Mare e Monti: fine dining by the sea

Eating our dinner at Mare e Monti in Umag

If you love good food, Istria is a great place to come on holiday. It’s long had a strong reputation for the quality of it’s konoba food, but how about fine dining?  Most of our dining experiences here in Istria are of the local konoba variety – and excellent they’ve been too. But, as part of...
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Croatia Restaurant Week comes to Istria

Croatian fine dining

Restaurant Week in the sun, what a great holiday idea! We’ve just had our first Restaurant Week here in Istria – and delicious it was too – why not come and try it yourself next time with a short-break holiday in Istria.   Following its successful launch in Zagreb last year, Croatia Restaurant Week...
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Cherry tomatoes in balsamic vinaigrette

Cherry tomatoes in balsamic viniagrette

With the summer rolling on and on and cherry tomatoes still so plentiful in the garden, I thought I’d share one of my favourites. My take on this is classic. It makes enough for the photo.       Ingredients 500 g cherry tomatoes ½ onion (thinly sliced) Handful basil leaves (larger ones torn)...
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A fig love affair

Delicious, scrumptious figs

One of the joys of expat life in Istria are fresh figs. Fig trees are everywhere, so growing one should be a doddle – or so I thought. I fell in love with fresh figs at a hill-top monastery in Crete, many years ago. Back in the late 80s, they were an unusual, exotic...
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Ups and downs, but summer stages a comeback

Nicky in mis-matched flip flops

After an Autumnal start, sun makes a welcome return. We focus on spreading the word: P battles with Facebook and I collect Twitter followers, but Google’s page one remains a distant dream. Get our first rental booking for next year, see friends and even get a swim – but our oven and my computer...
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Live Istria fires up, a cat winds down

Nicky picks grapes in the vineyard

In a hot, sunny week, I start promoting Live Istria, P tackles the water feature and the wood pile shrinks. We worry about Tally, then send her to the dog-house. I go grape picking and we drink the mušt – juice from the first pressing. The week then ends with a bang!   Monday...
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August – we all sweltered

Red campsis in August

One of the biggest joys of expat life in Istria is the wonderful climate for outdoor life.  However, while this is great most of the year, the final few weeks of high summer are always a challenge in the garden – for plants and gardener alike. This year, with temperatures soaring in Istria into...
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Figs cooking for papsta or meat sauce

When Nicky returned from fig picking with over four kilos of fresh Istrian figs I knew they wouldn’t keep and I would have to come up with some fig recipes quickly. Using basically the same ingredients, the first – a simple fig sauce – is great to spice up left-over meat; the second –...
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Property developers extraordinaire?

Aerial shot of site, right in the heart of old Pula

Like many people at the moment, we found ourselves searching for ways to generate more income and, in late December 2010, started looking to buy a rental property in Istria. Based on past experience, we knew it would take a while – and indeed, the hunt still continues – but in the process, another...
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Having fun at the Porec End-of-Season Party?

Mussels for sale at Porec End-of-Season Party

With bands and fireworks, the Porec End-of-Season Party in Istria is an annual bash held, rather strangely, in mid-August when the tourist season is still in full swing! We went down for a fun night out and to support Snježana and the Giostra troupe. Being our usual uninformed selves, we wouldn’t have known anything about...
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Live Istria is out there!

Nicky trimming wisteria with garden sabre

A week of early starts and a final push sees Live Istria finally make it into the world. I also found time to go out interviewing and fig picking. With no guests in the Little House until Wednesday, we planned some R&R, but you can guess how that turned out.    Monday, 5 September...
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Mugeba revisited


We started house hunting for another rental property in Istria, in late December 2010. After only our first afternoon’s viewing, it looked as if we’d found a great possibility. Would I be as enthusiastic second time around when I returned with a builder? What’s gone before | The hunt begins   When I first visited...
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Why we moved to Istria


We moved to Istria in early 2005. Having just sold our previous business in mid-2004, we had a lot of freedom when it came to choosing somewhere to live. Here’s a brief look at why we decided on Istria for our life abroad, and some of the ups and downs. (I’m interviewing everyone else,...
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I guess I missed my deadline


This week cooler temperatures make work in the garden a pleasure. But the heat’s on at the typeface, as I find there’s a lot more to building a Live Istria than I thought. The chimney is swept, we buy wine, Baggy gets lost and I keep finding courgettes.   Monday, 29 August It was lovely...
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Getting to Istria


Coming on holiday to Istria? There’s plenty of basic information already available on-line about how to get here. I don’t intend to repeat it here. But having travelled back and forth many times to visit family and friends in other countries, by air and road, I’ll instead be trying to pass on ‘insider’ tips...
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