What a trip of a lifetime! I thoroughly enjoyed luxuriating and night crossing with @TurkishAirlines Business Class. Thanks to Turkish Airlines and Share Istria, I slept! Business Class lay flat beds, dreams really do come true.
Making a great first impression was the luxe BMW transport from Zagreb airport to Istria. The BMW served as my four-wheeled magic carpet for the entire week while I received the first class treatment with service, food, wine, and touring the idyllic green rolling hills of Istria.
Technically a peninsula, Istria is the heart-shaped region across the Adriatic from Venice. That explains the lighthouses dotting islands and the landscape. A Croatian coastal drive along the Adriatic is like being in a movie. What spectacular seaside scenery! The only thing missing is Cary Grant, or George Clooney, by my side.
Istria is one big fat foodie alert and here’s just a taste why: Taking great pride, they make their pasta fresh, use ingredients from the farm, and drizzle almost everything in olive oil and truffles. The region’s wines and olive oils date back to Roman times. Those same roots planted eons ago are producing today’s best-in-class flavors. When in the area, you must visit the Wine Roads of Matosevic and Kruncici Village.
Put Hrast Restaurant on your list. This special place is asparagus proud. The thin and tapered vegetable is an authentic Istrian cooking must. (Spring is the season for new offshoots.) Hrast Restaurant offers new twists on pastas and desserts. Save room for Semifreddo, a better than ice cream, kind of like mousse, save the best for last dish. Save lots of room.
Here’s another one for your list: dinner at the Villa Elena. Our meal was created by one of the best Croatian chefs from the renowned Restaurante Zigante. The team came with a wine presentation served in our own villa. Talk about being spoiled – your personal chef and sommelier coming to your villa to share their best dishes and wine with you.
I’ll tell you one of my all time favorite stops: breakfast at the Karlić Tartufi. We had Istrian truffles, scrambled eggs with fresh truffles, local cheese and sausages, and truffle hunting with dogs. That was a special moment indeed.
Yes, I did write “truffle hunting with dogs.” Grown in the heart of Istria, truffles are one of the world’s most-prized foods. (Funny for an underground tuberous fungus.) Trained dogs help dig out truffles from deep in the forest. The dogs begin truffle-sniffing school at about 3 months of age. The trainer is the person who spends the most time with the pup and its future guide. Truffle hunting is serious business but treated as playtime for the dog. Learn more fun facts: Truffles. I so miss the truffles on pasta, honey, fresh bread, dessert . Please send some more over!
A HUGE thank you to the Istria Tourist Board, Turkish Airlines, and BMW for laying out the welcome mat to this fabulous place. Specifically, “thank you” to Marko Markovic, Manager Istria Tourist Board, for such an unforgettable trip. I salute you for providing a topnotch experience of the best of what Istria, Croatia has to offer. Thank you for such royal treatment. I hope to head back in the fall to explore more of your beautiful country.