New Gastronomic Event Celebrates Indigenous Istrian Cuisine

Daniela Rogulj

March 7, 2020 – All lovers of traditional Istrian cuisine and indigenous local food will be delighted by a new gastronomic event, which will be held from March 13 to April 12 at taverns in Kanfanar, Svetvincenat and Bale. 

“Tradizione a tavola: jela iz pinjate” is a new gourmet story in which the first edition will feature four famous Istrian taverns, Kod Kancelir (Bale), Castello (Svetvincenat), Kononba Klarici (Klarici) and OPG Pekica (Pekici), reports Glas Istre.

The springtime is still an excellent time for exquisite, hearty meals that nourish the palate and invigorate the body, especially if they are made from homemade ingredients. At affordable prices for a three-course menu, the aforementioned taverns will offer all visitors a range of traditionally prepared, warm dishes, as prepared by their grandmothers, and developed by numerous generations of Istrians. 

Director of the Svetvincenat Tourist Board Dean Pustijanac said that in tourism, it is always important to present what makes us special and what makes us different from others, and Istria’s rich gastronomic tradition is definitely their comparative advantage. Apart from the fact that it is imperative to pass on the recipes to the younger generations, traditional gastronomy is undoubtedly one of the motives for tourists to visit.

The menu will include, among other things, jota of cabbage and beets, noodles with fennel, salt or truffle, as well as traditional Istrian pastas, pljukanci, fuži, gnocchi and ravioli in various combinations, including pancetta and sheep cheese. In addition to homemade pasta, numerous guests will be able to taste Istrian prosciutto, wild asparagus, wild game or home-grown chicken, and Istrian Boskarin dishes. Local wines from Istrian winemakers will accompany all dishes.

“We were a very big family and we mostly were in agriculture, we had cows and sheep, and there was always a lot of work to do, but we made meals that didn’t need to waste a lot of time, and again it was delicious and healthy. That’s why a lot of pljukanci was made, and we ate them with grated dried skuta, pancetta, asparagus, and so on. It used to be a poor dish and today it is much appreciated and is available in all taverns and restaurants. The gnocchi was a little more delicate and appreciated, so we made them mostly on Sundays, with chicken sauce and the like,” said Maria Ferlin.

Alica Jelenic added that there were no refrigerators during their childhood, so everything was mostly consumed on the same day, and it was not uncommon for several women to get together to make homemade pasta to feed their larger family. It is these stories, with the demonstration of traditional pasta and dishes, that is a fragile but crucial thread that can bring tourists to Istria and turn them into grateful returning guests.

“This is a unique project that shows where our gastronomy comes from and how it drives tourism development. The mere fact that we have people around us who, in traditional ways, produce homemade food that we then market, is something precious and irreplaceable. I think that lies in the future of our tourism and economy, because it all revolves around our homemade prosciutto and cheese, homemade gnocchi and pljukanci and all other foods. Such manifestations show how tough and innovative our hospitality profession is, how much it nurtures the past because this is our future. Once again, a big thank you to all our daughters who pass on to their younger generations their great and valuable knowledge and love for traditional cuisine that otherwise would disappear in the face of modern culinary tendencies. This is another step where we have to show our big heart and once again prove to ourselves that we can launch an economic boom by basing all our catering on local products. This is the goal, and our tourism must be based on domestic agriculture, and then our guests will support us,” said the President of the Istrian Guild of Caterers at the Chamber of Crafts, Stanislav Briškoski.

The event is the result of the cooperation of the tourist boards of Svetvincenat, Bale and Kanfanar with the tourism company Maistra d.d. and the Rovinj Craftsmen’s Association for the development of gourmet products. It is a combination of tradition and top Istrian gastronomy, which by its unquestionable quality, attracts the attention of true gourmet experience fans, continually enriching Istria’s offer and putting it on the world gourmet map again, attracting more and more visitors from day to day. However, in all this, local guests should not be forgotten, who also need to be tempted by the quality offer of food and drinks at affordable prices, and that will be provided to them from next Friday.

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