Captivating hilltop town of Motovun is at the center of so-called 'kingdom of truffles'

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Wine & gastro trip

Best of inland Istria: Hilltop towns, family farms and amazing delicacies

Situated in the heart of Europe, where continental Croatia meets the Mediterranean, Istrian peninsula offers the best of the two worlds. Whet your appetite for this gourmet paradise with spectacular views of rolling hills and fertile plains, picturesque villages, vineyards and olive groves.

The heart-shaped Istrian peninsula was known to the Romans as Terra Magica (Magic Land). It is a land of many hidden treasures, some of them being literally covered with dirt. The forests along the Mirna River in central and northern Istria hide the pricy delicacy called truffles in their soil.

Apart from the buried treasures, Istria is rich with “liquid gold”. According to the Flos Olei, the first international and the most relevant European olive oil guide, Istria was, in 2017, for the second year running named the best olive oil region in the world.

The list of Istrian treasures would not be complete without the drink of the gods, because, like Istrians would say „The bread is for the flesh and the wine is for the soul“. Find out why Istria has been billed as the New Tuscany by joining us on this fascinating adventure.

Trip highlights

  • Truffle hunting adventure in the forest, with our guide and his dogs
  • Dinners at typical local taverns, where you'll try dishes that rely on local ingredients (esp. truffles and boškarin) and old recipes
  • Visit to 2 family farms, touring their estate and tasting their products
  • Visit to a family winery and a distillery, for a tour and tasting
  • Visiting typical hilltop towns with beautiful views in the Istrian countryside

Trip availableMAR-JUN,
SEP-OCT
Duration4 days
Suitable for2-8 people
SupportFully guided
Languagesenitde
Price per personfrom 359.00 €
Great for
  • Couples without children
  • Small groups of 4-6 friends
You’ll be accommodated in
  • Private Bed & Breakfast
  • or 5-star villa
Trip designed by Marija Mance

Experienced tour guide and a passionate explorer of hidden treasures of Croatia

Activities are taking place in Istria

Truffles are a fancy delicacy, some say an aphrodisiac, and the most expensive food in the world. There are three varieties of truffle – white, black and burgundy, and they cannot be planted or tamed, so each variety is only available a few months out of the year. If you have never tasted this magic mushroom called “a fairy apple”, here's your chance.

Olive oil is much more than just an ordinary food ingredient – it is a symbol of health and gastronomic pleasure. At the international exhibitions, Istrian olive oils are often awarded as being one of the best oils in the entire world. Flos Olei experts have included 61 Istrian olive oils in their latest 2017 guide. Would you like to know why?

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1

Let yourself be dazzled by this Istrian gem

Welcome to Istria, a land of gastronomic wonders. We will bring you the richness of tastes and smells offered by this little piece of heaven, but first you should get acquainted with the small picturesque hilltop town of Motovun, deep in the Istrian countryside. Your hosts await your arrival in a charming family-owned B&B, just off the small main square. Once you get settled in, take a stroll around the town and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding area, the so called “kingdom of truffles”. It's time for dinner… and there is no better way to start your gastronomic journey through Istria than a dinner at a nice local tavern on a slope just outside the medieval City gate, with a menu that relies on local ingredients and old recipes. The menu is a kind of introduction to the next day that will be partially dedicated to truffles. After tasting 3 kinds of cheese accompanied by arugula, lean bacon and spicy sausages, traditional Istrian pasta, gnocchi with wild game sauce and a rich and creamy polenta with truffles, the main course will delight you - beef carpaccio with truffles accompanied by a glass of Istrian wine. After dinner, take a 5-minute walk back to your room and get a good night’s sleep.

tip

If you want to know something about Motovun before going there, Google the Motovun Film Festival.

Day 2

Truffle hunting and liquid gold tasting

After breakfast, meet your guide and start your daily gastronomic adventure.

The area around Motovun is very rich – it's the kingdom of truffles, but also a place where you can find great olive oil, distinctive Istrian grappa and exquisite wines which, served with traditional Istrian culinary recipes, fully evoke the spirit of this ancient region.

First you will visit a local olive oil producer, who will tell you something about the estate, olives, olive oil and oil tasting techniques. After the tasting of the oil, you can take a short walk through the olive groves and maybe purchase a bottle to carry home.

The journey continues leading you to the Motovun forest, the magic territory of Istrian truffles. You will experience truffle hunting, following trained dogs tirelessly seeking “The Gold of Istria”. Walking through the forest is relaxing and if you find truffles, the experience will be unforgettable.

After the hunt, it’s time to visit one of the winemakers of the region. This part of Istria, where the red soil becomes grey, white and clayish, is famous for its golden Malvasia and red Teran (Terrano) grape variety. You’ll taste four complex, outstandingly mineral wines and find out about the production process and the tradition of winemaking. To not drink on an empty stomach, your hosts will offer you some Istrian prosciutto, homemade sausage or salami and cheese.

The centre of the region is the town of Buzet, also known as the City of Truffles. It is situated on a hill above the peaceful Mirna River valley, surrounded by green hills, mysterious canyons and many small charming villages. Take some time to absorb all that you have heard and seen, stroll through sleepy, narrow streets and squares of Buzet old town or have a cup of coffee and relax.

Next stop is the distillery “Aura” where you will experience the entire production process and taste local spirits made of wild pear, wild apple, teran grapevine, raspberry etc. and home-made jams.

The appetite is stimulated so dinner awaits you in one of the typical Istrian taverns and your hosts will make sure you have an introduction to the next day again… this time with something made with boškarin meat, but first of all, you need to taste Istrian maneštra soup. After dinner and a short drive you will return to Motovun.

tip

To go truffle hunting, you should bring footwear that is appropriate for walking in the woods, and during the rainy months it is recommended to bring a raincoat and waterproof footwear.

Food tip

In Buzet, the biggest omelette with truffles in the world is prepared, made up of over 2000 eggs and 10 kg of truffles, and cooked in a pan that is 2.5 meters in diameter – ask the locals about it.

Day 3

Family farms and the “town of artists”

If you thought olive oil, truffles and wine are all that Istria has to offer, you were wrong and we will make sure you see and try something autochthonous again. You will meet your guide after breakfast and start another gastronomic adventure by going to the village of Fabci to visit a family farm. The Gašparini family farm is situated in untouched nature and here you can see indigenous Istrian oxen, being bred naturally and ecologically. Boškarin is a type of grey-white long horned cattle, a symbol of this region that can weigh up to 1200kg. They were at the brink of extinction at the end of the 20th century, but nowadays are coming back to life as first-class meat and local delicacy. This family is a proud owner of two, multiple prize winners in categories of obedience, beauty, weight and in ploughing competition. Besides the oxen, you will have the opportunity to see other typical Istrian animals like goats, donkeys and sheep and an illustration of the production and use of indigenous farm tools and equipment. The hosts will offer some aperitif and home-made fritule or kroštule (typical deep-fried pastry).

When you say goodbye to the Gašparini family, your guide will take you to visit another Istrian family with a long tradition in agro-tourism. They will let you in on a secret of making the Istrian pršut, a meat delicacy with a status of protected geographical origin that can be made only in continental Istria, in ideal climatic conditions, following the strict traditional method dating back centuries. Here, you will visit the premises where pršut is made and taste some pršut, cheese, salami, sausage, ombolo (made of pork loin) and curd with truffles. All of these products are made exclusively with natural ingredients, meat from the farm, self-propagating herbs and aromatic spices from the area.

Not far from here, some 15 minutes’ drive, lives the Zigante family – one of the most famous Istrian families. You will visit their winery, go to the wine cellar and tasting room where you will get the chance to taste some of the premium wines typical for this territory.

Something that’s also typical for this region is the hilltop towns that, although we do call them towns, are basically small villages with spectacular views over the countryside. There are many Istrian hilltop towns, but the walled medieval Grožnjan is something special. Your guide will take you to this “town of artists”, tell you something about its history and let you soak up the atmosphere as you wander its cobbled streets.

Compared with other hilltop towns, Oprtalj, another charming medieval town located above Mirna Valley, is a bit more colourful. Many houses have bright coloured facades and just out of the town walls, there is a nice Venetian loggia, offering amazing vistas over the neighbouring hills and olive groves. Here, you will have dinner, and the menu will be based on seasonal specialties – asparagus or porcini mushrooms. After a typical hors d'oeuvre (pršut, ombolo, sausages and cheese), homemade asparagus or porcini cream soup will be followed by polenta with wild asparagus or porcini and pancetta. For dessert something special - sweet raviolo with teran.

After dinner and a short drive, you will return to Motovun.

Food tip

Yes, the word pršut itself originates from the Italian language, but the product is not to be mixed up with the Italian prosciutto.

Day 4

Motovun-Pula-Airport

After breakfast, it’s time for packing and check-out. Depending on flight schedule, your driver will take you to the airport or to the town of Pula. Situated near the base of the Istrian peninsula, this largest city in Istria with the well preserved Roman Amphitheatre, one of the most famous sights in the whole of Croatia, is known for its protected harbour, beach-lined coast and Roman ruins. If you have enough time before the flight, it is definitely worth the visit.

What's included?

  • Private transfer from Pula Airport to Motovun
  • 3 BB at the Bed & Breakfast Antico, in the historic centre of Motovun
  • Dinner at the tavern Mondo
  • Nine-hour guided gastro tour on day 2 (incl. truffle hunting, wine tasting, distillery tour, dinner at the tavern Volte)
  • Nine-hour guided gastro tour on day 3 (incl. family farms, wine tasting, tour of Grožnjan, dinner at the tavern Loggia)
  • Private transfer from Motovun to Pula Airport
  • Tourist tax
  • VAT

What's not included?

  • Personal expenses
  • Insurance

Ask about availability & get an offer

What happens when you request an offer?

1

We will double-check availability and make reservations for your rooms, restaurants, guides etc.

2

With reservations confirmed, we will prepare the best offer possible in regard to your arrival date & party size

3

You will get the offer via e-mail, along with the payment options. Feel free to request further customisations!

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