The truffle is now one of the most esteemed ingredients in modern cuisine and is looked at as a rare delicacy. The ancient Greek and Roman emperors were familiar with the royal mushroom, which had a strong aroma and was also popular among the nobles of Austria-Hungary and at the French court. It is extremely rare and only grows in a few locations in Europe, including Istria, some regions of France, and Italy. These locations are ideal for it due to their mild climate, little temperature variations, and gray clay soil.
White and black truffles have their natural home in the “Bermuda” triangle of Istrian truffles between Pazin, Buje, and Buzet, particularly in the valley of the river Mirna and in the Motovun forest. They develop underground, and canines with specialized training search for them. The month of October marks the height of the white truffle season, which is also the most expensive and coveted.
Then, on the weekends, a number of celebrations are conducted in Livada, a well-known truffle-growing region close to Motovun, in honor of this indisputable monarch of mushrooms. But before and after that, for the majority of the autumn, Istria celebrates the noble mushroom with a plethora of events.
Throughout the region, typical truffle meals are served to visitors, including fuži, pljukanci, gnocchi, fritada, and other combinations with meat. There are also exhibitions and fairs, which are fantastic opportunities to learn all about the mystifying, scented tuber that is said to have aphrodisiac characteristics.
Photo credit: Karlić Tartufi