On the hunt for truffles

Pure Istrian Gold

Among the dark, dense oak forests of northern Istria, just beneath the fertile soil, lies what locals like to refer to as pure gold. This coveted underground mushroom, the truffle, is unique to this specific region of the heart-shaped peninsula. Home to two types of truffles, the black, and the more pungent, premium white truffle, Istria is somewhat overshadowed in the industry by its other European neighbors.

A well-kept secret from the rest of the truffle world, these elusive mushrooms have been pursued in Istria for centuries, being scooped up by trained hunters and their most trusted canine companions. The stony, rocky ground and Mediterranean climate provide the perfect environment in which this subterranean fungus prospers. The climate is particularly good near the Motovun forest, earning it the title of the “Truffle Capital” by connoisseurs of this extraordinary ingredient. From September through November, experienced truffle hunters scour the forests, following the lead of their highly trained dogs who are able to detect the strong smell of the morsel underneath the ground. Pointing their owners to the prize, the dogs are rewarded with a treat each time they successfully locate pure Istrian gold. The truffles are then sold and used locally in taverns or are exported to the international market for sale. A few restaurants in Istria even hunt for their own truffles!

Whether you’d like to experience a behind the scenes look at how these precious fungi are harvested, or would simply like to enjoy meals doused in fragrant white or black truffles, you can do both in northwestern Istria! Culinary innovation is at an all time high since the popularity of truffles has sky rocketed in Croatia, encouraging local restaurants to experiment with the coveted ingredient. Whether you’re in the mood for fuži (hand-rolled Istrian pasta)topped with truffles, scampi with truffles, or would like to taste truffle-infused ice cream, Istria is the perfect destination for sampling the supreme delicacy. Hungry for Istria yet?

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