Istrian ham is the pride of the Istrian man, his symbol for the benefits of a balanced rhythm with Nature. Istrian ham
is related to the legend of Bura, a young and beautiful girl who praised her own beauty too much and who God struck with lightning
because of her arrogance. The story says that since then, whenever a woman commits a similar sin, she sighs bitterly, and
her sighs become a strong and cold wind, which brings clarity and simple beauty. This is what Istrian ham is like, a unique
combination of extremely high quality meat, a special recipe, enriched with sea salt and natural spices, dried only in the
wind called Bura. Cut into thin slices it represents the beauty of simplicity and the uniqueness of Istria which melts in
the mouth and conquers with a misleading fragrance.
The uniqueness of Istrian ham
absolutely authentic Istrian product is unique in the world because of the quality of its ingredients and the preparation
method that haven’t changed for centuries. The special technology for ham preparing and the microclimatic conditions
result in a supreme product. Istrian ham is legally protected and has a geographical origin; it must be produced only in the
hinterland of Istria, at least 12 kilometres away from the sea.
It is characterized by extremely
red-coloured meat, with no adipose tissue and by an intense flavour and aroma. The animals are fed and kept separately, so
the meat of Istrian ham does not contain additives or nitrates, which are harmful to one’s health. Unlike
other dry-cured hams, the Istrian one dries without smoke, solely with the help of clean air, which is why it does not contain
dangerous carcinogenic substances. Processed hams are dry-cured only with sea salt and natural spices - pepper, rosemary,
bay leaves and garlic. It is produced in the wintertime, with the first day of a fresh wind, and it is drought the next five
and matured twelve months.
Where to try the Istrian ham
Istrian ham will be offered
to you on almost every table, in the warm home of Istrian people, in many restaurants,
in traditional taverns and agrotourisms, as a beginning of every good meal, but also as
a unique ingredient in many traditional dishes.
Tinjan is considered to be its home and was proclaimed the region
of Istrian ham, where every year the best Istrian ham producers as well as those from other parts of the world gather together.
Here there is a great number of ham productions that create this superb culinary delicacy. In this part of Istria, it is called
“vijulin”, which means violin, because of its softness, tenderness, sweetness and uniqueness, and also because
of how it is sliced; it must be done carefully and gently, like playing the expensive instrument.
Istrian ham can
be eaten alone, when picking it with the fingers it reveals all its density, or in one of the traditional dishes like scrambled
eggs, Istrian fritatta, then in addition to the queen of spoon food, - maneštra, or stuffed into meat dishes, sometimes
in addition to pasta or just gently fried in golden olive oil. Whatever combination
you try, do not forget to taste it with some of the excellent Istrian wines, rounding off
your original Istrian gastronomic experience.