attractiveness of the Slovene Littoral, the northernmost part of the
Mediterranean, has been the target of praise by many a poet. They were inspired
by the Istrian hills, the sea, the salt pans, and the Karst.
The Slovene Riviera with its exuberant flora
offers a variety of culinary experience with fresh herbs (Enjoy Local) and
delicious fish delicacies.
the traditional Istrian cuisine, food is most commonly cooked, rarely fried.
The primary role is occupied by autochthonous and locally grown vegetables,
herbs and spices. Spices usually have a mild taste, and chefs will often decide
to use their undomesticated counterparts. Fish and poultry dishes are typical
in Istrian cuisine. The two most important ingredients are without a doubt
home-made olive oil and wine. Olive oil, wine and sea salt, produced in the
Slovene Littoral, have a worldwide reputation today.
The olive tree is a Mediterranean plant.
Thanks to its rich cultural heritage, appearing in myths as well as in the
lives of modern people, it is an inexhaustible source of tales. Due to specific
climate conditions in this area, Istrian olive oil is particularly well known
for its distinct flavour.
asparagus, locally known also as “šparoga”, is a typical Mediterranean plant.
It grows at the edges of forests in Slovene Istria. This dioecious herbaceous
perennial grows up to one meter in height. It's harvested in springtime from
mid-March to mid-May. An old
Istrian saying goes: “April spareser, maio sareser” (In April asparagus, in May
Persimmon - Also known
as the fruit of the Gods. Persimmon can be enjoyed only a few short autumn and
winter months. It was brought to Europe around 1870 and is primarily cultivated
in Mediterranean countries. In Istria and Slovene Littoral, persimmon was first
grown later, during the first decades of the 20th century. Solinar Tourist Society from Strunjan is
extremely successful in attempts to interconnect the local natural heritage
with the tourist offer. Every year, they hold a traditional persimmon festival
which greatly contributes to the tourist offer of the municipality, which
relies greatly on the potential of its natural heritage.
artichoke was already known by the Ancient Greeks and Romans. During their
golden age, artichokes were grown as vegetables and as ornamental plants. They
were eaten cooked as well as raw. The artichoke was later forgotten, and it was
only in the 20th century that its healing power associated with the liver and
gallbladder disease was rediscovered. The artichoke is similar to thistle and
grows up to 120cm in height. Cooked buds or flowers are usually consumed.
Mediterranean and Istrian cuisine knows a plethora of exquisite dishes made
from the artichoke.
Piran sea salt - For 700
years, salt pans workers have been producing the Piran seas salt in line with the
medieval process, and have continued to harvest salt using traditional tools
until this very day. The biggest
secret to the quality and natural white colour of the Sečovlje sea salt is the
clay soil in salt pans covered with a thin layer of “petola”, a few
millimetre-thick foundation of biosediment composed of minerals and
production depends greatly on the forces of nature – the sun, wind and sea –
and the hard work of salt pans workers. The Sečovlje sea salt is light, rich in
sea minerals and has an exquisite taste giving food a noble aroma.
Fish and meat - Cooked
meat dishes (fish, mutton, poultry, beef) are well known for their method of
preparation. “Žgvaca” is a meat dish in a sauce of autochthonous Istrian herbs.
A number of dishes are prepared in a “padelle” (pan with handle) or under a “črepnja”
(lid for baking with coals). Istria is also known for delicious fish soups,
marinades etc. Despite attempts to preserve and resuscitate the traditional
cuisine, there is a tendency in the Littoral for a transition to a more modern
cuisine, composed of a variety of fish and meat dishes, pasta and pizzas.
Vine – The Istrian soil gives life to the
autochthonous variety of the vine which produces grapes used in the production
of the renowned refosco wine. Malvasia is the typical white wine. Both wine
varieties are served with typical Istrian dishes: prosciutto, cheese, bread
with home-made olive oil; bobiči(corn stew), sweet štruklji dumplings
stuffed with meat, “blood polenta”, omelette with wild asparagus, traditional
Istrian pasta – “bleki”, “blečići”, “fusi” – risottos, seafood (in “čežama” –
marinated anchovy soup, or “brodet” – fish soup), or with sweet sandwiches,
rolls and fried pastries “fritolas”.
Fritaja - An egg omelette, typical for Istrian cuisine. There exist many varieties of fritaja. The selection and preparation
come down to the chef's imagination, taste and what can be found in the fridge.
This way, we can make fritajas with
prosciutto, bacon, asparagus, aubergines, mushrooms, truffles, spring onions or
any other vegetable, escargot or cheese.
For a more
authentic culinary experience, visit one of the many osmizzas held between November and June in the Slovenian Littoral.
Every local food producer is allowed to hold one osmizza a year, lasting up to eight days. At the osmizza, home-made wine, pickled home-grown
vegetables, cold cuts, olives, cheeses, sausages, home-made bread and more is