Zigante TartufiLivade | Croatia

  • added: Apr 27 2010
  • author: foodsketches
  • comments:
Editor's choiceHidden jewel
Istria is the region in Croatia which is known for its black and especially white truffles! In Istria the truffles have been extracted since ancient times ...

What comes to your mind when somebody mentions the word “truffles”?  Perhaps you recall the flavour of your favourite truffle dish, or maybe even remember how you went truffle hunting, or you might think about the areas that are world-known for their truffle specialties. Perigord, Alba or how about Istria? Istria is the region in Croatia that treasures not only black but especially white truffles! In this region the truffles have been extracted since ancient times. Roman Emperors and Austrian-Hungarian aristocrats were well-advised about this delicacy and consumed them for their exceptional taste as well as for the aphrodisiac characteristic attributed to the truffle. In 1990, the Croatian family Zigante decided to establish their own business around the processing and sales of truffles. Since then the business has grown and developed to a renowned sole Croatian company that exports numerous truffle products worldwide. There are also a few Zigante delicatessen stores across Croatia and Slovenia that are well worth a visit. Giancarlo Zigante, owner of the company, has exemplary dedication and passion for what he does; he constantly improves, creates and expands his business. In 2002, he opened a Zigante restaurant located in the town Livade. The restaurant very quickly became popular among the gourmets and has won several awards. The main theme of the restaurant is, of course, truffles. Order truffle ice-cream! 

Giancarlo also made it into the Guinness book of World Records. He found the largest white truffle (with the help of his faithful friend - his dog Diana) near Livade on November 2nd, 1999. The truffle weighed 1.31 kilos! The Zigante family jointly decided not to sell this truffle, which was named “Millennium” also commemorating the occasion, but instead they chose to prepare a dinner for 100 guests with this truffle as the main dish to promote truffles and the Istrian region. This was an amazing and generous way of drawing people to his business and sharing his enthusiasm for his gourmet jewel!

While visiting Zigante Tartufi stores explore them in depth. The stores offer a wide variety of products with the main ingredient ‘truffles’: you will find olive oil with white or black truffles, preserved truffles in salty water; minced truffles, special patés containing truffles and other mushrooms such as boletus, fresh truffles (the truffle season in Istria is from 1st October for three months) and many more! The stores also offer a variety of other local delicacies such as various olive oils, including the infamous Frantoio oil, freshly made pasta, an endless variety of vegetable sauces with fragrant local herbs such as thyme, chives, basil, rosemary and fennel. For those with a sweet tooth, try honey with a slice of truffle in it. The taste is truly divine. The stores also offer a selection of interesting and tasty local wines as well as stronger local alcoholic beverages such as rakija and biska. The selection of the shops does not end here, you will even find: special slicing knives for truffles, wooden cutting boards and other useful gastronomic utensils.

Above all, visit the stores for an atmosphere: they are not big, but tend to be small and cosy with knowledgeable, friendly staff who are happy to tell you everything about their products, help you with your choice or assist you in picking a good present.

We certainly did not leave the store bare handed... We still have a few jars at home, however, the supplies are slowly diminishing and it is always a great excuse to pack your bag & discover new places!

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  • PULA: Smareglina 7, 52100 Pula
    BUJE: J.B. Tita 12, 52460 Buje
    BUZET: Trg Fontana, 52420 Buzet
    LIVADE: Livade 7, 52427 Livade
  • http://www.zigantetartufi.com
  • please see webpage for exact opening times as they vary for every location.
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