We have now entered October, the leaves are falling, the temperatures have dropped significantly, the long queues of cars along the roads and at border crossings are much smaller, everything seems calmer and more comfortable. How can you best enjoy this wonderful time of year in beautiful Istria? Read on.
As Glas Istre/Luka Jelavic writes on the 6th of October, 2019, let’s have a look at some of the events taking place across Istria that the organisers would like to invite both locals and guests to. These autumn events incorporate everything this time of year offers, including mushrooms, chestnuts, truffles, grapes, wine, all the fruits of human labour and nature’s generosity.
From Oprtalj to Motovun
Kestenijada, which celebrates all things ”chestnut” takes place in Oprtalj on October the 13th, 2019. This fair which throws the spotlight on chestnuts and chestnut products, is the first event of its kind in Istria.
The Oprtalj area is full of chestnut forests, and this year, the producers of pastries and other food items which are based on or include chestnuts will be introduced. Pastry workshops can also be visited, and hunting trophies and numerous types of edible and inedible mushrooms will be presented.
Visitors will be able to taste chestnut-based salty dishes as well as mushroom stew cooked in a tranditional way. Of course, there are cooked and baked chestnuts that pair well with young wine and can be bought on their raw form. There will also be fun available for the youngest among us, so if you’re in Istria, be sure to visit Oprtalj next Sunday.
On the same Sunday, you can also go down to Livade for Zigante Truffle Days, which take place every weekend until mid-November. Truffles are a special item indeed for both Croatian and foreign guests, and during autumn, weekends spent in Livade have become normal, where tasting, buying or just getting better acquainted with Istria’s famous truffles takes place. In addition, guests can also taste other local products.
This great fair is also joined by the Tuber (food) fest on October the 19th and 20th, also organised by the Oprtalj Municipality. During those two days, visitors will be offered delicious gourmet meals, gastro workshops, a program for children, and various sport-oriented content.
From Livade, we go through Mirna to the town of Veli Joze, once again for the sake of Istria’s truffles, as well as an excellent Teran.
On October the 19th (Saturday), the 10th Teran and Truffle Festival will be held in Motovun, a one-day exhibition with tasting of red (black) teran and truffles from nearby forests. Teran (sometimes referred to as Terrano) is an old variety from Istria that dominated the Peninsula a hundred years ago, and was first mentioned more than 600 years ago.
This festival brings together Istria’s numerous winemakers, Teran’s producers who want to give it the significance it deserves, and the gastronomic experience is complemented by truffle dishes, with the emphasis, of course, placed on the truffles that are best associated with Teran.
Istria’s mushroom pickers will host several educational exhibitions. One of the more important and richer ones is certainly the Mushroom Exhibition in Pazin on October the 11th and 12th, which is being prepared by the members of the Istrian Mycological-Mushroom Association. The second yet no less important event takes place in Brtonigla on the 26th and the 27th of October and will bring together a dozen mushroom-oriented companies from Croatia and neighbouring Slovenia over those two days.
Mushroom exhibitions, competitions in mushroom picking and the preparation of gljivarski kotlić, and a children’s play are all organised. Local producers of wine, olive oil, honey and other local products will also be presented.
Istria’s vineyards are now full of pickers, and the grapes are quickly being transformed into quality wine. This is an extremely important business in Istria, therefore various wine festivals are devoted to young wine and to harvesting itself.
One such celebration is Bela Nedelja in Plomin on October the 6th. It used to be a fair day, when coming to Plomin from Rijeka, but also from Trieste (Italy) to present and sell their own products. On the same day, Bela ned(i)lja is celebrated in Borut (Cerovlje), and if you have the opportunity to do so, try to visit Kastav, just across Učka, where on the first Sunday and Monday in October, the autochthonous white wine of the Kastav region is celebrated. The festival brings together a young wine fair, a presentation of old Kastav crafts, a rich catering offer and interesting cultural events.
Rakija in Hum
The Festival of Young Wine in Svetvinčenat on October the 26th is also recommended, it involves the coming together of wine producers from Istria, all of Croatia, and abroad, and it has been taking place for 40 years. It is also worth mentioning the Istrian Rakija Festival in Hum on October the 27th, where the largest number of rakija producers gather in the traditional way and offer their produce to visitors for tasting.
Istria Granfondo (from the 18th to the 20th) of October
One of the most important sporting and recreational events is Istria Granfondo in Umag and Novigrad from the 18th to the 20th of October.
It is an international cycling marathon of which part passes through the central parts of the gorgeous Istrian peninsula and goes back to the coasts of northwestern Istria. Sunday, October the 20th is reserved for recreational family cycling. Last year, this event brought together around 800 cyclists from as many as sixteen countries.