Istria is proud of its 2000-year-old tradition of olive oil growing as well as 11 autochthonous olive varieties. Each of them is special and used to produce well-known oils.
We’ve chosen 5 of the most common and widespread autochthonous varieties on our peninsula. The quality of Istrian olive oils is indisputably confirmed in the prestigious guide Flos Olei which puts Istria amongst the best olive oil producers in the world.
The most widespread olive variety in Istria
Buža is the most widespread olive variety in Istria. It is also known by a set of synonyms: burgaca, morgaca, domaća, gura.
The oil quality is excellent no matter when you harvest it - at the beginning (yellow) or at the end (dark). If it is yellow, the oil is pleasantly bitter and spicy. If it is darker, the oil is sweet with a fruity aroma.
The most resistant olive variety
The Istrian bjelica grows in the entire area of Istria and Kvarner and it is one of the most resistant varieties to low temperatures and winds. During maturation, the fruit changes colour from light yellow green to reddish with a purple shade.
This autochthonous Istrian variety produces distinguishable oil with a fresh green olive aroma. The oil is great and stands out with spiciness and bitterness.
A revitalized old olive variety
Karbonaca, karbonera or crnica is mostly grown in the southern part of Istria. It is an old Istrian variety which has been revitalized in the last decades. The olives grow in clusters and are easily harvested. If the harvest isn’t done on time, the olives wrinkle but don’t fall off. This variety gives a lot of oil which is spicy and bitter with a distinct olive odour.
The adaptable olive variety
Oblica is drought, wind and low temperatures resistant, and the stingy ground suits it since it is adaptable to various terrains.
It gives a ripe olive-odour oil slightly spicy and bitter with a prominent sweetness.
An autochthonous olive variety with many synonyms
Rošinjola has a number of synonyms: rosinjola, rušinjola, rosulja, rožinjola, rovinjka, rovinježa, rovinješka. You can choose the one you like!
It is mostly grown in the Vrsar, Rovinj, Bale and Vodnjan area. Its fruits grow in grapes on branches; the oil has a strong odour, spicy and moderately bitter.
We recommend you to have in mind the oil’s aroma and intensity when pairing oil and food.
Mild oils are best paired with fish, salads etc, while spicier oils better pair with stronger dishes. For example, bitter vegetables like chicory and rucola, cheese and bitter chocolate desserts are best paired with Istrian bjelica.
With sweets and cakes the oblica is best paired.
If you’d like to taste and purchase the best olive oils from Istria, look them up at Olive oil roads.