Under an Istrian sun
Ivan Stefanovic is showing off his knife skills. With each delicate sleight of the wrist, a paper-thin slice of aged Istrian ham tumbles onto the plate his wife Carmen is holding, a bit impatiently. This is how they do it in these parts – no fancy machinery, no automated slicing.
Part of the flavour comes from the hand-slicing of this rich, buttery ham. The other comes from the preparation: the skin and fat is removed before the ham is smothered in salt and hung to dry in the bura (cold, northeastern wind).
No sooner has he filled the plate for Carmen, who whisks it out to a waiting table, Ivan is grinning opposite me and pouring his 2015 teran to try. I swirl the brambly liquid in my glass and breathe it in, taking a sip of the robust, tannin-rich red.