There are numerous reasons why visitors fall in love with the Istria region. One of them is Istria truffles, a culinary piece of art that is hard to resist. Since the truffles are discovered in Motovun Forest. Truffles were appreciated by the Romans – they were believed to have grown as the result of God Jupiter throwing lightning to an oak tree. The truffles have been regarded as an aphrodisiac as well. Truffle is an underground tuberous fungus that is considered to be the height of gastronomy. It grows in the heart of Istria, in a humid and grey soil of the forests near Buzet with the Mirna River running through it.
A truffle hunt is a special and unforgettable event for any fan of this subterranean mushroom. After meeting the family, and learning all there is to know about family hunting tradition and truffle delicacies in Croatia and around the World, starting with the adventure of a lifetime: we join the family and their specially trained dogs on a hunting spree to find our own truffle – for lunch. Together with the host of the estate we leave on foot to the nearby forest, the place of the Istrian underground treasure hunt. The forest is between 5 and 15 minutes of walk away from the house of departure. During the search and stroll through the forest the visitors have an opportunity for a unique experience full of adrenalin, anticipation and the joy of finding the truffle. Every participant have a chance to touch and smell this freshly found underground treasure. By rapidly moving its paws, the dog points to the area where it has found a truffle, showing its owner the spot where this underground treasure can be unearthed. Truffle dogs are highly prized and have been bred and trained for truffle hunting in our family over many generations
The white truffle “the gold of Istria”, called Tuber Magnatum Pico the most highly appreciated truffle variety with a distinctive intense scent and a harmonious taste having aphrodisiac powers. It grows from September till January and is eaten fresh usually shaved over hot steaming pasta, meat or fish. Tuber Melanosporum is the fine black truffle that grows from January till spring and is regarded as the best among the black varieties, quite popular in Istria. This truffle is the priciest among the black varieties. It has a light scent and an aromatic and pleasant taste. Black truffles are excellent for cooking pasta and tasty “fritaja”. The most popular truffle place in Istria is Giancarlo Zigante’s restaurant in Livade below Motovun. Fall is a very special time of the year since the white truffle is hunted from September till December and this is the best time to taste it.
Beyond any doubt, truffles are gastronomical jewels. Their star status amongst the mushrooms they first of all owe to their unique, exquisite taste and aroma and the fact that they are so rare and difficult to collect. Also do not forget, throughout the recorded history, truffles have been treasured as a potent aphrodisiac! When one’s family has been in the truffle business for decades, truffle aroma often permeates the house. The kitchen of Mirjana Kotiga is a place where many delicious and adventurous truffle wonders are created, from rich chocolate truffle cakes to fabulous Mirjana ‘s ravioli or truffle strudel, just to mention some of them.
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