The taste of Bulgaria

The Bulgarian cuisine is characterised by its originality. It comprises various culinary traditions built up over the ages and has borrowed from the culinary culture of nearby and faraway countries. The varied and healthy eating habits are based on the abundance of fruits and vegetables.

Today on offer are specific meals from various meats and venison, cooked in special clay pots called "guvetch" and "sach" or grilled on barbecue coal. Certain regions are known for fishing and the availability of fresh fish in the daily menu. This makes Bulgarian cuisine similar to the Mediterranean diet which is known for its health benefits.

White cheese is emblematic for Bulgarian cuisine, produced from sheep, cow or buffalo milk. The Bulgarian yoghurt has a unique taste, due to the bacteria Lactobacterium Bulgaricum which is well known worldwide.

Some regions have typical meals like Thracian vine leaves or cabbage “sarmi", beans from Smilian, capama from Bansko, kavarma from Strandja mountain, Danube fish soup. Their unique taste comes from fresh and dried herbs such as savory, parsley, dill, mint, bay leaves, oregano.

Bread is always present on the table especially on family and public holidays.

The national cuisine is also known for its many types of desserts. Among the popular ones are the pastries (banitsa), the traditional preserves made from different fruits, "petmez" (thickened grape juice) "rachel" (jelly or marmalade made of quince or pumpkin), fig, raspberry or the famous rose preserves.

Food is usually paired together with aromatic red and white wines made from grapes varieties such as Traminer, Chardonnay, Misket, Dimyat, as well as Merlot, Cabernet, Mavrud and Gamza. In different parts of the country specific types of strong alcohol, rakia, is produced from various fruits.

The content of this article is prepared with the assistance of the Institute for Ethnology and Folklore at the Bulgarian academy of sciences.

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