“She’s a truffle seeking missile.”  That’s how acclaimed Travel Channel host Anthony Bourdain described Schotzy, the truffle hound, as he followed her in amazement on a recent episode of No Reservations.

Schotzy is part of the local culture that we share with our guests on our Istrian Peninsula departures, so we thought we’d share the very fun video clip along with a brief description of the day.

Click here to watch Anthony Bourdain, the Travel Channel’s irrepressible host of No Reservations, as he follows a truffle hound on Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula.

…it’s day 3 of the trip. You wake up in gorgeous 15th-century Rovinj, and enjoy a breakfast of local specialties. In all our years of walking—from Tuscany to Peru to the coasts of France and New Zealand—we’ve never found a more beautiful path than the one we take this morning. It starts in an agriturismo where our friends Simona and Milka fortify us with a cappuccino. The path has the steady, level grade of a long-abandoned railroad. We’re about 300 feet above a perfect valley studded with hilltop villages and a procession of vineyards, apricot orchards, and little farmhouses with pastel shutters. When you hear that Istria is like Tuscany 20 or 30 years ago, this is what they’re talking about: authentic, lightly traveled, natural beauty like you thought didn’t exist in the world anymore.

Istria small town in Croatia

Our destination is the walled hilltop village of Groznjan. (That’s Grosignana in Italian. All towns here are named in both languages—Monitzel is Monticello, for example. It sums up perfectly the interesting mix of cultures we encounter all week.) Improbably, Groznjan has a wonderful collection of art galleries. We take time here for lunch and to stroll the charming narrow streets. Later, we join up with a friend who fills us in on the history of the truffle and even get to join a hunt. In this region, special hounds (like Schotzy) are fed truffles from the time they’re pups to help them learn how to sniff out the delicacy.

Of course, Schotzy the truffle hound is just one memorable interaction in a week of superlatives that includes strolling vineyard trails to stunning hilltowns, cruising emerald islands to a national park, rambling Roman footpaths and ancient ruins; all based from exceptional 4- and 5-star boutique hotels. You can enjoy them all when you travel to Eastern Europe in style on our Istrian Peninsula departures.

group on a hill overlooking a village in Croatia

While you probably can’t arrange for Tony Bourdain to show you around Istria, you can travel with the #1 guide in the whole country; our own star: Livio. Read more about how Croatian Tourism recognized his talents here.

Classic Journeys operates Cultural Walking Adventures and Private Journeys in Istria from May through October. To speak with our fantastic and friendly guest services coordinators about a trip there or in any of the 70 regions in 33 countries on 5 continents, just give us a ring at 800-200-3887 or email us at blog@classicjourneys.com.