Olive Oil: The Essential Guide to Liquid Gold of Northwestern Istria

Deeply rooted in Istria's history, olives have been cultivated and pressed for their treasured oil since Roman times. Northwestern Istria is home to acres of olive oil trees, thriving under the sun and spreading their distinctive beauty across hills and red-soiled valleys. Flos Olei, the prestigious guide of the best extra virgin olive olives of the world, has listed Istria as one of the best olive oil regions for three years now and proclaimed Zubin family’s olive oil Črnica among the 20 top olive oils in the world.

Northwestern Istria is dotted with small independently owned family olive oil mills producing high-quality extra virgin olive oils all lovers should taste while visiting. Thanks to the Olive Oil Road project, you can find detailed maps leading to 93 family growers bursting with this tasty liquid and warm hospitality. All native varieties such as Istarska Bjelica, Rošinjola and Karbonaca offer specific tastes, scents and intensities which makes them all equally unique and perfect for pairing with all kinds of foods and wines.

Al Torcio, Novigrad

This family-run olive oil mill is well-known for many prizes in recent years, and their olive oils truly stand up to numerous flattering titles they have won all over the world. Hand-picked olives keep the trees and the fruit fully intact, whereas producing the oil starts the very same day. Using the high-quality equipment and their field to table philosophy, the golden liquid pours out in the world preserving all the precious components and distinctive flavors. In addition to superb olive oils, this family has ensured each of their visitors gets a wholesome oil processing experience, embellished by the charming restaurant serving a wide variety of Istrian delicacies and wines. If you find yourself wanting to stay a bit longer rather than just setting on a one-day visit, you can choose between several cozy rooms to curl up after a day of discovering interesting facts behind these beloved green fruits.

Basiaco, Buje

The charming, wine and olive oil-loving man Basiaco Franco has been cultivating and processing olive oil since 1997 and today his property spreads on 23 hectares of which 6 is covered in olive groves. His ultimate focus in on famous oil brand Gocce D'Oro, consisting of Capsula Rossa and the excellent Capsula Oro characterised by an intense, clear golden color thanks to growing on 100 and 200 meters above sea level. His olive oils can be paired with virtually any food, especially blue cheeses, marinated tuna, salads and tartar steaks.

Buršić, Brtonigla

For this hardworking family, olive oil is a synonym for tradition, culture and fun, achieving the utmost quality with every single bottle of De Kleva, Buza, Istrian Bjelica, Leccino and Pendolino brands. By dedicating the long hours, rich knowledge and efforts in cultivating the groves in the natural swirl of white, grey, black and red soil, the final product gets its signature color and aroma that releases its lush scent with every opening. Thanks to its location in the Northwestern Istria, south of Brtonigla and near the valley of Mirna River, the property bathed in sun is a natural gem that shouldn't be left unseen by anyone nearby.

Mate, Savudrija

If anyone proved that age doesn't matter on setting your mind to success is the founder of this mill, Mate Vekić, who planted his first olive grove at the age of 75. After his return from Italy, where his love for olive oils firstly bloomed, he decided to create an olive oasis in Savudrija by planting varieties such as Frantoio, Leccino and Pendolino. Nowadays, the olive oils produced here stand side by side to best oils of Croatia and the world. Combining the hand-picking the fruits and the mill equipped with modern machinery allows the oil obtained from the fruits remain unaltered and packed with natural antioxidants.

Zigante, Buje

Widely distinguished for award-winning truffles, Zigante family carries out everything they get their hands on. From 50 different truffle products combined with delicious local mushrooms, honey, butter and many other matching and daring ingredients to 6 authentic wine etiquettes, various homemade jams and first-rate olive oils like Istarska Bjelica, Leccino, Frantoio, Buža and Blend. Just a few drops of the Zigante olive oils will raise any dish to a whole other level and luxuriate your senses with a gourmet experience you will certainly want to treat yourself to more than once.

Zubin, Umag

For years now, olive oil making has been a Zubin family tradition, always striving for excellence in all aspects of organically growing olives to their processing. Inwrought by fragrant lavender and arugula, the 20-hectare olive grove interleaves the highest point of Umag, specifically the karst terrains of Buščina. This place of true harmony with nature, embellished with a restaurant nearby and rooms for renting, produces extra virgin olive oils Oio de Buščina, consisting of Buža, Bjelica, Črnica and Selection. Flos Olei, the prestigious guide to best olive oils, has listed Zubin’s excellent monoortic oil Črnica, characterized by pungent piquancy, fruity tones and moderate bitterness, among the top 20 olive oils in the world.

Next time you find yourself in Northwestern Istria, immerse yourself in the Olive Road Route and get a sensory exploration of the region, discover the hidden olive oil gems, meet the friendly growers ready to share their love for olives and learn more about the harvesting and production of their precious oil! You will bring home nothing but fondest memories of the tour, and surely a few bottles of these amazing olive oils on the bottom of your suitcase.

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