Food and Drink in Istria
Istria, a marvellous mediterranean peninsula surrounded by crystal-clear sea, is well known for its tourist amenities along the coast and its lush green interior, with countless cultural-historic sights and unforgettable natural panoramas from hilltop villages.
It is also a treasure trove of gastronomic delights. Istrian gastronomy reflects the historical, geographical and climatic features of the Peninsula, and combines various traditions of local cuisine based on indigenous plants, aromatic spices,
seasonal vegetables, seafood, and olive oil.
Look behind the smile of your Istrian host and you’ll find an open invitation to discover and taste the true characteristics of this blue-green paradise, products of diligent work and a natural environment that attracts you with its beauty and living history, seen in every stone and field. Once you are here, new vistas open up before you, your senses intensify and the tensions of the outside world disappear, replaced by new experiences and friendships to share and treasure.
Many dishes originated from the famine today are experiencing their reawakening. Thus the onetime alimentation of the fishermen and the peasants nowadays is considered congruent to the principles of the most modern nutritionist’s trends. An alimentation rich of (prevalently blue) fish, with the prevalence of boiled, rather then baked dishes, abundance of fruit and vegetables, self grown plants, the use of olive oil and a moderate consumption of (mostly red) wine – are the main peculiarities of the Mediterranean cuisine, otherwise of a trendy movement: the Mediterranean way of life (the Mediterranean diet).
Numerous gastronomic events dedicated to the local aliments are organized and days dedicated to the various typical istrian products are held: truffles, mushrooms, cheese and honey, sausages and ombolo (pork thick neck), snails, pilchards, asparagus, chestnuts etc. Numerous taverns (konobas) have been opened where dishes are prepared in traditional ways: by the fire-place and under the baking lid. Exclusive restaurants with ever more and more specialized offer are sprouting out.
The Gastronomic guide of Istria is regularly published starting from 1996 with a list of the best restaurants and taverns (konobas) in Istria, upon the rating of an independent commission. The attractiveness of the istrian gastronomy was further enhanced consequently to the protection of the dried istrian ham as an autochthon product, as well as by the popularization of the other istrian gastronomic icons: the white truffle (Tuber Magnatum Pico), the scampi coming from the Kvarner bay, the cheese, the honey and the olive oil in particular.
text: Istria gourmet