Truffle Hunting in Istria, Croatia, ReadyClickAndGo

The trademark of Istria is the smelly, wrinkled, gnarled, underground-growing fungus also called black diamonds as its price rivals that of gold – truffles. Truffles thrive in the claggy damp clay soil and oak forests around Motovun and in a typical year 3,000 truffle hunters with 12,000 dogs will hit the slopes of Istria looking for this extraordinary delicacy. They smell like a randy male boar which is why randy sows are best to snuffle them out and the smell sends them crazy with delight – the hunter has to snatch them quickly from the slavering jaws of the delighted pig before they scoff them. So most truffle hunters use specially trained dogs. Three varieties of black truffle can be found here all year round, plus the prized white truffle, tuber magnatum pico, said to rival those of Alba, Piedmont and Provence. The white truffle season kicks off on second Saturday in September at Buzet’s Subutina Festival, with the making of a giant omelette which made from 2,013 eggs and 10lbs of truffles.

Truffle festivals are held throughout the autumn, and this year, 2013, they will be held in Motovun on the 28-29th September, in Livade at the 20th Tuberfest on the 4th – 6th October, and Buzet’s culinary festival 2rd – 3rd  November, all attract gourmets from around the world in search of one of the most precious and most costly aphrodisiacs – prices start at 1,500 Euros per kilo and reach extraordinary heights. In addition the Zigante family firm organises Truffle Days in Livade throughout the autumn.

You can go on a truffle-hunt with a proper hunter and his dogs, then go to a restaurant to dine on wonderful seasonal food garnished with truffles – look for restaurants with the ‘Tartufo Vero’ certificate. The best – and most expensive – truffle restaurant in the region is Zigante in Livade just below Motovun where the entire menu features truffles including the ice cream – it was Mr Zigante who found a world-record-beating one. White truffles are served raw, black ones briefly cooked, then thinly sliced or grated onto warm pasta, fish or steak.

If you would like to go on a truffle hunt on the forested slopes of Istria, followed by a special gourmet lunch and a spot of sightseeing in the afternoon in one of the delightful hilltop villages of the region, we can arrange an English-speaking guide, car and driver to meet you at your hotel or cruise ship in Rovinj or Porec and take you off on a thoroughly memorable private day trip. Please email for more information.



About the author: Tara


The travel professional with years of experience in the travel industry – in guiding, reservations, operations, contracting, customer service and product development – and have travelled extensively in Asia and Eastern Europe not just on holiday but also for work, inspecting hotels, visiting attractions and seeing exactly what each destination has to offer. The only way I could do this properly was with my own guide, car and driver and this inspired me to create my own range of customised private day tours for other people to be able to explore in-depth and learn to love their destination as much as I do.