Updated: Mar 18
Bulgaria, located in the South-East of Europe, rich in cultural traditions and passion.
The food can be simple but very delicious. It has many oriental influences from the times of herbs and spices being brought in from India and beyond, which are now an important part of Bulgaria's cuisine.
The main herbs and spices used are Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Spearmint and definitely Parsely, which is very common in soups and salads and even in folk medicine thought to have healing powers for digestive diseases and kidney problems.
Bulgaria, as with a lot of South-Eastern Europe, was part of the Ottoman Empire which also has a massive influence on the food, with Aryan, Baklava, guyvech and moussaka examples.
The countries location also has a great part in its wonderful food options, with it being diverse in Growing Vegetables, Herbs and possibly some of the best-tasting tomatoes you could find around the world.
It has to the South, Turkey and Greece and the West, Macedonia and Serbia and North are Romania, giving you different influential cultures.
Some of the traditional foods are:
This honey is of very high quality. The country can produce numerous bee and honey products, including Acacia, Herbal, honeydew and Pine, one of our favourite kinds of honey.
This is a very healthy traditional Bulgaria product with a pleasant taste and is used in many dishes like Tarator, Banista, Salads and can be used as a soup thickener.
Popular starter with a lot of tourists, it originated in the countries capital, Sofia and it contains the famous fresh tomatoes, flavourful veg and renowned white cheese, if you want to try it at home, it is fairly simple to put together but use the best ingredients to get the best experience.
Traditional Pastry dish that comes with various fillings but mainly made with white cheese and eggs.
The fillings can consist of cabbage or pumpkin and sugar or onion, spinach, rice, and meat or have it with just cheese, egg, milk, or yoghurt. Click here for a recipe from Find BG Food for dessert Banista.
Bread is a symbol of family and tradition and is decorated in local traditional ways from different regions.
TARATOR ( CUCUMBER SOUP)
This is a cold soup made commonly for summer months for the cooling effects but is also made in winter and has a salad version called Snezhanka, which is also just as popular. The Tarator consists of sour milk or yoghurt, cucumber and garlic, Walnuts, salt and vegetable oil.
For some reason, while we were out visiting Bulgaria with my mother she thought she would recreate the cold soup, but must have gotten confused as to what were the ingredients she had before, as she used sour milk and a lot of salt!!! To say the face we all pulled was a strange contorted look that we could never recreate again without her special Welsh version of Tarator.
SARMI ( STUFFED CABBAGE VINE LEAVES)
This is mincemeat and rice filling food with many versions and can also be made without meat for any vegetarians instead of rice, raisins, and walnuts.
This recipe is typically from the Rhodope region, using Potatoes and white cheese, egg, onions and spices, salt, pepper, mint and fat.
It can be baked, fried or boiled and results in being a nice crisp texture.
Kapama is a traditional Bulgarian food. It is prepared with a few types of meat, pork, chicken, veal and sauerkraut. You can even use preliminarily prepared stuffed cabbage leaves, sausage and rice.
This is a favourite of ours; it is a meatball and spices shaped into a sausage, which must be grilled and served with Shopska salad and french fries with Bulgarian cheese.
If ever visiting the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, make sure you check out the BALKAN BITES Food Tour; it is free, but we always recommend giving a tip at the end for these guys giving up their time.
Take in the history of Bulgarian food and taste different things, including some of the dishes mentioned above, you won't regret it. Enjoy!!
We cant wait to get back !!!