Gušt is a specific Croatian word. Stemming from the Italian “gusto”, meaning “taste”, it is far more than just a flavour of food. Gušt can be enjoying the sunshine, having a nice snack, drinking a wine in a beautiful cellar. Something like German Gemütlichkeit. By chance, in Persian language “gusht” means meat, and this is yet another evidence that our ancestors came from Iran! For instance, in Žminj gušt is also tied to meat. Not any meat, of course. In the awarded family manufactory of Milan Udovičić beautiful Istrian sausages and salami come to life. And they are definitely a gušt in every sense!
Mr Milan is a meat expert in any sense. He learned his job of sausage making in Gavrilović high school, a prestigious school for meat production. For a long time he worked in Istrian meat factory Puris, and several years now he is advancing his own family venture. Differences are huge, says Milan, but proudly points to the golden awards for his Istrian sausages with harmless natural mould. We arrived at his home in Žminj in the morning and found him already busy with orders. Everything he manufactures, he sells. That is how good his products are!
The most cherished product from his small home factory is by far the Istrian sausage, based on the long tradition of Istrian families, and an extraordinary blend of flavours and fragrances of Istria. This sausage is characteristically mild and with a discrete flavour, typical for Istrian cured meat products which are air-dried without the use of smoke. Since many Croats and their guests know for spicy and full-flavoured sausages, the Istrian sausage may be a totally different experience, but without a doubt a good one.
A special thing of Milan’s production is the white natural mould, based on a long-learned technology. Throughout the curing process, this mould grasps the outer layers of sausage and makes a specific aroma. Before it is served, the mould is brushed away, as shown by Mr Milan himself. The end product is marvellous, and we keep remind ourselves of that since we got several sausages to try and re-try at home.
But, we haven’t seen any pigs around his home. It is true, Istrians don’t care much any more about herding and animal keeping. Still, the meat is produced from high-quality, naturally raised pork from Slavonia. There is no particular difference in meat, and practical cooperation of two Croatian region is praiseworthy. A good pork meat, healthy and cured, is very important for sausage making. In Istrian sausage only traditional spices are added – salt, pepper, garlic, and wine. Difference between fresh and aged sausage is astonishing! Some other experiments include the Istrian sausage with truffles and with asparagus, two recognisable Istrian products. He thinks now about making sausage from the cherished Slavonian black pig. A quite special thing is sausage spread, some kind of pate which is ideal for little bites or canapes.
It is not only sausages that you may find in Žminjski gušti. Mr Milan cut us several slices of the Istrian salami or kosnica, another Istrian gastronomical gušt which goes particularly well with a sip of Milan’s Malvasia wine. There are Istrian ombolo and Istrian pancetta here as well. No prosciutto, though. Milan wanted to specialise his production exclusively on sausages, as they are not easy to find on the market where prosciutto rules. At the same time, sausage production may be easier in terms of space and financial burdens. And it brings gušt to customers!
You may find Žminjski gušti products all over the southern and western part of Istria, on various gastronomical and social events, tourisms spots, but the best thing is to come to his door and buy it from the producer himself. Here is how to find him:
OPG Udovičić – Žminjski gušti
Supetarska ulica 3, Žminj
Tel. 00385 91 1624 317