Olive oil is an integral part of Istrian food heritage and the entire peninsula is known to produce some of the finest olive oil varieties across Europe. Olive oil estate visits, tasting and sampling tours are on the top things to do while visiting Istria and should definitely be on your list. We highly recommend taking the olive oil tasting experience at Chiavalon located in Vodnjan, about 16kms from Pula to sample and shop some of the best extra virgin olive oil available in Croatia.
Chiavalon is a olive oil production run by brothers Sandi and Tedi. They have immaculately converted a family olive plantation to an estate producing the best olive in the world. And that is not an exaggeration, Chiavalon is one of the best extra virgin olive oils available in Croatia and the world.
Starting out as a small plantation, Chiavalon now owns about 7,500 olive tree plantations and also manage another 5000 tress from other cultivators. Each harvest is used to produce single and blended varieties of highest quality olive oils. Hand pressed within 2-3 hours of harvest, this method ensure to keep the flavor intact. Read more about Chiavalon story here.
We wanted to do the olive oil tasting experience at Chiavalon the moment we started planning for Croatia. And we are glad we did as this was another memorable and unique Istrian experience.
Olive oil tasting tours
Chiavalon experience center, where tasting tours are conducted, is located in the residential estate of Chiavalon family. The house facade doesn’t give this away and we were initially not sure if we were at the right place. We hesitantly we rang the bell and were promptly let inside the beautiful estate.
You can visit the estate without any advice and booking for a free tasting, looking around and shop the authentic produce. You can go over books and posters talking about Chiavalon history and wander about the estate. If you want the complete tour you must book in advance and can choose between three options. Tours are conducted two times a day at specific timings. The staff cannot accommodate guests for custom tours without prior booking.
|Tour type||Duration||Approx Cost||What to expect|
|Taste Chiavalon||1 hour||85kn per person||Olive oil tasting|
|Taste Istria||1.5 hour||170kn per person||Olive oil tasting, followed by Istrian snacks and wine|
|Grand Tasting||2 hours||375 kn per person||Olive oil tasting and food pairing, by Istrian snacks, wine and surprise dessert|
During this tour you will learn about the history of production of extra virgin olive oil in Istria and the way how it is produced today at Chiavalon. They will also teach you about the biggest enemies of olive oil as well as how to recognize a honest and natural extra virgin olive oil on the market today. The tour with olive oil tasting takes place in a specialized tasting room and costs about 85kn per person. The whole tour last approximately one hour.
The above tour – Taste Chiavalon can also be combined with tasting of some Istrian snacks at the end – cured pork salami, two different types of cheeses and authentic Istrian Malvasia wine, all from local producers. This tour costs 170kn per person.
The team also offers another extended tour with a welcome drink at the beginning. During the tasting you’ll taste four different extra virgin olive oils and learn what are the differences between them and how to pair them with food. After the local Istrian snacks, you will be offered a surprise dessert and drink. This kind of tour costs 375 kn per person and lasts approximately 2 hours.
We did not have a prior booking for the tour so we explored the estate on our own and made our way to the store to purchase their produce. The store manager was very kind to help us with sampling of the different olive oils produced by the estate. Before visiting Chiavalon we did not realize that there are so many characteristics to consider while sampling olive oil. We had a great time learning about the history of estate and even got a chance to meet Tedi. It was great to know how they are trying to modernize the business while keeping the authenticity of the produce and family heritage intact.
Chiavalon Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The organic, extra virgin olive oil varieties produced at Chiavalon are famous not only across Croatia but all of Europe and the rest of the world. The oil produce was recently recognized by Italian Organization Premio il Magnifico which actually places them among the top producers in Europe.
In all we sampled the 5 varieties of olive oils that Chiavalon produces. We learnt about their unique characteristics – smell, color, pungency, their compatibility with different types of food and cooking methods. Do note that sampling means your are drinking small portions of oil, much like wine tasting and experiencing its flavor and other characteristics.
Our favorite was Ex Albis, the all season olive oil which goes with most dishes and salads. And ROMANO preferred for cooking seafood especially fish.
At the end of our experience, we purchased all 5 varieties of oil to take home. The store also offers shipping these your home address. In case you don’t get a chance to visit the estate or buy their produce while in Rovinj, don’t fret! You can always buy their products at any of airport terminals in Croatia.
We really cherished our chance visit to the Chiavalon estate and glad that we rang the bell 🙂 I recommend everyone to make olive oil sampling a part of their Croatian experience and it has to be with Chiavalon!
Here are some more details to help you with planning of your trip to Vodnjan and Chiavalon.
How to get to Vodnjan and Chiavalon?
Chiavalon olive estate is located in Vodnjan, which is a quick drive (about 16 km) from Pula. You can also explore bus service from Pula city center and Vodnjan but the actual estate can be a bit further from the road. There are a number of buses traveling from Rovinj through Vodnjan depending on the season. The schedule varies monthly so its best to check the routes once you are in Rovinj or just before your arrival. You could also consider taking a cab directly from Rovinj to Chiavalon.
How much time do you need?
The tour itself takes about 1 or 2 depending on the option you choose. So you can combine you tour along with other activities in Pula or Rovinj.
Read our next post on the day trip to Pula to plan your trip now!
Do you need an advance booking of the tour?
You can visit the estate without any advice and booking for a free tasting, looking around and shop the authentic produce. However, for an organized tour it is best to check the availability and book in advance.
You can book the tour in advance by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are the tours and tastings available on Sundays?
Olive oil tasting tours are available from Monday to Saturday, at two specified timings.
Can children be accompanied during the tour?
The tour can be attended with children though it is generally more enjoyable for teenagers since they will get to know about different characteristics of olive oil produce and production process.