Back in 1999, the Istrian town of Buzet was named the Town of Truffles. Scrambled eggs with truffle prepared with 2019 eggs in a frying pan with the 2.5 meter diameter is only a part of a whole day events during Subotina, a hundred years old Buzet traditional festival, which is held on Saturday, 7 September, this year . It is a festivity that is talked about by children, young people, middle-aged people, locals, and the elderly. The area between Buje, Pazin and Buzet, especially the valley of the Mirna River and the Motovun forest is the natural habitat of white and black truffles. They have distinctive smell however they also have superior taste. The peak season of the Istrian white truffle (tuber magnatum), which is also the most expensive and most valued, is marked with a series of events where guests from across the region are offered a variety of dishes with truffles. The season lasts from September to the end of January. Their colour is light brown, ocher to gently green, and the colour and the smell depend on the soil and the tree with which the truffle lives symbiotically. The price for a kilogram of white truffle reaches up to HRK 25,000 and real truffle hunters take sniffer dogs to search. On the other hand, the black truffle is hunted from May to November.
And it is because of the truffles that a large number of tourists come to Istria at this time of the year. Nowadays, the truffle is prepared with numerous fish and meat dishes and is particularly popular in combination with local handmade pasta. Dishes with truffles that you should definitely taste are: shrimps with truffles, fuži or tagliatelle, and steak with grated truffles. But there are also other delicacies. In the Stari podrum Tavern the truffle is the king and actually, there is hardly any guest that gets out of the tavern without trying it. Fuži and pljukanci in creamy sauce with magnificent white or somewhat more modest black truffles do not come in the usual way. Traditional performance dictates that a full plate is not put in front of the guest. Instead, the pasta is gently mixed in a separate bowl, and the smell is hard to resist.
- Our guests know that here, they will always consume excellent truffles prepared with love. This is our specialty, our everyday life. Satisfied guests are confirmation that we do a good job – we were told at the restaurant.
This is also the case with the Gourmet San Rocco Restaurant in the centre of Brtonigla, which is at the very top of the Istrian and Croatian gastronomy. The premises of a former cellar where until recently, the family pride, Istrian Malvasia, rested in large oak barrels now house one of the most famous restaurants in this region. The fruits of research based on the tradition are represented in the restaurant by the best truffle dishes. At the restaurant, they say that the white truffle is their treasure. On the hill above Brtonigla, a macadam road through vineyards and fields will take you to the modern Morgan Tavern, which is proud of its traditional cuisine and lives its Istrian dream. The truffle is greatly valued here.
People like it and they purposely come for truffles – we were told. The same goes for the Zigante Restaurant, below Motovun, in Livade, where the backbone of the menu is logically – the truffle. Here, you can taste caramel with goat’s milk cheese and black truffle, cheeks of the Istrian boškarin with truffles, Adriatic fish fillets with truffles and much more. They even offer truffle ice cream.