, Istrian Prosciutto
Secondly, our new friends Rocio, Milan, and Iva for being so much fun.
And of course, thank you Istria’s Board of Tourism for working with us. I had no idea it would be so fun!
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