Finding Balance

Istria, Croatia



When we travel, we always seem to bring the rain with us. We arrived in Istria on a beautiful, blue-skied afternoon, and woke up the next morning to a magical gray haze.


The advantage of “bringing the rain” is that quiet rainy mornings bring solitude to spaces normally packed with people. We enjoyed our long weekend on the mostly empty, rocky shores of the Adriatic reading books, sneaking in a golf game between rain showers, and lounging. We chose Croatia because it is the perfect distance for a quick weekend road trip, and because we’d heard it was beautiful. It did not disappoint.

Our road trip was easy and uneventful. Coming from Italy, we traveled through Slovenia, which we look forward to returning to for another weekend adventure.

While we enjoyed everything about our visit, our greatest unexpected pleasure was the amazing food and wine we encountered in the little corner of Istria we visited. Our favorite meal by far was a sublime Istrian Manestra (which is a sort of minestrone made with local sausage), served with roasted pork belly and a side of potato celery puree that was flavored with the lightest hint of local truffles. The meal was accompanied by a local white wine that had the wonderful mineral clarity of the wines we’ve come to love in our local-for-now Veneto region in Italy. When we came home from our weekend getaway, we did a little research about the area, and its local food and culture, and I’ve included a few of my “best find” resources at the end of this post. I’ve focused on links to recipes we’ve tried that are similar to the wonderful food we ate in Croatia, but I’ve included a few links that reveal a bit more about things to do when traveling there.

I’m excited to go back to Croatia, no matter the weather, to get to know this beautiful country a little better.

Check out the following Great Recipes and Travel Blogs about Croatia:

Istrian Manestra, or Istrian Minestrone from Heneedsfood 

The recipe we found that reminded us most of the Istrian Manestra we ate on our weekend adventure is from an Australian born to Croatian parents who “loves his cheap eats, fine dining and anything else between.” He sounds like our kind of guy! And his mantra recipe yielded results that we found to be absolutely delicious.

Roast Pork Belly from A Free Range Life

Like our favorite Manestra recipe, our favorite pork belly recipe didn’t come directly from Croatia. It comes by way of New Zealander Annabel Langbein’s blog, A Free Range Life. We liked this recipe because it is simple and yields consistently tasty results.

Ante’s Croatian Peka Recipe from The Recipe Hunters

We did not eat anything like this during our Croatian weekend, but we have made it since discovering the recipe online during our post-trip browsing. This is just a big cast iron pot full of chicken, potato, and onion goodness. We cheated and made it in our gas oven indoors. Peka is perfect for cool fall days! And The Recipe Hunters site is a treasure trove of homey, comfort food recipes from all sorts of different places around the globe.

Best Croatian wines you must try! from

This site is a solid resource for eating and traveling around Croatia, and this article provided a nice overview of the types of wines you should put on your “let’s try it!” list.

It’s Truffle Day in Istria from Rick Steves’ Europe

Rick Steves’ always gives great travel advice.

Don’t make these Mistakes when traveling to Croatia from Two Wandering Soles

This travel blog is full of fun information and stories of adventure, and is full of beautiful pictures. This article in particular, was a refreshing take on the reality of a travel experience that doesn’t quite line up with travel expectations.

Travel Croatia Guide & Blog from Chasing the Donkey.

This blog is totally fun and packed with information about traveling in Croatia–from planning to places, from recipes to Christmas markets. If you visit just one of the resources I’ve linked to, visit Chasing the Donkey.