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.

Covid-19 update:

We look forward to offering you our usual repertoire of home-cooked seasonal dishes. With hygiene and social distancing measures in place, we are able to continue offering our breakfasts (daily) and dinners (Wednesdays and Saturdays) to guests when the main house is open. During the 2020 and 2021 seasons cooking classes were unfortunately not possible as our teaching kitchen is not big enough to allow sufficient social distancing. [2022: tbc…] Occasional other types of outdoor culinary activity may be possible – let us know if you have particular interests. There is plenty of opportunity for sampling Istria’s fantastic food and drink – restaurants, wineries and olive oil producers etc are open.

Read on below to find out more about food at Bolara 60 and across Istria.

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, meat 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.

Guests at both the Kuća and Kućica can opt to book dinners cooked by Anna (from early summer to autumn, when the Kuća is open). These are available just twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday evenings, since we want you to try the area’s fantastic restaurants too. Dinners are served communally at 7.30pm. After aperitifs, guests sit at tables 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 (including many from our own vegetable garden) and menus are naturally seasonal. Typically we serve three courses with local wines for a price of 300kn (c.40 euro) per person (150kn for children under 12). All dinners must be booked at least 48 hours in advance and are subject to availability. We are very happy to cater for vegetarian diets (in fact our food is quite often vegetarian anyway) 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

Breakfast at Bolara 60

We love a good breakfast. Guests staying in the main house are invited to join our communal breakfast at 9am: pots of coffee, homemade granola and yoghurt, homemade sourdough bread and jams, seasonal fruit and one extra dish each day, for example eggs from our chickens – scrambled with truffles, poached in shakshuka or fried and served on top of spicy borlotti beans – or ripe tomatoes on toast with olive oil and basil, or maybe zingy courgette carpaccio with rocket and lemon. Guests staying in the Kućica can book into breakfast when the main house is open for 75kn (c.10 euro) per person.

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 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, quince and lemon verbena.

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 different pasta shapes from scratch.

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

Booking culinary activities

Availability: All culinary activities must be booked in advance and are subject to availability. In 2022 they will be available maximum once a week from May to October, although this is subject to Covid-19 considerations. 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: A cooking class followed by lunch costs 600kn (c.80 euro) per person. However prices may vary depending upon the nature of the activity, so please ask. 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.