Motovun Forest-a natural feature of the Istrian peninsula
For more than two millennia, Motovun Forest has been recognised as a natural feature of the Istrian peninsula and the entire Croatian Littoral.
Today half the size it once was, the forest covers about one thousand hectares of land along the Mirna River. It differs completely from the karst forests that surround it. While the occasional traveller might associate the forest with fairies and magical experiences, in the gourmet world it is known as a site for harvesting truffles, expensive underground mushrooms that some believe have aphrodisiacal powers.
The kingdom of truffles
The kingdoms of the white truffle (Tuber magnatum) and black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) are hidden in the moist soil of Motovun forest, where these mushrooms grow in a mysterious symbiosis with tree roots at a depth of 10 to 30 cm.
Specially trained dogs (and, occasionally, pigs) are used in harvesting truffles. Highly esteemed in haute cuisine, truffles were first discovered in Motovun Forest in 1929.
However, this luscious forest does not tickle the imagination only because of its soil in which the peculiar association of truffles and the roots of proud oaks takes place. The forest is also linked to tales of Veli Jože, an Istrian giant that legend says lived near Motovun.