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 organic 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 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.