Boškarin is an ancient breed of dual-purpose dairy and beef cattle that is indigenous to Istria and has been a part of the region’s cultural heritage for centuries.
The breed is known for its plain grey coat, large horns, and a weight of 1.5 tons, it looks very rustic. The meat of the Boškarin is lean and rich in flavour due to the cattle’s diet of wild herbs and grasses that grow in the Istrian peninsula.
Additionally, the Boškarin breed was nearly extinct in the 20th century, but thanks to conservation efforts, it has made a comeback in recent years, making Boškarin meat a rare and sought-after delicacy. Farming of Boškarin is subsidised by the AZRRI agency for the rural development of Istria. There is currently a population of 350 cows and 8 bulls. Recently, 12 Boškarin cattle have been transported to the Tauros programme breeding site in the Velebit mountains in Croatia as part of rewilding efforts by Rewilding Europe and the Tauros programme.
One popular preparation method is slow-roasting the meat after marinating it with olive oil, garlic, and local herbs. The meat can also be grilled or barbecued and served with a side of Istrian truffles, which are also a local delicacy. Another traditional dish made with Boškarin meat is maneštra, a hearty soup made with various vegetables and beans. The meat can also be used to make Boškarin salami, which is a popular local product.
In conclusion, Boškarin is much more than just a type of cattle. It embodies the cultural heritage and culinary richness of Istria, and its meat is a delicacy that reflects the region’s unique terroir. As you have learned, the Boškarin breed has faced significant challenges, but thanks to the efforts of conservationists and local farmers, its meat is now available to be enjoyed by foodies and gourmets alike. If you ever have the opportunity to taste Boškarin, we highly recommend that you do so. You’ll be savouring not just a delicious meal, but a piece of Istrian history and tradition.
Photo source: www.nacional.hr, www.novilist.hr