Istria, particularly the area around the hilltop village of Motovun, is globally renowned for its truffles – a highly sought-after culinary delicacy. The truffle, known as ‘tartufi’ in Croatia, is an underground mushroom noted for its unique flavor and aroma, enhancing the essence of various dishes, from pastas, meats, to cheeses and even chocolates.
There are several varieties of truffles found in Istria, but the most revered are the black and white truffles. Black truffles grow year-round, making truffle hunting a constant activity throughout the seasons. They have an intense, rich flavor that is particularly appreciated in gastronomy, often used to enhance sauces, cheese, and meat dishes.
However, it is the white truffle, gathered from September to January, that is truly esteemed. The Istrian white truffle is one of the most valued in the world, rivalling those from the famed Alba and Piedmont regions of Italy. It’s characterized by its powerful aroma and complex, earthy flavor. Chefs around the world covet these truffles to create exceptional dishes, often serving them shaved over pasta, meat, or fish to let their distinctive flavor shine.
It’s worth mentioning that Istria was home to the record for the world’s largest white truffle until 2014. The truffle weighed 1.31 kg and was found in the forest around Motovun in 1999. This record, though now surpassed by a truffle from Umbria, Italy, highlights the exceptional truffle growth conditions in Istria, making it a prime destination for truffle hunting.
Partaking in our truffle hunting tour gives you not only the chance to find these culinary gems but also the opportunity to understand their significance in Croatian and global cuisine. Whether you’re a foodie, a chef, or simply a curious traveler, truffle hunting in Croatia, particularly in Istria, offers a fascinating and rewarding experience.