In my exploration of Istrian hilltop villages, I was pleased to stumble on Bale, a quick 30-minute ride from Rovinj. Inhabited since pre-historic times, the long and eventful history has left a wealth of beautiful and well-preserved buildings from the impressive Bembo Palace to the 15th-century frescoes in the Church of the Holy Spirit. A number of sobe signs indicate that it’s trying to attract the visitors the town deserves. Besides a pleasing artsy vibe, I was charmed by the “Jazz Konoba” that proudly announced “No Kids!”. Whatever goes on there when the sun goes down, I want to be a part of it.
There are a number of well-regarded restaurants in Bale but the only one open was the informal Istra at the entrance to town. I settled into the homey wooden banquettes outdoors and ordered my go to dish in Istria: fuzi with truffles. Fuzi is a particular kind of pasta that’s similar to penne but with an extra twist to hold in the sauce. I can’t resist truffles which are in season all year in Istria although the most pungent are gathered in the autumn. It wasn’t the best fuzi with truffles I’ve ever had here but it was far from the worst. The portion was generous andÂ there was a shaving of fresh truffles augmented by dried truffles in a cream sauce. The fuzi wasn’t homemade but at a price of 100KN, it wasÂ good value for money.