Motovun forest is a deciduous forest formed on the alluvium of the Mirna and Butoniga rivers and represents a natural specialty of Istria and Croatia in general. A specific moist soil of the Motovun forest in the heart of Istria hides the biggest Istrian truffles, and the most popular and preciated is the white truffle or Tuber Magnatum Pico. The habitat of this most sumptuous and most delicate Istrian food is usually next to the roots of various local trees such as oak, poplar, linden or willow. And precisely about its symbiosis with certain types of deciduous trees its color also depends, which varies from light brown to pale green, while its fascinating interior is permeated with veins of darker and lighter tones and reminds of appearance of marble. A taste of Istrian white truffle match to its origin and includes aromatic nutty and earthy notes, and it is known as a powerful aphrodisiac due to its intense taste and smell. With the construction of the railway which was connecting Poreč and Trieste, the Istrian white truffle was discovered more than eighty years ago. The most spectacular catch since the discovery of white truffles in this area is certainly the Istrian white truffle weighing 1310 grams, which was found in November 1999 in the Motovun forest by Giancarlo Zigante and his dog Diana. It was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest white truffle founded in the world up to that time and Livade, with this discovery, started the formation of the world center of truffles.
The Istrian white truffle season lasts from September to January, so the harvest, or the hunt for white truffles, begins on September 1.The white truffle is a mushroom that cannot be cultivated in a planned manner. This makes its seasonal harvest a sensation for all gastronomic lovers and naturalists, and its discovery is a real luxury. Despite the attractiveness of the Istrian white truffle season, which attracts a large number of enthusiasts and the curious people, harvesting is approached exclusively with knowledge and responsibility in order to preserve the habitat and natural cycle of this priceless Istrian jewel. Except truffles hunters, the main role in finding Istrian jewels have a special trained dogs that search certain areas, following the instructions of the truffle hunters, thanks to their refined sense of smell, they find treasures. Due to the importance of the sense of smell when finding truffles, hunting usually takes place at night when the dogs breathe through their noses due to the colder temperature and therefore use it more efficiently. At the beginning of the season of Istrian white truffles and their harvest, in the restaurant Zigante, which is located near the Motovun forest, begins the preparation of gourmet specialties and the main star of it is this this most prized mushroom in the world. The exceptional expertise of the restaurant and great knowledge in storage enable the high quality of the white truffle presented to the guests. In addition to proper storage, proper preparation is also important to complete pleasure in this exclusive food. The seasonal offer is entirely focused on the fresh Istrian white truffle, which our top chefs combine with other local specialties, creating unforgettable and aromatic flavors for which this restaurant is recognizable. Istrian white truffles are the best in combination with the pasta and meat dishes and also they add a special flavor touch to chosen desserts. On the menu of the Zigante restaurant, you can find homemade pasta with fresh white truffles, Adriatic fish fillet or beefsteak combined with this valued food, as well as an ice cream delicacy with white truffles. To make the experience of tasting fresh Istrian white truffles complete, the wine list of the Zigante restaurant includes elegant champagnes and wines that ideally complement the flavors of the specialties.
Visit the Zigante restaurant this autum, the only Croatian restaurant specialized in Istrian truffle dishes, enjoy the aromatic flavors of fresh Istrian white truffles, made by our excellent chefs.