From the field to the table. Such is the production sequence in the tavern Doma (At Home), which opened in 2019 on the property of the Budak family in Sveti Petar u Šumi. We soon become convinced that this is indeed the case because Antonia and Mihael Budak live right here, the whole agricultural production is right next to the house, and every guest comes to their home, so the name of this tavern was so easily imposed. We visited the tavern Doma at a time when some taverns responded to the initiative of the Tourist Board of Central Istria called "Autumn on the plate". A beautiful autumn day is thus spiced with great Istrian autumn food.
We are greeted by Antonia Budak, whose husband was in agricultural work at the time of our visit. A pleasant welcome with an old-fashioned, typically Istrian fireplace is enhanced by quince brandy. But this is not any quince, with a taste that we are used to from typically Slavonian or Vojvodina regions. Made by Antonija's mother-in-law, it is unusually mild, velvety and sweet in taste, with beautiful yellow colour and fruity scent. This first impression already says that this is not a tavern like any other, but a family project that could, but did not have to be realized.
Not only an agricultural family but also a catering family lives in the hundred-year-old house. Antonia perfected her catering business on Caribbean cruisers and in her native Labin region, and when she replaced the sea views with the gentle landscape of Central Istria, she could not give up the catering business. The combination of two loves, for the land and for catering, has created a third: a tavern that is, quite literally, located at home.
As we hear about the creation of the Doma tavern, we enjoy a beautifully arranged appetizer: pumpkin carpaccio with homemade pork liver pate.
Behind the simple concept lies a multitude of flavours. Salty and sour pumpkin goes well with sweet red onions, and the "accompaniment" is pumpkin oil, a very unusual addition to the Istrian table. Pork liver pate is a great and rich appetizer that melts in your mouth along with homemade bread. It is a complete success to enjoy this starter with Malvasia In Sylvis 2019, a mineral and fresh Malvasia that is a bit robust, and so in our minds associated with this terroir full of forests. In the Istrian village, pumpkin has always been the subject of debate - whether to work around it for a table or simply feed it to animals. Our answer is both, but by no means abandon the culinary ideas that make pumpkin an interesting basis for autumn menus.
Soon, the old soup of pumpkin, bacon, potatoes and leeks arrives, again ingredients that reflect this almost continental ambience of the heart of the Istrian peninsula. The pancetta is, of course, made from domestic pigs on the Budak estate, of which there are currently about two hundred, and gives a special taste to this old-fashioned soup that invigorates and warms, but also says that simple home-made dishes are eaten in the Doma tavern. Fortunately, Budaks don't even think of turning this advantage into a concept of brunches, with ready meals, but they faithfully keep to tried flavours such as prosciutto, ravioli with sausage, ribs in honey, knuckles, meals under the baking lid which one has to order. All this is further enriched by chef Pino Janjić, who also comes from Plomin, but goes there every day: namely, 30 kilometres of driving is part of his daily work.
It is he who lights the fire in the fireplace, not because we are cold, but because of the special experience of preparing homemade Istrian grilled sausages, which will soon be on our table with sauerkraut and corn cream with prosecco. It would be a bit strange if the sausages were not on the menu because Sveti Petar u Šumi is, after all, a sausage municipality! Every year, a fair of sausages and cured meat products is organized here, to which this microclimate suits well. The sausages are sizzling on the grill, and the slices arrive in front of us with sweet and sour cabbage with shiny corn cream. We will often make this dish at home during the long winter evenings, but the question is whether we will get sausages with such pure flavours of homemade meat. This dish cannot be accompanied by other wine than Teran, and the house wine is from Franz Arman. It goes great with sausages, with its astringency only contributing to the autumn party on the palate.
On 25 hectares of land, the Budaks take care of most of the food prepared for the guests. Unlike many other taverns, Doma also has its own slaughterhouse, so the meat is certainly fresh. The products can also be bought on the spot, from cured meat delicacies to homemade cakes. The tavern Doma prepares its own bread and pasta. This is a truly successful family story! Such a story always ends sweetly, and for us, the end of gastronomic enjoyment was a polenta dessert with a topping of chokeberry and plum, although there are a lot of citrus fruits and berries, as well as nuts, inside. All this is easily and successfully combined with polenta, and even more with cherry brandy and teranino.
With several non-permanent agritourism in the area, the Budaks are a complete success to put this municipality in the centre of Istria on an even better gastronomic map. Autumn on the plate was our introduction to their story, and in 2020 Agrotourism Stara štala (Borut), Konoba 2. peron (Cerovlje), tavern Dišpet (Zajci / Pićan), tavern Marino (Gračišće) , restaurant Čiže (Trviž) and Pazin Zapad restaurant & wine bar (Stancija Pataj / Pazin) took part in this culinary discovery of autumn flavours.
You can visit the tavern Dom and make an appointment here:
Kranjci 18, Sveti Petar u Sumi
+385 (0) 91 5700 171, (0) 91 573 8442
Mon / Mon-Fri / Fri 14: 00-24: 00, Sat / Sat-Sun / Sun 12: 00-24: 00, Tue / Tue closed / closed