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Čepić

The history of the former lake

Back in 1932 Čepić Field was a large Čepić Lake (around 860 acres). Mostly it was rich with eels, carps and other freshwater fish. After long preparations, digging a 4550 meters long channel, which will take the water away from the lake and direct it to the Plomin Bay, began in January 1928. Working day and night, with rare interruptions just for a couple of public holidays, somewhat between 90 and 260 workers dug out the tunnel in October 1932. When 4550 meters long tunnel to the Plomin Bay was finished, on December 11, 1932 at exactly 1 pm, the dam in front of the entrance to the Plomin tunnel was destroyed with 24 mines and the lake gradually began to empty. From the moment when huge amounts of water from Čepić Lake were released, it took 26 minutes for the water to arrive to the tunnel exit in Plomin Bay and it took another three minutes until the entire tunnel was filled with water. The water from the lake flowed with full force during the first two days and then the leaking started to calm down. By the end of January next year, the locals from Čepić and neighboring villages had the last and rich fish “harvest” on the muddy bottom of a former lake. Eight months after the lake was drained through the tunnel, cars and motorcycles were driving over the former Lake that Italians called also Raša’s Lake. The soil served for the purposes of agriculture and livestock breeding. First corn grew in the summer 1934 on the ploughed soil, called Lago d’Arsa. As the yields were not satisfactory due to the strong wind (bura), locals have planted poplars.

The name of the Baron Giuseppe Lazzarini is closely linked with the draining of Čepić Lake. He started this project. During the time when he was in exile from Istria, that belonged to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, he met the future Duce Benito Mussolini. This acquaintance helped speeding up the draining of the Lake.
It is estimated that, up to 16 million cubic meters of water flew from Čepić Lake, which once inspired the poet and writer Vladmir Nazor.

Truffles

Today, Čepić Field is known for white and black truffles that, among other things, grow in symbiosis with poplars. The Istrian truffle is one of the most respected truffles in the world. Gourmets agree in one thing only – a truffle is the peak of gastronomy. Čepić is also the residence of the "Istria Tartufi", a company that specializes in export of this precious aphrodisiac.

Istrian prosciutto

Powerful dry and cold wind bura is typical for winter days in this region and a blessing for the prosciutto – an absolutely authentic Istrian delicacy and a measure for every good. Istrians call it vijulin (violin) for its quality and uniqueness. It deserves the royal status also because of its flavour, aroma, colour, perfect tenderness, i.e. freshness but also because of the way of cutting it that must be done carefully and gently, like playing the violin.