Truffles are often referred to as “Black Gold” or “Black Diamonds” and they are the most delicious culinary indulgence. On all my trips to Istria, I always indulge in everything Truffle. What made these truffles even more special was the excursion of truffle hunting in Istria Croatia for Croatian truffles
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What are Truffles?
A truffle is an underground fungus that resembles a tuber vegetable that grows mainly in woodland calcareous soils. Truffles are a culinary delicacy found in most parts of Europe such as Italy, France, and Croatia. Istria is Croatia’s truffle capital.
Is a Truffle a Mushroom?
When I say truffle, I don’t mean a chocolate truffle, although those are good too. When someone refers to a truffle, it is usually thought to be a rare mushroom. Although mushrooms grow above ground and truffles grow below the ground, it is a type of fungus found at the roots of trees.
Where do Truffles Grow?
Most truffles grow near the roots of beech, oak, poplar, birch, pine, hazel, and hornbeam trees. Truffles can be found all around the world in North America, Asia, Europe, and North Africa.
Why are Truffles so Expensive?
Yes, truffles are expensive and definitely worth indulging in when your bank account allows it. Truffles are expensive as they are a seasonal item and are often difficult to grow. They often take years to cultivate. Truffles also have a short shelf life, you have to use a fresh truffle within a couple of days.
Truffle prices vary from country to country as well as vary depending on the growing season. Prices can average from $250 USD per pound for summer whereas white truffles can cost $4,000 USD per pound.
Black Diamonds of Istria
The black truffles are often referred to as “Black Diamonds” and are often found in the forests of the surrounding towns of Buzet and Motovun. The Istrian forests have some of the richest soils that produce the black diamonds of Istria.
Around 80 years ago, truffles were discovered in Motovun Forest. Istria has become a foodie’s culinary getaway to experience truffles first hand. It is believed that the truffles are magical and have an aphrodisiacal effect.
Truffles harvested in Istria are mainly used as a fresh food ingredient like the delicious Istrian Fuži with Truffles. The truffles are also processed in truffle food products such as cheese, spreads, oils, and chips just to name a few.
In 1999, Istrian truffle hunter Giancarlo Zigante along with his dog, Diana, made the Guinnes World Records with the largest truffle in the world. They dug up one of the largest truffles ever found weighing 1.31 kg.
Istria truffles are a culinary delight and a well-keep secret but the world is finally starting to take notice of the rare gems found in Istria.
Types of Truffles in Istria Croatia
When truffle hunting in Istria, there are two types of truffles. There are black truffles and white truffles. The premium white truffle (Tuber magnatum pico) grows between September and January, and it has an exceptionally intense, pleasant aroma. The summer truffle, the most common truffle variety (Tuber aestivum) grows in the summer.
What is the Best Time to Go Truffle Hunting in Croatia?
Autumn and early winter are the best times to go truffle hunting in Istria. I enjoyed my truffle hunting experience in early December. The temperature in December was still fairly warm and I only needed a light jacket. I would suggest wearing old running shoes or wearing the rubber boots that they provide. If you are visiting in other months, it is still worth visiting and experiencing these great tours.
Truffle Hunting in Istria Croatia with Karlić Tartufi
If you love truffles the best way to enjoy truffles is by experiencing truffle hunting in Istria. We had an exceptional truffle hunting experience at Karlić Truffles, located near Buzet in Istria, Croatia.
The Karlić family runs truffle hunting in Paladin, near Buzet, and was started by Mr. Ivan Rašpolić in 1966. They now have the help of their 12 dogs to go truffle hunting every day.
You will be in good hands when booking your truffle hunting adventure with the Karlić family who first started the unique truffle hunting tours in Croatia.
Before setting out with the dogs and your guide to hunt for truffles, you will learn all about truffles, truffle hunting, and their dogs.
They will prepare a tasting of truffle products such as scrambled eggs with truffle, the customary Istrian dish as well as charcuterie with truffles, truffled wine and liquor, and even truffle desserts.
After your belly is filled with all the delicious culinary truffle goodies, you will get ready to go our truffle hunting with a truffle hunting guide and their dogs.
It can get muddy out there so make sure to use the rubber boots that they offer for truffle hunting. Once you are ready, you will head out to the forest where the dogs will guide you to the truffles.
The dogs are trained to smell and dig up the truffles but just like you and I, the dogs think that the truffles are delicious and if not watched by the guide, the dog will eat the truffle. I can’t blame them as they are delicious.
Truffle Hunting and Food Tours Istria
Truffle hunting adventure: an adventure through Croatia’s countryside on a unique truffle hunting outing and cuisine experience. Book your experience here.
Flavours of Istrian gems Rovinj and Poreč with lunch: Explore the Istrian Peninsula during this 8-hour day trip from Pula and Medulin. Enjoy a typical Istrian lunch then explore Porec, where you can explore the 2,000-year-old ruins of Roman temples and a Byzantine-style basilica. Check for rates here.
Gourmet tour with wine, truffles and olive oil: Indulge yourself with a truly unique experience and discover all special tastes of Istria. Enjoy truffle hunting and a trip to Motovun. Check for dates and prices here.