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Mediterranean Cuisine

The attractiveness of the Slovene seaside, this northernmost end of the Mediterranean, was sung of by many poets, inspired by the Istrian hills, the sea, the salt-pans, the karst and its stone-house villages...

The coast, with its abundant vegetation, offers a wealth of culinary experiences, with fresh herbs and fish specialties.

In the Istrian culinary tradition the meals are most often cooked and less often fried. Key ingredients include indigenous, locally grown vegetables, herbs and spices. These are mostly mild in taste, but chefs often use the varieties that grow in the wild. Istrian cuisine is characterized by fish and poultry dishes. The most important ingredients are without a doubt the local olive oil and wine. Oil, wine and sea salt produced on the Slovenian coast are world renown products today.

Olives

The olive tree is a Mediterranean plant and thanks to the rich heritage associated with it, evident in mythology and also in the life of modern man, it is an inexhaustible source of stories. Due to the specific climatic conditions in this area, Istrian olive oil is known the world over for its specific taste.

Wine

An autochthonous sort of grape grows on Istrian land, from which springs forth the much praised Refosco wine. The typical white wine in these parts is Malvasia. Both wines are served with typical Istrian foods: prosciutto crudo, cheese, homemade bread and locally produced olive oil; bobiči (broth with corn), sweet Štruklji with meat (baked rolls, a traditional Slovenian dish), »bloody polenta«, wild asparagus omelette, traditional Istrian pasta – bleki, blečiči, fusi – risotto, sea life (in čežama sauce or in brodet, sweet bread, rolls or fried pastry (fritole).

Piran salt

Piran's saltpan workers produce their salt according to a seven centuries old process and still harvest it manually, with traditional tools.

The greatest secret of the quality and natural white colour of the Sečovlje salt-pans salt is the clay base of the salt-pans, covered with a thin layer of petola, a few millimeters of biological stratum, comprising minerals and microorganisms.

Salt production is entirely dependent on climatic conditions – the sun, wind and the sea – and the hard work of the salt men. This salt is light, rich in sea minerals and of exceptional taste, which grants dishes a noble aroma.

Fish and meat dishes

Istrian Cooked meat and fish dishes (fish, mutton, poultry, beef) are renown for the way they are prepared. »Žgvaca« is a meat dish garnished with indigenous Istrian spices. Many dishes are prepared in a padela (pan) or baked under a clay pot (with charcoal over it). We also prepare excellent fish soups, marinades and similar dishes. Despite some attempts of preserving and reviving the indigenous culinary offering there is a tendency towards modern culinary trends on the coast, which offers a wide variety of dishes: fish, meat, pasta and pizza.

Kaki persimmon

... also called the divine fruit, can be enjoyed only in a few autumnal and winter months. It was brought to Europe around 1870 and is grown mainly in Mediterranean countries. Cultivation on the Slovene coast and in Istria only began in the first decades of the 20th century.

The 'Solinar' touristic association from Strunjan is very successful in promoting the natural wealth of the countryside in the tourist offering. A traditional kaki feast held every year and contributes another point of interest in the municipality, which derives its potential from its natural heritage.

Asparagus

Wild asparagus is a typical Mediterranean plant. It grows on the edges if Istrian forests. As a dioecious herbaceous perennial it grows up to a meter in height. It is a spring plant, growing from mid-March to mid-May.

As the old Istrian saying goes: »April spareser, maio sareser« (April of asparagus, May of cherries).

Fritaja (Omelette)

A typical Istrian egg based meal. It comes in many varieties. It's a matter of imagination, taste and the ingredients available. Omelettes can be made with prosciutto crudo, bacon, asparagus, eggplant, mushrooms, truffle, young onion and other vegetables, snails and cheese.

Artichokes

The artichoke was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. At the peak of their civilizations they cultivated it for food and decoration. It was eaten cooked or raw. Later, it was largely forgotten and not until the previous century were its curative effects in cases of liver or bile disease discovered. The artichoke resembles the thistle and grows up to a height of 120 cm. The flower buds are usually eaten cooked. Mediterranean and Istrian cuisine has many exquisite dishes featuring the artichoke.

Osmica

For the most authentic culinary enjoyment one should visit an osmica, a cellar or farmhouse selling local produce (the term in Slovenian comes from the number of days producers were allowed to sell their produce on their premises without paying taxes to the Austrian emperor – eight days; osemmeaning eight in Slovenian) There are many open between November and June. A wine grower can have only one osmicaper year, and it can last up to, you guessed it, eight days. Here the proprietor offers his wine, homemade conserved vegetables, prosciutto and salami, olives, cheese, steamed sausages, home baked bread and other delicacies.

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