Our triangle-shaped peninsula in the northern Adriatic is probably the best branded food & wine region of Croatia. Favourable climate, rich tradition and the mixture of Austrian and Italian influences have created a very interesting area, which reminds many foreigners of an „off-the-beaten-path“ version of Tuscany.
Istria is the perfect combination of the rural and urban, of the tourist-infested coast and quiet, romantic inland, and its cuisine reflects this duality. The sea gives excellent fish and shellfish, and the forests and hills give plenty of meat, mushrooms, artisan cheese, forest fruits…
Istrian cuisine trademarks are various kinds of indigenous pasta (fuži, pljukanci, Labinski krafi), wild asparagus, truffles, famous dry-cured ham pršut, some of the best olive oils in the world, Lim oysters, and local wine varieties like the white Malvazija and red Teran, but also great brandies like biska or medica.
EatIstria cooking classes take place in our family farm situated between coastal villages of Medulin and Ližnjan, in the southeast corner of Istria. A small house hiding between olive trees is the origin of all my devotion to genuine food and wine and, after all, the main reason why I founded EatIstria in 2012. Here my grandmother Ana lived a true and hard peasant life.
Since I was kid I adored coming here just to feel the scent of sea, of wild fennel, of dry stone walls baked under midday August sun, of heated olive oil on which Ana fried eggs that, minutes before, I collected in chicken nests. Her fragrant and potent sheep cheese, her Istrian pršut and sausages, tomatoes and watermelons, al dente gnocchi with rooster žgvacet or even her homemade wine, through all these flavours and aromas I learned the alphabet of Istrian cuisine. Today Ana is not among us but olive trees and Malvazija vines she planted thirty years ago still give us raw material for producing extravirgin olive oil, verjus and Malvazija balsamic vinegar.
This beautiful piece of land watches over the entrance to Kvarner Bay, overlooking the islands of Cres and Lošinj, small islands of the Medulin archipelago while, further south, the view stretches to Cape Kamenjak, the tip of Istrian peninsula. The south-eastern Istrian coast is a rare place on Mediterranean where dense evergreen Holm Oak forests still thrive right next to secluded pebble beaches soaked in turquoise waters. In this particular area Central European and Venetian culinary traditions merged over time and always used the best ingredients from the land and the sea.
The remote history of this area was written both in the remains of Roman town Vizače (Nesactium) not far away from Valtura, and in the church of St. Mary from Kuj in Ližnjan which hosts well preserved mosaic from the early Christian period.
The hidden part of unpolluted sea and indented coastline with its rocks and gravel reveals the beauty of 28 km long unsettled coast. A picturesque little port tells us that we are in a place that has always lived upon the benefits of the sea.
The significant feature of local fauna is a bird called bee-eater (Merpos Apiasters) which belongs to an endemic and protected sort of birds that in summertime dwell in Marlera thrives peacefully in its natural environment.
Horse centre Libora offers various services relating to horse-riding activities including horse-riding courses. For those who have passion for hunting there is a large hunting ground with hares, partridges, pheasants, does and wild boars lurking among dense oak wood.
If you prefer scuba diving, the underwater coast along Marlera and partially along the Kuja bay reveals one of the last meadows of flowering Voga.