You may have clicked on this because of the title, but to our friends who have been to Croatia, I am upset that you didn’t convince us to come here sooner. And to our friends who haven’t been to Croatia yet, YOU NEED TO GO!
I am afraid to tell you how amazing our last few days have been exploring the Istrian peninsula because I want to keep this place a secret. I might be over zealous because of how fresh the taste of Istrian black truffles are in my mouth, but I think it may be better than Tuscany. It has all of the charm, but isn’t full of tourists and really expensive hotels! (sidebar – we are here in the off season.) It is on the Adriatic Sea so you get amazing seafood with your pastas along with mouth watering Prsut (Croatian prosciutto).
The town of Rovinj is set on a beautiful hilltop right on the sea and is still a very functioning fishing town. The cobbled streets and archways are the prettiest I have seen in Europe. I think we are extra lucky because there are only locals here this time of year. They say it gets busier in the summer but for now we are just having our cappuccinos and gelatos with the locals. This area is basically an extension of Italy, and was part of the Venetian empire for centuries. All of the signs are written in Italian and Croatian, so we are all boning up on our Italian!
Yesterday we went for a drive through the countryside to visit some wineries and more old hill towns and the views, wine, and experience was absolutely fantastic. It was one of the best days of the whole trip! We finished the day with an incredible meal at Konoba Mondo, recommended by Anthony Bourdain because of their use of the local specialty, black truffles. It more than lived up to the hype. What an amazing day.
To my wine-loving friends, the wine here is also fantastic and unique. They have grapes I have never heard of before like Teran (sort of like a Zinfandel to me) and Malvazija (a crisp and interesting white). The wineries are first class and most of their wine stays in country or goes to Europe. I will be seeking it out back home! And it’s still inexpensive relative to Tuscan wines.
Most nights in Rovinj, we walk down to see the sunset over the Adriatic. Sitting on the rock cliffs with a bottle of wine, we wonder how we didn’t know about this place until now. So I am telling you all now, but don’t share it with too many people because I don’t want this place to turn into Tuscany!