With fewer crowds, a year-round micro-climate and some of the tastiest truffles in the world, Istria is one of Croatia’s best-kept secrets.

An optimum time for numerous delicacies including oysters, truffles, and traditional white wine, with the Malvasia grape the native Istrian variety plus a stream of exciting music and film events including the 70th anniversary of Pula’s film festival, historical estate Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery shares its top tips ahead of summer…

For foodies:

Having been on the truffle map since the early 1990s, Istria is a forager’s haven. As one of the country’s best-kept secrets, Istria’s dense forest is home to rocky ground, a moist environment and hidden troves, where both black and white truffle varieties thrive. Known as the ‘truffle capital’, Meneghetti provides hotel guests with private access to local hunting tours through Motovun Valley, with the option to bring their findings back for dinner.

Encased by multiple fjords shaped by the Pazinčica River, Istria is also bustling with plump and flavourful Adriatic oysters. Famed for its floating oyster-shucking bar, Meneghetti offers visits to the nearby ramshackle phenomenon of Lim Fjord, where humble tastings combine the freshet of mollusks (for just a few euros) with a glass of traditional Malvasia. Back at the hotel, Head Chef Damir Pejčinović’s is committed to a zero-kilometre cuisine, with a 1.5-hectare garden growing 44 different species of fruits, vegetables and herbs, and a menu that holds firm on farm fresh flavours, including the signature hand-chopped beef steak tartare and artichoke and truffle ravioli.

For music heads:

Boasting a vibrant music scene, the summer festival season presents an exciting lineup for visitors to Istria year on year. The annual return of Vrsar Music Festival from 12th-15th September brings a familiar blend of folklore, orchestra and choir music, while Pula’s ancient Roman amphitheatre is set to host a stream of unforgettable musical concerts, including celebrated instrumentalist and singer Lenny Kravitz on 28th July and Dua Lipa making her debut last month. With its architectural beauty and historical prowess, the Pula Arena is one of the best-preserved theatres in the world, and one of Croatia’s most standout music destinations, hosting just 7,000 guests at a time. Intimate festivities continue over on the west coast, with Brijuni National Park celebrating the 70th anniversary of Pula’s film festival with daily film and musical screenings throughout summer amidst the drama of the groves and pine forest, of which guests of Meneghetti are treated to exclusive tickets and transportation.

For oenophiles:

Famed for its quality wine, Istria is often referred to as a little Tuscany. As one of the oldest winemaking regions in Europe, the region weaves a tapestry of flavours stretching from the ancient streets of Pula to the architectural beauty of Rovinj’s Euphrasian Basilica. Intrinsic to the guest experience is Meneghetti’s winery, where a microclimate aids a blend of cool evening air, and versatile soil supports prolonged grape life, resulting in bottles equivalent to those of Provence and Bordeaux. Claiming the title of Croatia’s leading wine, Meneghetti produces a diverse catalogue spanning sparkling rosés, robust reds, and zingy whites, of which the medium-bodied and creamy Malvazija is a worldwide best-seller. With the number of British Brandy drinkers on the rise, lovers of the traditional distilled wine will be pleased to hear Meneghetti’s resident brandy is aged for 12 years and holds a fruity yet oaky aroma.

A look to autumn:

  • Food: Throughout November, Istria is the proud host of the Zigante Truffle Days festival, held in the village of Livade, offering unique truffle hunting experiences, including guided hunts, culinary workshops and tasting sessions
  • Music: World-famous violinist and conductor Andre Rieu will take to Croatia’s largest indoor arena, Arena Zagreb on 15th November, accompanied by the Johann Strauss orchestra for an evening that blends waltzes and classical music delights
  • Wine: With grapes reaching the perfect maturity, November is prime harvest for wineries across the region, celebrated with Istria Wine Festival in November, offering a chance to meet local winemakers and enjoy exclusive tastings

Rates start from £210 per night on a B&B basis
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