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, 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 works on 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 sausages.

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.

(On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings we offer snack boards, featuring our homemade crackers, pickles, dips and locally made cheeses and charcuterie.)

We only cook with the best quality ingredients (including many from our own vegetable garden) and dinner menus are naturally seasonal. After enjoying an aperitif or two together, we typically serve three courses with local wines, topped off with fresh herb tea and liqueurs, for a price of 45 euro per person (25 euro 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 wild asparagus, 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 15 euro per person.

Culinary activities

We offer seasonal cooking classes and activities when we can. 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’ corn and grape harvests (September) and olive harvest (October-November).

Making flavoured seasonal liqueurs and aperitifs such as blackthorn, green walnut, fig leaf, sour cherry, quince and lemon verbena.

Cooking 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 are highly seasonal, some weather-dependent, and are subject to our small team’s limited capacity and availability.

Prices: Some activities are happening here anyway, such as the harvests and large preserving sessions, and if time and space allow you are very welcome to join these without charge. Occasionally we may also be able to offer more structured cooking classes. These are offered to guests staying with us for a week or more, are subject to our availability and must be booked in advance. The price is 100 euro per person for a class followed by lunch, and the group size is 2-6 people.

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