Istria is a region at the top of Croatia that overlaps into Slovenia that is regarded by many as the finest food and wine region in the Balkans. Home to numerous winemakers, cheesemakers, charcutiers and some of Europe's finest truffles it is a stunning region with a beautiful coast as well as breathtaking rural scenery. We'll be on the Croatian side of the border, where most of the region sits. A perfect place to explore in a 4-day food and wine adventure.
Arrive at Pula International Airport (PUY). Meet your private English-speaking driver outside customs and head to an off the grid goat farm run by gregarious self-taught cheesemaker and farmer. Learn more about the actual cheese-making process, and see it through your own eyes, from the milking to the maturation of cheese. Then enjoy a truly epic feast at their renovated 14th-century farmhouse. Sample yoghurt, curd and whey, fresh lactic cheeses, semi-firm cheeses and caramel alongside whatever the family decides to cook up that day. This includes a bevvy of hot dishes (soups, stews, sometimes even amazing curries or kebabs) and seasonal vegetables from their garden. Transfer to hotel in a small Istrian village filled with medieval streets lined with 14th and 15th-century houses and small olive mills. Light dinner with specialities of Boškarin, the traditional Istrian ox featured prominently in Istrian cuisine as carpaccio or in a ragu served with the local fuži pasta.
Start out the day sampling essential Istrian wines at a family winery and konoba (Croatian rustic taverna). Wines include a bold, iron-rich red (Teran), a crisp white (Malvazija) and a very local semi-sweet called Momjanski Muscat. Tuck into lunch of grilled Istrian sausages known as kobasice and melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi doused in goulash from wild boar, venison or donkey. Visit a family-run brandy distillery in one of the nearby hill towns. Afternoon adventure in Istrian forests to sniff out truffles and a local hunter and her truffle hunting dogs. A special dinner with truffle specialities alongside their family’s line of olive oils in an outdoor setting overlooking a large olive grove.
Saturday morning in the historic city of Pula to browse the market, side streets and perhaps its ancient coliseum. Meet up with a local guide to gather and source food for our cooking class in a small, countryside house, surrounded by olive trees. Learn the art of peka, the method of slow cooking lamb and veal in a cast iron bell covered in hot coals and embers. It’s an essential meal for Croatians and found all over the rest of the Balkans. In-between prepping peka and rolling out pasta there will be some downtime for getting acquainted with some of the region’s best wines and prosciuttos. Relax in the evening in the beautiful seaside town of Rovinj for a nightcap and some light bites and snacks if anyone still has room in their stomach.
Start off the day with a very unique pairing: honey and wine - served as one spoonful together - from a central Istrian winemaker who also produces honey. Lunch with olive oil producer in the town of Vodjnan that features more top oil producers in the world than anywhere else - Croatia’s Istria region has been named best olive oil region for 5th consecutive year. Transfer to Pula airport. End of tour.
Price per person sharing a double room based on 6-10 people participating.
3 nights lodging, 3 dinners with wine, 3 lunches, all wine and other tastings in the program, transport by van or mini-bus, airport transfers to Pula (PUY), tour leader. Cultisan founder Jason Hartley will also join this tour.
Price does not include
Travel Insurance. Cultisan recommends World Nomads
If cancelled up to 30 days prior to the scheduled commencement of the program, 50% will be refunded; If cancellation is the result of COVID restrictions - proof required - a 100% credit will be provided or 80% can be refunded.
If cancelled later or in case of no-show no refund will be provided.