Gourmet Istria (Groznjan, wineries and olive oil)
The Istrian Peninsula has long been known for its coastal allure but inland you’ll find green hills sweeping down to fertile plains and traditional farms. Over the years, the region has developed a reputation for its fine wines, olive oils, seafood and truffles, becoming a gastronomic destination. This full-day tour with a private guide and driver takes you to some of Istria’s top-rated wineries and olive oil producers so you can see where the grapes and olives are grown and learn about the processes involved in turning them into award-winning artisanal products.
After being picked up from your hotel in Rovinj, Bale, Opatija or Savudrija, head north to a local olive farm to learn more about the growing, harvesting and pressing process. Croatia’s reputation for high-quality virgin olive oil is largely due to the preference for hand-picking olives over machine-assisted mass collection. As you learn about the processes and traditions involved, you’ll sample a variety of oils to see how subtle terrain changes can influence their taste.
From here, continue to the countryside outside Buje, where you’ll visit the Kabola winery, a family-run enterprise established 1891. A small winery that produces a variety of labels using malvazija, teran and muscat grapes, it’s best known for its tradition of aging and fermenting its wines in terracotta urns buried in the ground. This process creates a distinct taste with deep complexities. While here, sample several of their wines, paired with light snacks, on a terrace overlooking sweeping views of the countryside.
From the winery, continue on to the medieval town of Grožnjan. Dating back to the 12th century, the city was largely abandoned after World War II, but gradually became an artistic hub that attracted painters, musicians, writers and poets. You’ll walk through the town’s cobblestone streets with your guide, learning about regional history while seeing painters, singers and musicians performing or practicing in the squares and studios.
Your guide can make recommendations for cafes or restaurants here and you’ll have some free time to explore and have lunch.
The final stop of the day will be the Clai winery in the small village of Krasica. An organic, family-run winery, Clai uses a wide variety of grapes including malvazija, pinot gris, chardonnay, sauvignon and refosco to create their eight different labels. Take a tour of their facilities to learn about their philosophy of wine and the challenges of organic farming, then enjoy a tasting of their wines and olive oil, accompanied by bread and small snacks.
At the end of the tour, you’ll be driven back to your hotel.
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