Its Majesty – the truffle of Istria

Year after year, we are approaching the whole century since the discovery of the Istrian truffle in the Motovun forest. In 1929, foresters noticed that wild boars take out from the ground and chew some sort of a smelly tuber. Later they will find out that this is a precious ingredient in the French and Italian cuisine. From then on, the voice of the Motovun truffle has spread to the whole world, and Istria has become its centre.

Every corner of the Motovun forest today is well-known to hunters and their trained dogs, who, early in the morning, while the humid soil adds to the smells, seek for “dry gold”. The Istrian country has two types of this highly respected and very rare mushroom - black and spicy white truffle. The white truffle is most appreciated and is ripening from September to January. Black truffles have several species, including the favourite black truffle that grows from January to spring.

There is almost no restaurant in Istria that does not offer dish made of truffle or truffle delicacies. Perhaps the most famous specialty is Istrian fuži with truffles. But people of Istria, as well as their guests, worship it in various meat dishes, with eggs, potatoes, pizzas and in desserts. Truffles have refined other trademarks of Istrian gastronomy too, so it is possible to taste olive oil or Istrian sheep cheese with truffles.

Thanks to the truffle, Istria found its place in the Guinness Book of Records. The local restaurant owner, Giancarlo Zigante found with his dog Diana the world's largest truffle weighing 1.31 kilograms in 1999 near Buje.

The Zigante's restaurant in Livade, at the foot of Motovun town, could be considered as a centre of truffles. However, it is just one of the restaurants that has been awarded a unique label of excellence, the Genuine Truffle, whose owners are all those who make truffles at the highest gourmet standards.