Vinoteka Velum
© Vinoteka Velum

The best home delivery treats for Easter in Istria

What's available to order online to make your home a special place this Easter

Written by
Time Out contributors
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Istria is a region of varying soil types and just as varied geography, lending itself well to produce a huge range of crops within several micro-climates. With vineyards and olive groves perched on its inland inclines, interspersed with forests, rivers, and the sea never far away, it's a gastronomic paradise with every natural resource at its door. Great online co-operative Istrian market collects small growers and producers together and you can pick up all kinds of vegetables and fruits grown locally from them. But, if you're looking to push the boat out this Easter, here are some ideas of premium products that are available in Croatia (and internationally) which you can order online.

This shopping feature is part of Time Out Croatia's commitment to support retailers and commerce during the period of social distancing.

The best home delivery treats for Easter in Istria

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Neither smoked nor blasted by winds like the seasonal Bura, Istrian pršut (prosciutto) is helped along in its drying process by the removal of the pigskin prior to salting. The resulting meat can be extremely delicate and is best served as thinly sliced as possible. It lends itself well to moreish sessions of nibbling, the lean, meat strips melting in the mouth and best washed down with a glass of Istrian Malvasia.

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Istrian olive oil is actually listed twice on European books of produce protected by its place of origin. That's because Istria exists not only as a defined region of Croatia but also, traditionally, as a region that extends into Slovenia and both regions produce distinct olive oils. Istrian olive oil can be as varied as the region's geography and a range of indigenous olives, like Istarska bjelica, buža, rošinjola, karbonaca and žižolera, each impart differences in taste. As a first-time buyer, what you really need to know is simply that you've stumbled upon one of the finest olive oil-growing regions in the world. The size of Istria's relatively small output (compared to, say, Italy or Spain's) would keep its products quite secret if they didn't keep winning so many prestigious awards on the global stage. The region has many brilliant producers. The all-organic range made by Chiavalon is absolutely wonderful. The eco-friendly production techniques of Ipša gift us not only brilliant extra virgin olive oil but also fantastic wines. In 2005, theirs were Croatia's first oils to be included in the renowned Flos Olei world extra virgin olive oil guide and in 2017 their Frantoio olive oil was voted by the same guide as one of the best 20 in the world.

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Wine
Photograph: Scott Warman on Unsplash

Wine

According to the preliminary reports of Croatia's expert wine community, 2019 looks set to provide the best vintage of Istrian wines in a decade. The region's primary wine, Malvasia, is one of the oldest types in Europe and is grown in two-thirds of Istria's vineyards. Dry and best drunk while still young, while commonplace, much of the very best comes from relatively small producers like Degrassi, Clai, Marjan Arman wines, Fakin and Matošević. Istria's indigenous red wine is Teran, which has a strong, fruity flavour. Highly-prized since as far back as Roman times, you can buy a good version from many different Istrian winemakers. Coronica and Benvenuti make two of the nicest we've so far tried.

Truffles
© Olga Kriger

Truffles

One of the world's most expensive gastronomic delicacies, truffles are synonymous with Istrian cuisine, shaved onto fresh pasta dishes or added to steak-smothering sauces. Motovun's forest is the largest and best-known hunting ground and the river Mirna flows through its centre. The truffles usually grow among the roots of oak trees with the rarest (and most pungent) white variety fetching between €2,000 and €3,000 per kilo. Karlić Tartufi of Buzet is a family-run business which not only sells black and white truffles, but also an amazing range of products which use them as ingredients, such as cheese, flavoured oils and salt, butter, a chocolate spread and even a gin! Renowned restaurant Zigante also run a truffle business and shop where you can buy truffle-flavoured chips, oils, pate, pasta and cheese. Motovun's Benčić Truffles is a family-run establishment offering another huge range of truffle products, from salt to rakija and pasta. Prodan Tartufi, who are located near Buzet, will take you on a truffle hunt in person, offer some brilliant recipes for how to incorporate truffles into unforgettable meals and have black and white truffles available year-round. They also make truffle spreads, oils, truffle-flavored cheese, salami, salt, honey and marmalade.

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