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A Wine & Gourmet Tour in the White Truffle Epicenter!

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Priced From
$3,498 USD *
(For One Person, Double Occupancy)
* Plus taxes. Rates based on availability
7 days | 6 nights

Istria (Croatia), Slovenia & North East Italy

Istria, Croatia is a marvelous Mediterranean peninsula surrounded by a crystal-clear sea, miles of picturesque coastline and a lush green interior. With countless cultural/historic sites and unforgettable natural panoramas from hilltop villages, it is sometimes referred to as the “New Italy.” There is a treasure trove of gastronomic delights in its food, wine, olive oils and truffles…yes, truffles. This experience takes place during the White Truffle Festival in Istria. Two thousand dollars a pound may seem like a lot to pay for a mushroom, but October marks the start of the white truffle season and that is the time of year when this rare gem is showered on dishes – signifying luxury to even the most jaded palates. You will get a healthy share of this “white gold” as well as many other delightful taste experiences.

A Wine & Gourmet Tour in the White Truffle Epicenter!

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Itinerary Accommodations Map FAQ
VACATION INCLUSIONS
Round trip transfer from Venice Airport or Trieste, Italy Train Station
6 Nights Luxury Accommodations
Breakfast Daily
Luxury Ground Transfers
3 Dinners
4 Lunches
Wine and Olive Oil Pairings with Meals
Truffle Fair, Hunting & Tasting
Wine Fair
Cultural Tours Daily
All Entrance Fees
1 Cooking Class
Free Time Each Day
Optional Morning Healthy Activity
English Speaking Tour Guide
Wine and Olive Oil Sommelier
AVAILABLE DATES
Saturday Arrival, Friday Departure - Dates 2015: Oct 17–23, Oct 24–30 & Oct 31–Nov 6
SAMPLE ITINERARY
(click item for details)
Day 1
Round-Trip Venice to Istria Transfers | Chef’s Welcome Dinner with Wine Parings You'll be greeted at Venice International Airport and then traverse into northeastern Italy, via Slovenia into Istria, Croatia. A VIP welcome at Venice Airport and luxury round-trip transportation from airport to hotel await you. If you are already in Venice, a train to Trieste is your best and quickest option and we will meet you there. There will be a chance to settle into your luxury accommodations before dinner. Beneath the patio veranda on the Adriatic Sea with the view of the neighboring Sveti Nikola Island, Restaurant Palazzo welcomes you to Porec. Dinner will feature a chef’s multi-course tasting menu of traditional cuisine fresh from the land and sea, with wine and olive oil pairings.
Day 2
Daily Buffet Breakfast | Morning Activities Each morning, a full international buffet breakfast including fresh fruits, yogurts, breads and pastries along with breakfast meats, potatoes and vegetables are on offer as well as many items cooked to order. Relax and enjoy the morning by the sea. There will always be an optional morning activity of yoga, hiking or cycling to get you ready for the day. You won’t feel rushed as touring and planned daily tours won’t start until around 10 a.m.
Day 3
Medieval Motovun Walking Tour | Tomaz Wine Tasting Motovun is the medieval city located at the top of the hill overlooking Mirna river valley, with breathtaking views from the city walls. The city holds great historical significance, as you will learn from your expert tour guide. Make sure to have your walking shoes and camera! US Formula 1 champion Mario Andretti was born here. An afternoon wine tasting will be held at Tomaz Estate – famous for Malvazija wine aged in mulberry barrels.
Day 4
Honey, Beekeeping & Honey Based Cosmetic Products The Jankovic family exclusively adopts the migratory method of beekeeping in hives that are spread along the Mirna River Valley. In the tasting room, gourmet aficionados can taste various types of honeys such as acacia, linden-tree, lavender, chestnut and meadow herbs infused honey. Also offered are flavored honeys, honey-based organic cosmetic products and a honey-infused grappa called Medica. You will also learn about the history of beekeeping, various types of hives that were used in the past and the healing properties found in honey.
Day 5
Zigante World of Truffles Fair Every fall in only two spots on earth will you encounter the high-end quality and abundant quantity of the praised white truffle, Tuber Magnatum Pico. Gourmet aficionados flock to Alba in Piedmont in Italy and Motovun forest in the heartland of Istria in Croatia to enjoy this rare and precious gift of nature. Ever since Giancarlo Zigante, a local truffle hunter, and his dog Diana, dug out a white truffle weighing 1.31 kg on November 2, 1999, and the Guinness World Records listed this truffle as the largest in the world, the local community and Zigante family celebrate this event with a traditional truffle fair. Truffle-related events take place every Saturday and Sunday, starting on the last weekend of September and lasting until the first weekend of November. During your visit to the truffle fair, you will participate in an organized truffle hunt with a truffle master and his dogs. Enjoy a choice of homemade pasta or an omelet with truffles and a glass of local wine. Wine tastings at the wine fair will continue to enhance your day. At the Zigante Delicatessen Shop, tastings will continue. Although Giancarlo Zigante is considered to be the Istrian “King of Truffles,” the family also produces high-end quality olive oil and wine. Apart from fresh truffles, both white and black, many truffle-based products are available for purchase at this shop including various other wines, spirits, olive oils and gourmet delicacies from the region as well as from the rest of Croatia and Slovenia.
Day 6
Porec Guided Walking Tour Your guide will take you through the ancient quarter of the city of Porec where Roman architectural layout is still clearly visible and blends beautifully with Venetian gothic palazzos. Visit St. Euphrasius basilica, a sixth-century Byzantine-style church, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Day 7
Babic Olive Oil Estate Istrians press their organic olive oils from young fruit, which lends it a distinctly green aroma and hue. They are spicy and lend themselves well to so many Croatian dishes. Be surprised by the wonderful flavor of fresh strawberries and honey with olive oil drizzled on top! Visit one of the leading Istrian olive oil producers, voted among 500 top olive oil producers in the world, and enjoy tasting the oils with light snacks. The Babic family owns a state-of-the-art olive oil processing facility. Their tasting room overlooks the entire production line and provides an excellent chance to see first-hand how olive oil is made. Perhaps you will learn the proper technique of olive oil tasting if you don’t already know.
Day 8
Groznjan Medieval Tour | Kabola Wine Tasting The little medieval city of Groznjan is of great cultural significance, not only to Croatia but also internationally. Dozens of artists live in this city year-round and their studios welcome visitors. Kabola winemakers are famous for various styles of malvasia, a typical local grape varietal, and a special type of moscatto, as well as their recent innovation with the application of ancient wine-making technique devised in Caucasian Georgia. After being picked, grapes are put immediately into terracotta amphorae, sealed and allowed to ferment in the soil. Wine demands the freshness of the underground and it desires peace. Through the shorter or longer maceration in oak barrels and amphorae, the grapes gain particular dimensions. The wine produced in amphorae are the crown of the work.
Day 9
Kozlovic Wine Estate | Country Inn Lunch Kozlovic Wine Estate hosts an afternoon wine tasting. From generation to generation, the love of wine making has been passed on to this day and the Kozlovic Winery has become a tradition in itself and one of top destination in Istria's world of wine. This winery is renowned for arguably the best Moscattos (typical sweet varietal in Istria). Their recent experiment with Malvazija, aged in Acacia barrels instead of oak, gains more and more followers. A late relaxing lunch will be enjoyed with more wine, fresh products and oils. The evening will be at your leisure.
Day 10
Chiavalon Olive Oil Tasting After breakfast we’ll visit the Chiavalon Olive Oil Estate, one of the leading Istrian olive oil producers and voted among 500 top olive oil producers in the world. The love for olive trees grew with each visit to the olive oil orchard of Sandy’s grandfather, where he became fascinated by its slow growth, its beauty and the gift it gives after all the hard work. When the grandfather fell ill, there was nobody to cultivate the orchard, so while his boyhood peers were playing games and racing their bikes, Sandy’s goals were to learn each and every fact regarding the beautiful tree and to produce olive oil that would make the family happy. It takes quite a long time for an olive tree to bear fruit, thus only today we can see the results of that work. The entire Chiavalon family strives and guarantees with its name that the olive oil that reaches you will be of the utmost quality and the best you have ever tasted. This tasting will change the way you think about olive oil and will begin a love affair with this liquid gold. Special olive oil tasting glasses bring out all the best in the Chiavalon oils.
Day 11
Pula Walking Tour | Restaurant Rossignola Dinner You will be astounded during this walking tour of historical downtown with a visit to Arena (Roman Colosseum). Your guide will open up your mind to the culture and deep history of this magical town. Pula is the largest town on the peninsula and offers a diversity of attractions to lovers of culture, thanks to the richness of its 3000-year-old history, where every step takes you back through the years. The central attraction is the Roman amphitheatre, one of only six preserved in the world. Walk inside and follow the paths of the gladiators. While strolling through Pula you will come across numerous monuments of Roman architecture: the Triumphal Arch of the Sergi dynasty from the first century B.C., Hercules’ Gate and Twin Gates, the Temple of Augustus, Arena and Small Roman Theatre in the town center. There will be free time before dinner at Restaurant Rossignola, Valbandon. Passion and love for creating culinary sensations in an inspiring ambiance, imaginative chef and genuine hospitality are core values of this restaurant. An honest approach to culinary excellence is based on the season's freshest ingredients abundant in the North Adriatic and has been enhanced by the specially selected finest wines from Istria and beyond. The final result is the full splendor of taste, texture, color and aroma of your Mediterranean gourmet experience.
Day 12
3 Countries in One Day: Slovenia, Italy, Croatia One of the most photogenic cities in the Mediterranean, Piran, Slovenia has preserved its unsurpassed charm. Its proximity to the sea, coupled with its rich history, which is mirrored in the architecture, draw magical scenes. In Piran, you feel as though you have stepped right into a picture postcard. You will be charmed by the narrow streets within the old town wall. In the main square, you will be greeted by the statue of the most famous man in Piran, the well-known Giuseppe Tartini, a Venetian composer and virtuoso violinist who was born in a house just steps from the square.
Day 13
Bastianich Wine Estate, Orsone Restaurant Wine Pairing Lunch Joe and Lidia Bastianich, after years of experience around the world, have returned to Italy to realize their Italian restaurant dream with Orsone: Ristorante, Taverna and B&B. Located among the family vineyards just minutes outside Cividale del Friuli, Orsone was born of a strong attachment to the territory. A cozy, welcoming place with an international feel. Raw materials and great traditional dishes are revised with a personal touch, creating an “italo-newyorkese” contemporary style experienced on in Italy’s finest Bastinach restaurant. Its menu is constantly adapting to changes in the seasons, connecting the great classics of Lidia while discovering new combinations. The wine list, along with all the wines of the Bastianich winery, also offers a selection of the best Italian wines, with particular attention dedicated to Colli Orientali del Friuli. There will be free time for an excellent gelato, shopping as well as a visit to the Espressamente Illy coffee bar in downtown, and experience the Italian “happy hour!"
Day 14
Istrian Hands-on Cooking Class After breakfast, you will join the chef in the creative kitchen for a hands on cooking class based on Istrian traditional seafood recipes. Menu items will consist only of what is seasonal and was swimming in the sea a few hours prior. Through the wide spectra of specialties and wines of the region, get to know the authentic story about Istrian delicacies and the culture in this region. Today's Istrian cuisine is a result of many changes which occurred through the history of Istria as well as the influence of numerous nations who stayed on the Istrian peninsula for a short or long period of time. Lunch will follow the cooking class.
Day 15
Rossi Grappa and Wine Estate Winemakers since 1885, the Rossi family are fourth-generation wine producers. They cultivate their vines overlooking the Adriatic on land that combines country and coastline in a gentle sweeping vista. In Istria, Marino Rossi’s name is synonymous with stunning, organic herbal Istrian grappa: honey-infused Medenica, mistletoe-infused Biska or monovarietal grappa made from Yellow Muscat. Rossi Grappa and Wine Estate vineyards sit high on the hills overlooking the River Mirna Valley. The wind from the not-so-distant sea rolls in and envelops the mountains, creating a unique microclimate.
Day 16
Rovinj Walking Tour Rovinj is the pearl of the Adriatic; “beautiful,” “idyllic” and “breathtaking” are just a few words to describe this magnificent city. Feel the enchantment of the town in its narrow medieval streets and warm Mediterranean setting. From the plateau of St. Euphemia Basilica there is a wonderful view of the open sea and numerous islets in the distance. It remains one of the last true Mediterranean fishing ports. After your guided tour, there will be free time to explore the streets and romantic views. Relax at the Piassa Granda wine and cocktail bar or visit Kantinon traditional inn for lunch on your own.
Day 17
Farewell Dinner Restaurant Blu You will arrive in time to experience one of the most beautiful sunsets you have ever seen. Blu is an award-winning restaurant at a hideout by the sea, overlooking the panorama of Rovinj. You will enjoy high-end creative Mediterranean seafood cuisine while listening to the waves and enjoying the sweet smells that gentle Mistral winds bring from the pine wood surrounding the restaurant. Top-quality service in a relaxed atmosphere with delicious food will be a fitting farewell to your new gastronomic destination.
Day 18
Final Breakfast and Departure After a final buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be escorted back to the Trieste Train Station or Venice Airport. Thank you for your visit and we hope that you are taking home many wonderful memories.
Grand Hotel Palazzo
Located and built in this heritage city in 1910, the Grand Hotel Palazzo was the first hotel in the world to be surrounded by the deep blue of the Adriatic Sea. With harbor views and just steps away from the picturesque town of Porec, it offers its international clientele well-trained, attentive, multilingual staff as well as all the comforts for rest and relaxation: elegant rooms feature a flat-screen satellite TV, air conditioning with heating and cooling function, modern bathroom with underfloor heating, safe, minibar and free Wi-Fi access. A heated outdoor pool with pool bar, intimate wellness center and spa, restaurant, cafe and bar all provide a luxurious experience. The “Grand Hotel Palazzo” is the ideal base for exploring Istria, with its picturesque towns and fertile landscapes, wines, olives, truffles, seafood, Boskarin beef as well as many other delicacies that you will love! “Istria – the most beautiful side of the Adriatic”
Porec, Croatia
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What Currency is being quoted?
All prices are quoted in USD. The price quoted on the first page of a tour is always per person, double occupancy.
What does Double Occupancy mean?
Two persons traveling together, and staying in the same room. Tour prices are normally quoted as “per person, double occupancy” in case two people are traveling together and staying in the same room, but paying separately. The cost of the lodging is also shared by two people, thereby reducing costs. This could be a married couple, two friends or relatives.
What is a Single Supplement?
Whenever a person travels alone, the cost of their lodging cannot be shared by another person. When tour products are priced, they are normally stated as “per person, double occupancy.” Whenever a guest occupies a room as a solo, the whole cost of the lodging must be incurred by that one individual. Tour companies accommodate this by charging a Single Supplement. Epitourean does its best to keep the single supplement as low as possible, but it is a real cost that tour companies must absorb, and must pass along to the single traveler.
If I am a Solo Traveler, will I be paired with another person?
Epitourean never pairs a solo traveler with another person without a special request. If you book Single Occupancy, you will have a room entirely to yourself. However, should you wish to be paired with another solo traveler to save on the single supplement, you may make this request. We cannot guarantee that we can accommodate such requests, since it would take another solo traveling on the same tour for the same dates. But if requested, we will certainly try.
Is a Deposit required to book a tour or getaway?
Yes. We require a 30% refundable deposit for all our domestic (USA and Canada) getaways and tours, and a 50% refundable deposit for international destinations outside of the USA and Canada. Reservations made for destinations within the USA and Canada must be paid in full 30 days prior to departure. Reservations made for destinations outside of the USA and Canada must be paid in full 60 days prior to departure.
Are flights included in the tour price?
No. Flights are never included in the price of our land-only tours. Epitourean does not provide air, rail or sea travel, unless expressly noted in the itinerary.
May I give a culinary tour as a gift?
Yes. Epitourean has a special program designed specifically for this purpose. Our Gift Packages come with features such as special messages to the recipient, gift box option, gift link (without pricing), and floating dates (should you not know when the gift recipient wants to travel). Contact a Culinary Travel Specialist at 800-390-3292 or customerservice@epitourean.com to receive additional information about this unique offering.
May we request separate beds if sharing a room?
Yes. In most cases, Epitourean can accommodate a request for two beds to be placed in one room. Just make sure to make this request in the comments section of the reservation process.
Does each guestroom have a private bathroom?
Yes. Epitourean partners with the best lodging options in each destination, and private (en suite) bathrooms are a requirement. However, you should inquire as to the configuration of bathrooms should you have a special need. For example, some tours include accommodations in medieval villages, where either a shower or bath(but maybe not both) are present.
Can your tours accommodate my dietary restrictions?
In almost all cases, Epitourean can accommodate dietary choices and restrictions. But we do request that you ask a Culinary Travel Specialist prior to making your reservation so that we can assess your individual situation.
What is your Cancellation Policy?
Our full cancellation policy is stated in the Terms and Conditions when making your reservation. Cancellations with a full refund are allowed up to 31 days or more prior to departure for USA and Canada tours, or up to 61 days or more prior to departure for international tours. No refund is allowed 30 days or less prior to departure for USA and Canada tours, or 60 days or less prior to departure for international tours.
If I am unable to use a portion of the tour, can I get a partial refund?
Unfortunately, due to vendor and supplier contracts, we are unable to provide partial refunds for unused portions of any tour or tour component.
Should I Purchase Travel Protection?
We recommend that you purchase a Travelex travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more. For more information on the recommended plans or to enroll, click here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228- 9792 and reference location number 06-0248.

Travel Insurance is underwritten by Transamerica Casualty, Insurance Company, Columbus, OH; NAIC #10952.1308294
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