Sunday, June 19, 2011

Overview of Bulgarian Cuisine

Bulgarian Flag
Balkan cuisine is a mixture of all countries’ cuisines that appear in that region. One of the well-known cuisines on the Balkans is the Bulgarian cuisine. Due to the quite warm climate, Bulgaria has brilliant conditions for growing different vegetables, fruits and herbs; hence its cuisine is highly diverse.

Bulgarian cuisine is famous for its rich salads that are obligatory dish at every meal. The salads are consumed with chilled local alcoholic drinks such as rakia, mastika and menta, which are kinds of a brandy. One of the most famous Bulgarian salads is Shopska salad, which got its name after a group of penny-wise people known as Shopi who lived in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria. This salad is prepared with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and onion decorated with grated white cheese. Another tasty Bulgarian salad is Snezhanka Salad made of creamy yoghurt with chopped cucumber or gherkins, walnuts and garlic.

Other important elements in the Bulgarian cuisine are the soups, which are served hot or cold. One of the popular cold soups is tarator, made of cold yoghurt and chopped cucumber sparkled with dill. Moreover, the traditional meals that are extremely familiar and delicious are kavarma, which is a stew with beef and calf’s liver, tomatoes, peppers and onions; plakiya, strew with fish fillets with tomatoes and lemon slices; sarmi, stuffed vine or cabbage leaves with minced meat, rice or beans; kyufteta, spicy meat balls. Also, one of the most famous Bulgarian specialities is a dish called kapama made of chopped chicken breasts, chopped pork, smoked bacon, black-pudding, sauerkraut and rice cooked in clay pot.

All of these meals go with wine, and Bulgaria has amazing wines because of the almost perfect conditions for growing grapes and the warm Mediterranean climate. Also, Bulgarians have established a unique technology for producing wine since the ancient Thracians times. In addition, Bulgaria has very good beers that contains on average 10% alcohol. Some of the most popular Bulgarian beers are Astika, Kamenitza, Zagorka, Plevensko, Bugarsko and Shumensko. 

Bulgarians have snacks that you can buy on stands in the street too. Some of them are piroshka, fried stick of dough filled with cheese; banitsa which is a kind of pastry filled with white cheese, spinach, leek or onion and many more. Another interesting dish which can be bought in the streets is duner, which is similar to Greek gyro but this one is made with salads or chicken. It is notable that Bulgarians consume a huge quantity of yoghurt per head, and that they produce high quality yoghurt with a one of a kind variety of micro-organism known as Lactobacillus Bulgaricus. It is also said that yoghurt might originates from Bulgaria.

As an overall, many of the Bulgarian dishes are steamed, in the form of stew, or oven baked. Bulgarian cuisine is kept as a tradition for many years, and its recipes were passing from generation to generation. Moreover what makes Bulgarian cuisine unique is that the meals are prepared of natural, organic products. Very typical for this cuisine is the combination of yoghurt with many different products. I must point out that some of the dishes are overlapping with the dishes of its neighbours, and there are many “quarrels” which dish belongs to. It is so because of the close connection and origin of the all Balkans’ nations.
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