You have heard something about truffles, but you have never really touched them and sensed their aroma or you have never experienced the hunting for truffles? In case you are coming to Istria, you really should not miss the opportunity to taste them! We are lucky enough to work and live in the zone where the most precious truffles in the world grow – Istrian white and black truffle. Their home is Motovun forest and nearby slopes surrounding river Mirna.
We at Tours Istria, our relatives, friends, and neighbors have been involved in truffles since we know about ourselves; we know everything about truffles from the first hand and we would like to share that with you.
The first official appearance of truffles in the spoken word is dating somewhere around the year 1600., although the first Tuber genus truffles were found by the Romans and the Greeks in their ancient time. The story of truffles has always been shrouded in mystery. It was even believed that they were the fruits of rain and thunder, children of God, blisters of the earth, and similar.
The first white truffles in Istria were found in 1929 near Pazinski Novaki. When they discovered them, local people thought it was some kind of stinking potatoes, possibly food for wild boars living in the forest.
The first written record of the discovery of white truffles dates from 1931 when prof. Massimo Sella explored locations suitable for Istria truffle hunting in the Mirna River Valley. On that occasion, he wrote that they found a large white truffle of 0.5 kg at distance only 200 m from the Fontana Hotel in the center of Buzet. The city of Buzet is known as the City of Truffles since 1999, and every year in September the festival "Subotina" is held there, where the largest omelet (scrambled eggs) with truffles in the whole world is prepared. That same year, Mr. Zigante of Livade found the largest white truffle of 1,310 g, which entered the Guinness Book of Records.
After we were the first in Croatia to start with an organized private truffle hunting in Istria and guided tours that come with the hunt, it became a passion that we wanted to convey to our guests.
Truffles are a type of underground fungus that grows underground in symbiosis with oak, hazel, beech, black hornbeam, poplar, willow, linden, or pine.
In Istria, we find several types of truffles, such as Tuber Borchi, Tuber Melanosporum, Tuber Brumnale, but certainly the most famous are black summer truffle or Tuber Aestivum and expensive and very rare Istrian white truffle or Tuber Magnatum Pico. Istrian white truffle is the most expensive type of mushroom found only in Istria and in the Italian region around the town of Alba (Piemonte).
Black truffles grow on the gentle southern slopes and ripen in the summer months, while white truffles begin to ripen in the fall, and we find them in the valley of the river Mirna and Motovun forest, in flysch soils, near watercourses.
If you are wondering does truffle, besides being an aphrodisiac, also has some special ingredients - the answer is here: Truffle consists of 76.60% water and 23.40% dry matter, and contains: potassium, phosphoric acid, calcium, magnesium, and sodium.
Nowadays, truffles are hunted in Istria with the help of specially trained dogs that each family trains independently. Truffle hunters will say that females are far better and more focused on truffle hunting than their male better halves. In addition to the fact that we need a dog to find truffles, a special tool or "otka" is brought to the hunt and used by the truffle hunter to make it easier to dig up truffles.
You may not have known that black truffles, unlike white ones, can also be grown, so during our truffle hunting and tasting tour we will visit the first truffle plantation in Croatia.
You will find truffles on the menu of almost every better restaurant in Istria, but not in the kitchen of the average Istrian. That means that although we live here, we do not eat truffles every day – they are reserved for special occasions like big family gatherings, served along with other precious Istrian food specialties.
If you decide for truffle holidays in Istria, you must try our most traditional truffle dish – frittata (scrambled eggs) with black truffles, homemade Istrian pasta - fuži with truffles, boškarin steak with white truffles and excellent cheeses and salami with truffles.
Autumn in the truffle zone is the most beautiful season of the year. In the autumn truffle festivals and fairs annually took place in Motovun, Oprtalj, Buzet, and other places. This is the opportunity to try some cooking with truffles during our cooking classes, encourage yourself to try a night truffle hunting, enjoy during a romantic picnic with truffles, or maybe relax during our private open-air aroma massage with locally produced lavender or truffle and orange massage oil. We also recommend exploring NICE – North Istria Countryside Experience and revealing the story of truffles and all the best that Istria has to offer.
Life in the Istrian truffle zone is special, so do not hesitate, but immerse yourself with us deep into the local life of Istrian truffles, check out the list of our tailored programs and try them for a rich and authentic Istria truffle experience.