While exploring Istria as a Croatian tourist and enjoying the natural and cultural richness of the region of Istria you shouldn't miss the opportunity to bring with you some authentic souvenirs. While shopping in Istria, you will find numerous tasteful products that enchant you with their rich flavours. If you were wondering what to buy in Istria, traditional handmade products or gastronomic specialities are the best options for you. If you are more prone to visit shopping malls in Istria, don't worry, each bigger city from Pula, Rovinj, and Poreč to Umag has shopping malls where you can buy fashion products, as well as typical Istrian souvenirs. Enjoy all the flavours and picturesque sceneries that this exceptional region has to offer while you stay in one of our traditional villas in Istria.

Bringing Istria home: souvenirs and products from Croatia

Croatia offers a variety of unique Istrian souvenirs that reflect its rich cultural and natural heritage. The most popular souvenirs from Croatia include Istrian wine and extra virgin olive oil. For example, Malvazija and Teran are popular local grape varieties. Among other typical gastronomical souvenirs from Istria, you will find truffles or Istrian pasta called Fuzi or Pljukanci. These tasty souvenirs combine well with olive oil. Don’t forget to bring with you some Istrian Prosciutto and Istrian truffles, an underground gem found near the Mirna River. Some other examples of traditional souvenirs from Croatia are lavender products, since lavender fields are a common sight in Istria, especially in the summer months. Handmade ceramics and pottery are also interesting souvenirs with local designs. Another authentic Istrian product is kazun: mini-Istrian stone houses that enchant with their charm. If you visit hilltop towns like Motovun or Grožnjan, consider picking up local crafts, artworks, or souvenirs. When purchasing souvenirs, try to buy from local markets, artisans or shops to ensure the authenticity of the products.

Extra virgin Istrian olive oil

If you’re looking to buy extra virgin olive oil from Istria, you’re in for a treat. Istria is renowned for producing high-quality olive oil, known for its rich flavour and health benefits. It’s rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, making it a staple in the Mediterranean diet. Make sure to visit local olive oil mills and producers, since many of them offer tasting. While you choose the best olive oil for you remember to taste profiles, since Istrian olive oils can have various taste profiles, from mild and fruity to robust and peppery. Bottle design is also important, and many Istrian olive oils come in aesthetically pleasing bottles. Some of them also offer travel-friendly sizes or well-packaged bottles to prevent breakage.

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Istrian wines

Istria is widely known for its best wine varieties. Istrian wines are diverse, with both white and red varieties that showcase the unique terroir of the area. Terroir refers to the unique combination of factors in a specific geographic location that influences the taste, aroma and overall quality of the grapes grown there. When exploring Istrian wine, consider visiting local wineries for tastings and recommendations. Many winemakers are passionate about their craft and are happy to share insights into the unique characteristics of Istrian wines. The most popular varieties of Istrian wines are Malvasia Istriana, Teran, Muscat and Chardonnay. Some winemakers produce a more complex and age-worthy version of Malvazija known as Gran Malvazija. The result of extended barrel ageing is a richer and more nuanced flavour profile.

Istrian truffles

Except for olive oil and wine varieties, Istria is mostly renowned for its truffles, both black and white varieties. This underground gem is highly prized in the culinary world for its unique and earthly flavours. Truffle hunting is a tradition in Istria, and the region is one of the major European truffle-producing areas. Black Istrian truffle is often found in oak and hazelnut orchards. These truffles have a strong, earthy aroma and are typically harvested from late summer to early winter. White Truffles on the other hand are usually found in the Motovun Forest during the late autumn season. Truffle products from Istria can be purchased during the truffle season. These can enhance the flavour of various dishes from pasta to risotto.

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Istrian cheese

Among its diverse culinary offerings, Istria also produces a variety of cheeses. For example, Istrian Sheep Cheese is very popular for its texture and flavour, as well as Cow’s Milk Cheese which results in a milder flavour. Istrian Goat Cheese is another variety found in Istria, known for its creamy texture and distinctive flavour. One of the most popular Istrian cheeses is Truffle Cheese which can add a luxurious and earthy element to the cheese platter. Another interesting variety is Quark, Istrian cheese which is often used in both sweet and savoury dishes.

Istrian ceramics

While spending your vacation in Istria, you can find a variety of handcrafted ceramics, pottery, and other clay products. Istrian ceramics are known for their craftsmanship and unique designs. They are often featured in traditional motifs inspired by the local culture and nature. Common themes include geometric patterns, floral designs and representations of the Istrian landscape. Istrian ceramics designs can vary in the different parts and towns of their origin. For example, Pazin ceramics are characterised by a distinct red and brown colour palette, while Motovun Ceramics showcase unique designs influenced by the town’s medieval architecture and surrounding vineyards.

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Kazun - Mini Istrian stone house

A “kazun” is a traditional dry-stone hut or house that is characteristic of the Istrian region. These small, round shelters are often found in rural areas. They are typically circular or conical in shape and are constructed entirely from dry-stone masonry. Historically, kazuns had multiple purposes. They were used by farmers and shepherds as temporary shelters during inclement weather, but they also served as lookout points for observing fields. Kazuns are scattered throughout the Istrian countryside, particularly in rural areas, and they represent the traditional way of life in Istria. Today you can bring home with you small examples of traditional living in Istria in the form of mini-Istrian stone houses.

Other handmade crafts from Istria

Other interesting handmade crafts in Istria can be purchased at local markets and souvenir shops. Among them is Istrian Lace, a traditional craft known for its delicate and intricate design. Except for ceramics and pottery, woodworking is another traditional craft in Istria. Artisans craft wooden items such as kitchen utensils, decorative sculptures, and furniture. Other popular handmade souvenirs from Istria are olive wood products, or handwoven textiles including rugs, blankets, and scarves. Local jewellery makers, on the other hand, create unique pieces inspired by Istrian motifs, nature, and cultural elements.

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