Croatia…to most people the name of this country will conjure up images of kilometres of beautiful coastline, brilliant beaches and bays, and sparkling azure water – the perfect place to go for a beach holiday. But lovely Croatia is not just about beaches and the ocean, and visitors will be delighted to discover that Croatia, and the Istria Peninsula in particular, is also home to a particularly good history of gastronomy. Istria is most famous for the wonderful truffles that come from the Motovun forests, but there is still more…! The region is also a producer of excellent Olive Oil and several Istrian wines that are starting to make a name for themselves in the international marketplace. Add to these the other elements of this very healthy Mediterranean diet, such as air-dried Istrian prosciutto (cured ham) and the enormous variety of seafood which is readily available all along the coast, and you have all the elements of a feast!
Truffles: In Istria, the truffle (tartufi) is king! In fact, the very largest truffle ever found in the world came from this region and weighed over 1.3kg! The most sought-after truffle is the more elusive white truffle, but both white and black truffles are eagerly “hunted” from late summer to early winter, using specially trained sniffer dogs or pigs to indicate where these gems are hiding beneath the soil in the Motovun forests. To learn all there is to know about truffles and to taste some of the best truffle dishes, you should try to visit Istria when one of the truffle festivals is on, usually during October and November.
Olive Oil: Istrian Olive Oil has been produced in the region for hundreds of years, since Roman times, and has a delightful delicate flavour, making it especially suitable to add to other Mediterranean foods to enhance, rather than over-power. Beautiful Olive Oils are produced all over Istria, but predominantly in the north western parts, and the best way to find your particular favourite oil would be to go on an Olive-Oil tasting tour.
Wine: What would good food be like without a good wine to accompany it? Luckily, in Istria you need not worry, as there is plenty of great wine to enjoy with your food. Wine has also been produced in Istria for centuries, since the Romans began the tradition. Recently wine-producing methods have been modernized and Istrian wines are ready to make their mark internationally. It is believed that the unique soil found in Istria is responsible for the quality of the delicious Malvazija Whites and rich Teran Reds produced here. The best way to find your personal favourites is to get onto the wine-roads and taste, taste, taste!
Grilled meats and fishes.
Once you are in Istria you will soon discover that the dishes are mostly cooked according the Mediterranean tradition that demands for grilling. Huge fireplaces with spit roast facility are very common in Croatia. In fact along busy road it is not uncommon to see the grilling of whole pigs that will be served at the nearby restaurant. But the grill is not reserved for meat you can eat BBQ ordada (sea bream), and sardelle (sardines), and as the Croatian will say: Adriatic fish is the best. Enjoy.
Some Traditional Istrian Dishes to Try:
Before you leave you have to try some of the delicious specialities of the region: Beautiful Prsut ( Istrian air-dried prosciutto) is often served thinly sliced with some of the very traditional local sheep cheese as a starter…just wonderful accompanied by a glass of Malvazija. One of the most popular ways of enjoying the fabulous truffles is to grate some fresh truffle over eggs, Pasta or a grilled steak; the latter should be teamed with a glass of Teran, for a true taste of Istria. Also very popular is fresh shell fish of all descriptions and calamari. All of these are often combined in a seafood stew or added to a risotto – famous black risotto includes squid- ink and is a delicious speciality. Enjoy with a fruity Malvazija. Salute!
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The tour of the Parmesan Reggiano cheese dairy, Balsamic Vinegar farm, the Parma ham and lunch at the organic vineyard was thoroughly enjoyed by our family of 4. Paolo was a gracious and knowledgeable host for the day and provided us with insights to the production of the cheese and balsamic vinegar which was enhanced due to his chemistry background. We would thoroughly recommend this tour to those interested in the specialities produced in the Modena region.
We had a wonderful tour, best part about visiting the Modena region!
The tour was perfect. I think Paolo would be a splendid ambassador for Italy in the EU. He knows how excellent Italian food and eating together can solve many major problems, and can stop aggressive behavior. Not the hunt for more money, but the well being of family and friends counts. Paolo shows us the products of ages of civilization and he did this like an artist. So after the tour we really love Italia more and we'll come back. We will call you Paolo, Thanks!
Following two tours with your guides this week I would like to express my thanks for some wonderful experiences.
Monday we did the tour of cheese making, balsamic and Salami which was very good and the guide Paolo was very knowledgeable.
The truffle hunt tour today was absolutely amazing, the guide Stefano is pure gold and the tour was built with much thought. Our best experience so far, by far.
Looking forward to more tours and fun next time we are in Italy.
The group (and me) was VERY satisfied. We really enjoyed the Parmegiano Regiano which was interesting and we got to buy some delicate and cheap cheese, the same with the balsamico. The Ferrari driving was off course an experience for life. The Winery lunch felt very genuine and the people there was really welcoming and nice people. The genuine feeling there was however the big plus for us.
Paolo was excellent as our guide. He also felt very genuine. He did not talk just for the sake of talking, but when he had something to say he did it in a respectful and nice way. Everyone in the group really liked him.
I wanted to let you know what a great day we had this past Friday on our tour with Jacamo. (Probably not spelling it right) He was very nice and explained everything to us. It sure gives you a new appreciation when you are slicing cheese. 🙂 Our tour ended with him taking us to the vineyard for a tour and lunch and there, Paolo, the owner could not have been more nicer. It was a perfect ending.
Please let Jacamo know what a great job he did and how much we really appreciated it and his knowledge
The website is well structured and we received a prompt answer to all questions. Gabriele supported us with all information we needed and the organization before the trip was excellent.
We had an air conditioned van, which was very relaxing through the whole tour. The first stop was the parmigiano production, which was very impressive and interesting. We could learn and especially see all the different steps and even taste the various aged parmigiano. The second step was the balsamic vinegar tasting. Finally the meat part was interesting in the museum but we hoped that we also could see more about the production and their work, but the tasting was delicious. In overall we had a very informative and well accommodated half day with our guide
It was great experience! We visited Parmesan cheese production, Balsamic vinegar farm, Ham museum and Farmer's lunch. Our guide gave us a detailed explanation, we were very satisfied. An excellent tour for a reasonable price, highly recommended.
Nous sommes une famille de cinq et nous avons adoré notre expérience. Les trois endroits étaient choisis judicieusement. Notre guide était très généreuse et super gentille. Nous recommandons ce tour ( parmesan, vinaigre balsamique et jambon de parme).
My family felt our first trip to Italy must include a tour of a Parmesan Cheese Factory so when I stumbled on this website several months ago I had no idea what I treasure I found! From the moment I submitted a request for the tour, my experience with Emilia Delizia was first rate. Gabriele provided excellent customer service by patiently answering all my questions to guide me through the selection and reservation of our Foodie Delight Tour. Paolo, our driver, was prompt, cordial and knowledgeable about the processes we were observing and the area in general conveying loads of information with his well-developed English speaking skills. Our stop in Modena fell on a Saturday so we were quite fortunate to end up with a private tour which allowed us to have a nice, personal interaction with the people at each site. Everyone was friendly, generous with the tastings and we never felt rushed to move along to the next location. Now that we have returned to the states, my family agrees this tour was a highlight of our 10 day trip. I was really looking forward to this excursion and am glad to report it exceeded my expectations.