What Our Grandmas Cooked
Discover the gastronomy of Labin area, all based on healthy bitter vegetables and wild plants. Wild vegetables are harvested in early spring from the meadows, forests, coastal marine limestone and wild gardens rich with asparagus, black bryony, nettle, chives, rock samphire and other green plants full of vitamins and minerals. Served as a sweet dessert or savory, Labinski krafi (homemade sort of ravioli) is the gastronomic symbol of Labin. Most restaurants keep the tradition of simple cooking using local ingredients, following the recipes of our grandmas. Shrimps from Kvarner bay are widely known for their quality and size, and they are accompanied with a large selection of dried meat delicacies dried in the Istrian northern wind called bura, from prosciutto to sausages and pork loin. On Labin Area Wine Road get to know the tradition of wine making that developed in the 19th century in the village of Sveti Martin. As for the truffles and cheese from Čepić fields, make sure you add some world known Negri, Belić and Oil Perin extra virgin olive oil on top.
Start your gastronomic adventure with a morning walk along the sea and through the olive groves in Maslinica bay to Teleferika, a former cable car and bauxite transport port. An easy 10 minute walk will get you to this monument of industrial architecture, which provides a breathtaking view of Rabac. Opened in 1925, Teleferika ran nine kilometers to the village of Cere where the main bauxite landfill was situated. The ships at the port loaded bauxite through two conveyor belts. After World War II the port will cease to exist and the cable car was dismantled. Today, the area of Maslinica bay, Teleferika and all the way to the base Labin Old town is a protected natural landscape where you can meet the profusion of wild vegetables, herbs and intoxicating spicy aromas. Then go up Sentona's trail from Maslinica bay to Labin Old town and discover the gastronomic delights of Labin.
Experience a blend of flavors, tradition and art at the 17th century Negri Palace. Today, the heirs of a noble family from Labin are well known producers of extra virgin olive oil Negri, which for several years now gets included in the guide of world's best olive oils Flos Olei. You can buy Negri oil and taste it with prosciutto, cheese and anchovies at a gallery with a centuries-old stone cistern inside. The guided tasting also includes Istrian Teran, Teran liqueur, biska and medica (homemade grappa) while you enjoy the exhibition of paintings by Labin painter Anessa A. Negri. In summer, the relaxing atmosphere in the evening moves on the stairs and the area in front of the palace, where as part of free night sightseeing tour with torches and a glass of wine, you can feel the spirit of the old nobility of Labin.
Guided tasting: by appointment only.
Art Gastro Gallery Negri, Negri Palace
G. Martinuzzi 11, Labin
T + 385 (0)52 875 280
M +385 (0)98 219 524
Krafi (homemade kind of ravioli) is the most famous Labin traditional dish. Although you can enjoy various types of krafi in other parts of Istria, krafi from Lain are the only ones served as sweet dish, either as a dessert or as a savory side dish with the main course. Krafi is a kind of ravioli that, in Labin area, are filled with cheese, raisins and walnuts with a sweet sauce topping and served as dessert. Savory krafi are served with meat sauce, usually chicken. Recently, krafi became a gourmet delight popular with tourists, thus besides the original recipe, most of Labin and Rabac restaurants offer other variants with natural ingredients, such as of honey with sage, flambéed with orange juice and cherry and mint sauce. Enjoy krafi in almost all restaurants, and friendly staff will be happy to explain how to prepare this delicacy.
On the way from Rabac to Labin have a break at a family restaurant with a long tradition of fish menu and beautiful views of Labin Old town. Following the tradition of crafty Rabac fishermen who were excellent seamen and owners of some ten sailboats, today the Dragičević family provides an unforgettable dining experience from their own catches, made by local recipes. With the best Istrian wines, you will be served a sardine fillet in vinegar and olive oil, cuttlefish brodetto with polenta, handmade pljukanci (homemade pasta) with shrimps or Kvarner calamari stew with potatoes in black sauce. Enjoying the tradition of Labin fish cuisine and finish your meal with delicious homemade pancakes with ricotta cheese, honey and olive oil.
Restaurant Due Fratelli
Montozi 6, Labin
T +385 (0)52 853 577
M +385 (0)98 366 498, (0)98 334 030
On the way to Baćac winery and Pićan pull over in the picturesque medieval town of Kršan known for its spring Wild plants Festival and Krafifest. Only 13 km away from Labin, Kršan is known for the tower and walls of the 13th century old castle. Istrian Demarcation, Croatian-Glagolitic legal document from the 14th century, which regulates the boundaries between Istrian counties, their feudal lords and Venetian Republic, was found in Kršan. The 17th century parish church of St. Anthony stands next to the castle.
The quality of Pićan wines was confirmed at the beginning of the last century by the Austro-Hungarian heir apparent Franz Ferdinand himself during his visit to Pićan. The medieval town located about thirty kilometers from Rabac is known for its 48 m high church tower, the third highest church tower in Istria. Since the 7th century Pićan was the seat of the Diocese as evidenced by many valuable sacral objects and paintings kept in the church and the parish museum, particularly the bishop's mantle embroidered in gold, a gift of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa. The Istrian Centre of Intangible Culture, aimed to preserve the tradition of Istrian music and dance, folk customs, handicrafts and crafts, is also located in Pićan. In the gallery gift shop near the bell tower you’ll find Pićan’s original souvenirs, local wines and grappa and a small ethnographic collection dedicated to Matko Brajša Rapšan, the composer of the Istrian anthem. Petivina - Eastern Istrian Vineyards Wine Festival is held at the end of May in Pićan. In summer the streets of Pićan become the scenery of Legendfest - Festival of legends, myths and stories. It is particularly interesting in November, when on St. Catherine’s Day (November 25th ) young Pićan's wine and olive oil tasting takes place, and in the village of Sv. Katarina (St. Catherine) there is one of the best Istrian production plants producing homemade pasta Marial. Wines from Labin area, central and northern Istria are presented to the public in late November at the exhibition known as the ‘Martin Off Labels’ (Leni Martin in the local dialect). In the nearby village of Kukurini visit the family winery Baćac which keeps the tradition of viticulture for more than 75 years. Join the guided tasting, snacks and Istrian music, and have a glass of the Goran Baćac’s award-winning wines, Malvasia Calypso Histria and Merlot Calypso Nera.
Guided tasting: by appointment only.
Winery Baćac, Goran Baćac
Kukurini 16, Pićan
T +385 (0)52 869 090
M +385 (0)91 186 9090
Blueness of the Istrian bellflower (Campanula istriaca), endemic species which in springtime adorns the streets of Plomin, together with seductive aromas of the local cuisine, are reasons to have a break in Plomin, one of the most beautiful Istrian towns. Dorina Restaurant is proud of the quality mark awarded by AZRRI (Agency for Rural Development of Istria) for preparing the meat of Istrian cattle breed called boškarin. Treat yourself with the harmony of quality local meat and indigenous plants joined in boiled boškarin with mashed leek and saffron with grilled potato medallions, or in boškarin carpaccio on rocket with cottage cheese. In spring, try the asparagus in fish cartoccio baked in foil with Istrian spices, in autumn pumpkin and ricotta ravioli in sage sauce, and in winter enjoy the cake with white chocolate and homemade dandelion jam. The hostess will be happy to offer their homemade carrot and orange marmalade, and a great variety of Istrian culinary delights is available from Plominka gift shop just across the restaurant. In the evening, have a romantic walk round the narrow streets of Plomin till you reach the church of Sv. Juraj Stari (Old St. George church) with the 11th century inscription, one of the three oldest monuments of the Croatian language written in Glagolitic script, placed on the outer wall. The relief shows the Illyrian - Roman god Silvan, the god of forests and herds.
Plomin 54, Plomin
T + 385 (0)52 863 023
M +385 (0)91 286 3023, (0)91 568 4000