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The king of Istrian gastronomy/cuisine, its majesty the Truffle is a true delicacy and a true gem for connaisseurs. This peculiar mushroom with a specific flavor and aroma can be perfectly intertwined with many dishes, enriching them with a special taste. Ancient Egyptians enjoyed truffles. Throughout history they were the subject of many legends explaining how they were created by a magic lightning bolt, while Cicero considered them the true children of the Earth. Istrians have known the allure of the truffle since ancient times and throughout history many kings enjoyed Istrian truffles.

Truffles represent a kind of a treasure hunt. They grow below the ground and therefore are found only with the help of specially trained dogs or pigs. The two most important species are the white truffle (Tuber magnatum) and the black truffle (Tuber melanosporum). The white truffle is one of the best kinds; it has the penetrating smell of garlic and aged cheese while the black truffle features a sophisticated fragrance that is reminiscent of garlic and fresh ground.

Istrian truffles
The place richest in truffles can be found in the Mediterranean climate, which in Croatia is the magical Istria. Its white soils (bijele zemlje), the particularly beautiful valley of the Mirna River and the mystical Motovun forest hide many secret places which the experts carefully hide, sharing them only with their trusty truffle-seeking animals. During the truffle hunting season, from September to December, in the sleepy dawn before sunrise, the seekers go out, loyally following their animal friends in search of the Istrian gold which can be really impressive. The largest truffle ever found was found near Buje and it weighed 1.31 kg, which was famously recorded in the Guinness Book of RecordsThe Istrian white truffle is among the most respected in the world; due to the specific soil and symbiotic plants, it has a truly distinctive aroma and taste.

Truffles in cooking
Experts say that the best truffle is the fresh one. Thin slices of it on meat, pasta or sauce are seductive notes that leave no one indifferent. Special delicacies are the achievements of creative cuisine, where you can taste truffles in cake, ice cream, creams and chocolate. Gastronomic combinations with truffles are almost endless, although in traditional Istrian cuisine you can find them lovingly grated on fuži, gnocchi, polenta and omelets.

Where to taste truffles
The town of Buzet proudly carries the title of City Truffles, while the little place of Livade is called the truffle center of the world. You can taste the most famous mushroom in the world in many restaurants, taverns and agritourisms, though its home is considered to be the Mirna valley, whose inhabitants are considered the greatest experts in the preparation of truffles. In many restaurants, taverns and shops, you will find fresh and canned truffles and products which are finely blended with this fungus, such as olive oil flavored with white or black truffle, honey with truffles, paté, cheese, butter, or various sauces with this delicacy that represent to the peak of the Istrian culinary offer.