In the last couple of years, Istria – particularly Portorož and Piran – has seen a great many "foodie" guests, the majority of which are from German-speaking countries. It's a great opportunity and a compliment, therefore, if a group of such tourism and cuisine experts sees it fit to invite you to their "home". What an excellent opportunity to present Istrian products and producers, as well as the tourism offer of the region in general.
This time, the invitation came from the Austrian region of Carinthia, specifically from the popular tourist destination of Klopeinersee. Just a stone's throw away, in the village of St. Kanzian, the Skias family runs the Villa Rose apartment hotel. Dr. Margit Skias is a successful communication expert and opinion maker; some time ago, she had the idea to start collaborating with Dr. Irena Fonda. The idea, soon followed by an invitation, was the catalyst for the birth of a team of experts on cuisine, wine and oil from Istria with just a touch of the Karst region.
Irena Fonda brought in wine-grower Matej Korenika of Korte's Korenika-Moškon Wine Cellar, marketer Maurizio Primani of the Sečovlje Salina, olive oil producer Goran Gregorič of Škofije's Jagger Oil, Parecag's Egidij Žiber – Master of the Sun, prosciutto maker Simo Komel of Kobjeglava and Dario Zidarich of the House of Cheese in Praprot in Karst near Trieste.
All that was left to do was to give the flavours and passion of Istria a common shape. The challenge was left in the capable hands of Samo Markun of Seča's Ribič Restaurant. He prepared an interesting and delicious menu using traditional seaside savoury herbs and Fonda's own mussels and Piran sea bass. To top things off, there were the traditional salt and flower of salt, Žiber's indigenous "štorte" olives, olive oil, malvasia and refosco. There was never any doubt that the family hotel would be filled to capacity – and so it was. The host Margit Skias and her mother Rosalia, backed by the Istrian team, invited other local hotel owners, friends of the family and a number of people involved in Carinthian tourism, all seafood fans. Margit Skias, who dubbed the business idea "Gusto & Passione," ended the night by extending an invitation for guests to visit Portorož to experience the next chapter of this event centred on combining flavours with passion.
Here is the Istrian Evening at Villa Rose menu
(chef Samo Markun)
Essence of the Piran sea in a crispy shell with truffle chaudeau
Wine – Pinot grigio, 2008
Istrian "fuži" pasta with crab
Wine – Malvasia, 2008
Fonda Piran sea bass with the sea and herbs on white polenta
Wine – Chardonnay, 2008
Fonda Piran sea bass fillet in a salty embrace
Wine – Paderno, 2007
Rolled cherry dumplings with elderflowers
Wine – Yellow Muscat, 2010
... and last but not least, a selection Zidarich cheeses.