On the road from Žminj to Pazin, in the realm of Istrian kažuns and green glades, the tavern Puli Jurići in Jurići has been operating for thirty years. This is a famous gathering place for lovers of old Istrian flavours, where the cuisine is traditional and based on the centuries-old interaction of people with nature.
With excellent Ruda brandy, we got acquainted with this offer in the best way. The large terrace of Puli Jurića gives enough enjoyment to lovers of shade and those for whom even the strongest sun does not heat enough, and with a glass of wine, the world looks much better. Everything here is done within the Jurić family. Two brothers, Mladen and Lino with their wives Mirela and Jadranka run the entire restaurant, passing on the culinary knowledge of their mother.
It began with what Jurići are especially known for, and that is domestic pasta production. Fuži, gnocchi, macaroni and ravioli are produced here, which are then combined into various flavours for endless enjoyment. It is spring, asparagus is at the peak of the season and inevitably this green health is on the plate, this time together with Istrian prosciutto and macaroni. These Žminj macaroni are really a speciality because they used to be exclusively a peasant dish. To make real macaroni, you need homemade flour, a little salt and oil. Eggs are not placed because the dough would be too hard and lukewarm water is used.
With a permit to pick mushrooms owned by chef Lino, Jurići will often have on the menu mushroom dishes that grow in the immediate vicinity of Žminj. A number of combinations do not leave anyone indifferent, as it was with us when we tried ravioli (or rafioli or even raviuoli in Žminj dialect) with cheese in mushroom sauce. Ravioli is one of the most popular Istrian kinds of pasta, and the methods of preparation are incredibly different on various sides of the Istrian peninsula.
The nearby hills in the very heart of Istria are also a permanent source of small game, but the larger one can also be found on the plate of Istrian inns. In Puli Jurića, therefore, we tried an excellent venison stew, served with fuži, another famous Istrian pasta. The meat that melts in your mouth is the result of the culinary skills of Jurić who make goulash in the old way, which means a minimum of six hours of preparation from start to finish. A true commitment to real tastes!
To come to the centre of Istria and not try ombolo, sausages and sauerkraut is a grave sin! Ombolo is a trademark of Istrian gastronomy, and the preparation of pure pork chop is often dried for up to three weeks, and together with excellent Istrian sausages it is grilled and served with boiled sauerkraut and potatoes. Meat products are also made by the family itself, which means that most of Puli Jurića's menus are made from production to the table on the property itself!
In the past, only cabbage and bread were eaten in Istria, as well as maneštra and polenta, and the meat was rarely on the table. Today, the sauerkraut returns as one of the symbols by which Istrians identify with their homeland, but almost regularly with ombolo or sausages. Although this is primarily a dish for colder days, true gourmets will not refuse a good plate of Istrian meat feasting!
And they will not refuse to come to the tavern Puli Jurića, who prepares all these delicacies with a lot of love and family pride:
Jurići 1, 52341 Žminj
Photos: Cristiano Dias