Aspargus, the first sign of spring in Umag
Finally, spring has sprung. Like in an elementary school paper, everything is budding and green, birds are chirping, and the sun is shining. High time to find a nice cafe terrace in Umag and soak in those vitamin-D-producing rays you've been craving all winter.
Have you ever tasted wild asparagus?
On your ride down to Umag, you’ll see plenty of people along the road and in the nearby woods foraging for asparagus. It grows wild around these parts, and is a favourite spring dish in Istria. There is nothing tastier than a bunch of wild asparagus shoots scrambled with a few eggs, or tossed in a vinaigrette with some boiled eggs. If you’re feeling lucky, take a walk in the Istrian forests and pick some yourself, or take a walk to the nearest restaurant and simply order them. They taste great with pasta, in risottos, or even with a few boiled potatoes. You simply can’t go wrong with fresh asparagus.
The seaside promenade comes alive
As the sun warms up, the entire seaside promenade comes to life – souvenir vendors put out their wares on the shelves and tables in front of their shops, and restaurant owners prepare seasonal menus and set their terrace tables for passers-by to occupy and enjoy the caress of the sun. Children are out running, climbing, and rollerblading. Young mothers are out pushing their prams. Everything comes alive all at once.
Ice cream is back on the menu
Walking around Umag, you'll see a lot of people trimming their hedges, pruning their orchards, painting their window frames – typical spring cleaning in a picturesque little town. When they're finished, they’ll sit down for a nice meal or stroll down to the city centre to grab a coffee and some ice cream (most vendors don’t make ice cream during the winter, so if you’re a fan of ice cream, this is the right time to try it).
Try some špaleta
As you cycle through the surrounding area, you'll see farmers ploughing their land and olive growers checking the state of their trees after the winter and preparing for the season. It is also the perfect time to try špaleta - a prosciutto-like dried pork shoulder that is cured over the winter months and is ready to eat much sooner than prosciutto, as it is smaller and easier to cure. Špaleta is a traditional delicacy – for a true Istrian experience, ask at the restaurant to put some in your asparagus frittata (fritaja in Istrian dialect).
Enjoy the daylight
The best part is how much longer the days are, meaning you’ll have enough time to walk around, grab lunch, bike to a nearby konoba, pick some asparagus along the way, and have a coffee and some ice cream before heading back to Umag for dinner and a glass of Malvasia before sunset.
It’s almost May – hooray!
In a few weeks, at the start of May, it will be even warmer, making it the right time for the first barbecue of the year. As the temperatures rise, people will even begin heading to the beaches for the first swim of the year.
Don’t believe us?
Come to Umag – if there’s no one on the beach, we'll buy you a drink.