Culinary adventure at Bolara 60

We aim to make Bolara 60 a destination for culinary adventure, where fellow food lovers can join us in discovering, producing, harvesting, preparing, cooking, eating and generally celebrating great food. Read on for more information about food in Istria and dining and cooking at Bolara 60.

Food in Istria

One of the main reasons we chose to live and work in Istria is the food: the exceptional quality of local produce, the persistence of interesting cooking, preserving and artisan production techniques, and the intriguing mix of Italian, Austrian and Slavic influences due to the peninsula’s complex history.

Istria is known in particular for its black and white truffles, award-winning extra virgin olive oils and wines, particularly from the red teran, white malvazija and sweet muscat grapes. Istria also boasts exceptionally high quality fruit and vegetables at farmers’ markets, locally reared meat and hunted game (if you know who to ask…), fresh and diverse fish and seafood and much to find in the forest beyond truffles, including wild asparagus, wild garlic, mushrooms and juniper to flavour your wild boar stew.

Istria is also home to a number of talented charcuterie, cheese, pasta, honey and liqueur producers, among other crafts. And cooking with fire is still common in traditional style restaurants and for special occasions – think squid charred on the grill, suckling pig on the spit, bread baked under coals in the open hearth, lamb roasted in the wood-fired oven. Moreover, Istria boasts what must be a record number of food and wine festivals.

You can find out more about the history and iconic specialities of Istria’s cuisine here. And as Anna researches for her PhD she will be able to tell you about the perhaps lesser-known social, political and economic angles to food on this borderland peninsula.

Dining at Bolara 60

All the farmers, producers, chefs, cooks and foragers we have met have been extremely generous with their knowledge and inspired Anna to meld local techniques and ingredients with her own cooking style – think rustic as opposed to fussy, veg-heavy, broadly Mediterranean in inspiration, and a tendency to want to make everything from scratch, be it bread, liqueurs, sauerkraut or salami.

See examples of our Summer menus and Autumn menus.

Sharing lunch

Guests at both the Kuća and Kućica can opt to book dinners cooked by Anna (from early summer to autumn). These are not available every night – just 3 times per week – since we want you to try some of the area’s fantastic restaurants (and Anna needs some breaks). Dinners are served communally at 7.30pm. After aperitifs, guests sit together at the large outdoor stone table under the stars, on one of the terraces, or in colder months at the long oak table inside the konoba.

We only cook with the best quality ingredients (seriously – the produce is amazing) and menus are naturally seasonal. Typically we serve three courses with local wines for a price of 250kn (c.34 euro) per person (125kn for children under 12), although special menus may cost more. All dinners must be arranged in advance and are subject to Anna’s availability. We are very happy to cater for vegetarian diets but may struggle combining other special dietary requests alongside other guests. Please talk to us in advance if you have any special dietary needs.

Fig leaf wine

Culinary activities

We co-ordinate a range of seasonal cooking classes and activities. Much like the vibe of Bolara 60 in general, the style of our activities will be relaxed and collaborative, rather than formal. So come prepared to try something new, meet someone new, enjoy yourself, and perhaps learn a cooking technique or two to try again back at home. Here are some of our activities:

Preparing three-course feasts based around vegetables from our garden and other seasonal treats.

Foraging for wild asparagus in spring, or juniper berries in autumn.

Participating in our neighbours’ grape (September) and olive (October-November) harvests, if timing allows.

Making flavoured seasonal liqueurs and aperitifs such as blackthorn, green walnut, fig leaf, sour cherry, carob and rue.

Learning to cook on the outside grill, in the wood-fired oven and in the large fireplace hearth using traditional methods.

Preserving fruits and vegetables from the garden and local farmers’ market.

Learning to make gnocchi and pasta from scratch.

Guests are also most welcome to help out in the vegetable garden and orchard!

Booking culinary activities

Availability:  All culinary activities must be booked in advance and are subject to availability. In 2019 they will be available once, or at very most twice, a week from May to October. Please note all activities are highly seasonal and some weather-dependent, so not all activities are available at all times. The maximum group size is usually 6; the minimum required is 2.

Prices:  As a guide, a three hour cooking class followed by a meal costs 500kn (c.68 euro) per person. However prices may vary depending upon the nature of the activity, so please ask us for a quote when booking. Activities which are happening anyway are free, for example helping with the olive harvest, helping top up Bolara 60’s stocks of homemade liqueurs, or helping prepare a large batch of preserves.