Istria, in Croatia’s north, has been part of four different countries in the last century and has the history, and the food, to show for it. A rugged, sun-drenched shoreline gives way to countryside flecked with charmsoaked villages. In contrast to beachy Dalmatia in the south, it’s relatively quiet and, for the moment, cheaper than neighbouring Italy – Croatia joins the EU in July, and won’t adopt the Euro for at least another year. Expect the food you would of Italy – cured meat, sheep’s cheese, pasta (gnocchi and ravioli), risotto, olive oil, grappa and golden malvasia wines. But most of all, expect truffles – the town of Buzet is devoted to the fragrant funghi. When you’ve had your fill, sample the culinary wizardry at Valsabbion in Pula, or retreat to the seaside towns of Opatija and Rovinj to feast on Kvarner prawns.
STAY: Monte Mulini in Rovinj has a spa and bedrooms with sea-facing terraces. montemulinihotel.com
MUST-EAT DISH: Restaurant Zigante specialises in truffle dishes from truffle-laced tagliatelle to truffled cheese. zigantetartufi.com