Vrsar – Romantic town

Specialities

ISTRIAN OLIVE OILS

Hardly anything can be compared to this opaque, darkish fluid; it is absolutely unique. A hall-mark of the Mediterranean, associated with the notion of healthiness, gastronomic delight and with a serene, untroubled old age in particular. It has been outpouring murky and imperious ever since, uncommonly bitter in taste, yet of an exceptional aroma, making it an admirable companion of many superb dishes. The most valued vegetable fat in a human diet. A body care product, a cure for diverse ailments, regarded by many as panacea, the elixir of life. A divine fruit. A flowing gold.

What is concealed beneath these supernatural praises? Olive-tree! The edible oil! The oil of gods and mankind alike. Olive-oil. The oil of charitable deeds and anointment. The queen of all trees. A mythological and biblical plant. The olive-branch, an emblem of peace. A Christian rite and feast: olive-branches before the forthcoming Easter Sunday. An all-cure, a touch and a hallmark of Istria.

As stated by the Greek mythology tales, the olive-tree has been created in the following way: in her contest with Poseidon, god of the sea, Athena cast a drop of water on the cliff and immediately an olive-tree grew therein. Throughout the past centuries Istria has been determined by the olive-tree. We owe the first historic manuscripts related to our peninsula and dating back to ancient Greeks and Romans to this very olive-tree and to olive-oil, respectively. Believe it or not, olive-oil produced in Istria was considered then as the most exquisite oil of the Empire which all other existing sorts had been compared to.

Marcus Valerius Marcial (40 – 103 A.D.), the most renowned epigrammatist of ancient Rome, a Spaniard by birth, left a pleiad of scripts exalting Istrian olive-oil. Chanting praises to his native Cordoba, he exclaimed: Uncto Corduba laetior Venafro, Histria nec minus absoluta testa. Cordoba, thou art more fertile than the oil-rich Venafro, absolute like the olive-oil from Istria.

Apart from many written testimonies, there is also plenty of material evidence: remnants of diverse ancient oil manufactories along the entire western coast of Istria, particularly on the Brijuni archipelago, in the towns of Barbariga, Poreč and Červar Porat. Close to these, real industrial areas intended for the amphora manufacture had been set up. It is only natural that large olive-groves were planted aside, namely the indigenous local sorts (bjelica, karbonera, buža, etc.). Nowadays, it seems like we have to start all over again.

We dispose of unrivalled legacy, apparently excellent climate conditions and soil structure, favorable geographic position, skills handed down from our ancestors, knowledge and properly qualified personnel; nevertheless, we seem to lag behind the latest worldwide trends and attainments in the field. We need to take a step forward and face the challenge of planting olive-groves consisting of selected, autochthonous sorts, producing top-quality olive-oil, accepting new growing technologies, as well as of constructing up-to-date oil plants.

ISTRIAN TRUFFLE

The culinary chefs agree upon one thing only: the truffle should be placed at the very top of the gastronomic delicacies list. The truffle is a mysterious and unique tuber, completely concealed underground. It does not dispose of a plant suspended above the ground and therefore, no human being is able to spot it, except for a well-trained dog tracing it by smell.

The land of our heart-shaped peninsula consists of two types of soil texture; the intensely red one in the coastal area and of the grey, clayish one in its central part. The truffle grows exactly in this grey soil, its epicenter being in the damp Motovun forest constantly moistened by the Mirna river flowing through its woods. To be more precise, it is mainly spotted in the County District of Oprtalj, by the townlet of Livade, and in the Buzet area, where Buzet has already been renowned as the TRUFFLE PLACE.

The white Istrian truffle is one of the most highly appraised truffle species in the world. For decades, it has been smuggled out of our country in order to enrich the taste of various European cuisines where its origins have constantly been kept in concealment.

This leaflet and these events are intended to prevent these shady activities in the first place and to enable you and us to consume this supreme delicacy in its homeland and at a considerably more reasonable price. Our intent is to demystify and dethrone its Majesty, the Truffle MAGNATUM TUBER-PICO, by making it available to a common individual and not only a pleasure to just a few well-to-do lucky ones.

And after all, what is a truffle really? Perhaps an odd looking potato-like bulb of highly unpleasant smell, but once you get used to it and its culinary uniqueness, you become its true and eternal admirer. You tend to get addicted to it as one does to any other worldly vice.

THE SPIDER CRAB

The spider crab (Maja squinado) is a member of the crustacean family (Majiidae). Its shell is brown-red with red spots along its long legs. 25cm in length, the spider crab weighs in at 1,5 kg. At home on many sea floor environs, they commonly dwell at depths of 30-50 meters but have been found as deep as 150 meters. They are found throughout the Adriatic Sea, including Istria’s Premuda, Lošinj, Cres, Unije and Susak islands, with an abundance in the Pula basin near Medulin, Premantura and Banjole.

Considered a delicacy, each crab yields a limited amount of meat but the delicious taste is very similar to lobster. Istrian fishermen often prepare the crabs by roasting them in fires made from grapevines. When the shells begin to separate from the meat, the sumptuous meal is ready.