The first documents on olive growing in Istria date back to ancient times. The Greek and Roman writers were the first to sing the praises of the delicacy of refined Istrian olive oil. Istria, as the northern part of Croatia, has more aromatic than the oils produced in Southern Europe and in Africa. In Istria, approximately twenty olive varieties are used for olive oil production, including indigenous varieties, which also include the longstanding varieties, such as Drobnica.
The local Istrian variety, known also as Domaća, Rovinješka, Bilica, Žutica, is said to be one of the oldest olive varieties in the region. It is grown in old olive orchards in Buje, Rovinj, Vodnjan and Labin. The tree is medium sized, quite tall and with tight foliage. The drupes are ovoid, small. In the beginning, their color is light green. Then, it ripens and turns wine-red or purple, sometimes black.
The oil made with the Drobnica variety is characterized by its distinct flavor, very sharp with a good bittersweet balance. At first, it is fruity and slightly bitter. Later it becomes pleasantly spicy. The color is golden with green shades. The Drobnica oil is served with salads and used for cooking. It pairs well with meat dishes, venison, oily fish and pasta.