Drink warmed wine straight from a pitcher or dip a little bread in it and call it soup. That's dinner, Istrian-style.
Istrian soup, Istarska supa, is a drink/dish traditionally enjoyed with friends. Served in a short, wide pitcher called a bukaleta, supa consists of warm wine mixed with olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar, and garlic. Diners are meant to dip bread grilled fireside in the mixture, for this is a winter-worthy soup.
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Croatia may not be as well-known as its Mediterranean neighbors for wine production, but it features a wine tradition all the same. Housewives and tavern cooks alike generally use Teran wine for their Istarska supa. Endemic to Istria, the Teran grape is hundreds of years old; a century ago, it served as the main variety used for wine-making in Istria. Vinistra.com describes the flavor as "strong and robust," but some characterize the wine as being somewhat sour in taste. Either way, Teran is a tannic wine that stands up well to the ancillary ingredients that go into supa.
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The Method of Preparing Istrian Soup
- Easyto make, Istarska supa takes about 15 minutes' cooking time.
- For the grilled bread, use slices of hearty bread, such as a rustic Italian or a French boule.
- Not having a hearth, grill the bread on a traditional or electric grill. In a pinch, toasted bread works.
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- 1 bottle red wine, Teran or other tannic red
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T sugar
- salt & pepper to taste
- 8-12 slices grilled bread
Appetizer with friends? Great way to use up strong wine? Boozy dinner?
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add minced garlic. Saute until golden, about 2 minutes.
- Pour in wine, stirring constantly. Heat until warm, about 7 minutes.
- Stir in sugar.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve warm with grilled bread.
Wine as Soup
Traditions Associated with Istrian Soup
Most Croatian websites that detail the method of making Istrian soup exhort diners to enjoy the dish "in good company." Connoisseurs of Istarska supa recommend grilling the bread hearth-side. Istrian soup is traditionally served in the bukaleta, aiding in both dunking the bread and slurping the wine. The word supa comes from the word supati, to soak, in this case wine with bread. However, my favorite tradition associated with Istarska supa comes in the saying: "The soup took all the wine and made me drunk!" Živjeli!
Nadine Ramos on October 19, 2020:
where could I find Bukalet to serve it?
Nadia Archuleta (author) from Denver, Colorado on March 28, 2013:
But it tasts so good!
bnovit on March 28, 2013:
Supa hits right into ones head :) haha