A Diamond in the Rough: Croatian Truffles

Truffles are deemed an expensive delicacy and Michelin Star Restaurants around the world are infusing their recipes with this buttery taste.

Truffles are one of the most expensive delicacies on the market. And by expensive, we mean as much as A$5,000 per kilo, especially white truffles. But did you know that France and Italy aren’t the only places where you can get truffles? Croatia has joined the coveted commercial race.

Istria, Truffle Capital of Croatia

Say hello to Istria, the truffle capital of Croatia, the only place in the world where you can still enjoy a A$23 pasta dish with abundant white truffle shavings on top. The same dish would be at least $50 in Milan, and probably more in Paris and London.

Photo: Pasta-truffle dish.

Truffle hunting in Istria is nothing new, it started in 1929. But it is only recently that the people of Istria started to import their truffles. While it’s true that truffles from France and Italy are more popularly known, Croatian truffle quality is no different, if not better. A lot of their priced fungi are still being sold locally and used in local restaurants. The abundance of it in the region also means truffle dishes sans exorbitant prices.

It’s the Motovun Forest in Istria that truffle hunters call their playground. Armed with their special sniffing dogs, they try to find the prized Istrian white truffle or the Tuber magnatum pico (usually from September to January) and the more common black truffle or Tuber aestivum (during summertime). The forest is known to have moist soil and is heavily bombarded with oak trees, making it a great environment for the fungi to grow.

Photo: Truffle products in Istria

Croatian Truffle Dishes

Pasta is the number one go-to dish for truffles. So what pasta dish should you try when in Croatia? The Istrian fuži pasta is the only answer. They make their pasta fresh, and though the sauce is simple (sour cream, parmesan, egg yolk, butter, and truffle), it will keep you coming back for more.

Photo: Creamy carbonara with truffles

A truffle frittata is great if opting for a quick breakfast. It’s just like an omelet, but with grated truffles, salt and pepper, and minced parsley. And to make your bread appetizers gourmet, all you have to do is add truffle spread! The Croatians mix tartufata on their toast with cheese spread, salt, pepper, topped with fresh chives and chopped spring onions.

So, if you truly are a lover of all things truffle, you’d best be on your way to Istria, or you could also enjoy the truffle festival in autumn next year.

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