Istria is a beautiful part of Croatia that is distinctive for the color of its soil. The red ground is the region’s unique feature, but it also hides a very important source of Croatian food delicacies- the Istrian truffle. This underground fungus is highly valued by Croatian chefs and is able to provide magnificent taste. Just a few grated slices can easily turn an ordinary dish into a first-class meal.
Truffles are not easy to find and harvest. Their collection usually involves trained dogs (or in some cases hogs). But whenever a large truffle is found, it is a reason for celebration. The specimens of considerable size are very valuable and can reach the price of up to several thousand Euros.
Pictured above is Giancarlo Zigante, one of Istria’s leading truffle experts, next to his latest find: a gigantic specimen of black truffle. The impressive fungus weights about five kilograms and will certainly achieve a high price on local market.
Giancarlo became widely known in 1999, when he found a very rare white truffle that weighted about 1300 grams. In the world of fungi, that is like catching a tuna fish of whale’s size.
If visiting Istrian Peninsula, do yourself a favor and try at least one meal with truffles being a key ingredient. It is really a dining adventure that you won’t forget. Central regions of Istria are abundant in traditional restaurants that serve such dishes. Among them, the one owned by Giancarlo is especially respected and can be visited in the village of Buje.
Don’t forget to snap a few photos of your truffle-based meal. Upload them to Croatia Times Facebook and earn a chance to become our media contributor of the day. If you have access to truffles in your country, try this recipe and have an Istrian meal under your roof.