Bulgaria is slowly emerging as one of Europe’s newest must-visit holiday destinations.
Not only will you find sunshine and miles of sandy shoreline in resorts such as Sunny Beach (the clue’s in the name), but you’ll also get to chow down on some delicious food – most of which is heavily influenced by its neighbouring countries, Greece and Turkey.
Bulgaria’s most famous product is yoghurt – and although there’s a debate raging as to whether it was invented there or not – you’re still likely to taste some of the best in the world.
So if you’re heading off on a Bulgarian adventure this summer, here are some other dishes to try while you’re there.
Who needs one national dish when you can have three? One of these is kavarma, which really wouldn’t look out of place in a Welsh restaurant as the main ingredient is leeks. Pork, paprika, tomato paste, dry wine and onion also make up this stew based dish, which you’ll often find served up with a side of boiled potatoes.
When it’s hot and steamy outside, sometimes only a salad will do. Step forward Shopska Salad, which makes for a great lunch after a day on the beach. Bulgaria’s second national dish originates from the Sofia region, and it only takes 15 minutes to prepare. So if you want to give it a whirl at home, this is how you make it:
• 4 tomatoes, chopped
• 1 cucumber, chopped
• 4 green peppers, chopped
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 tbsp parsley
• 120ml sunflower oil
• 60ml red wine vinegar
• Salt and pepper
• 8oz Bulgarian sirene cheese (use feta cheese if unavailable)
1. Toss the vegetables and parsley together in a large bowl
2. In a screw top jar, blend the liquid ingredients with the salt and pepper.
3. Toss the dressing with the vegetables
4. Crumble cheese over the top of the salad.
National dish number three is heavily influenced by Turkey, where ‘sarma’ literally means ‘a wrapped thing’. It consists of grape leaves wrapped around a filling of minced beef and rice, and is usually served with a refreshing side of that famous Bulgarian yoghurt.
Grilled meats or skara are extremely popular in Bulgaria. These range from cheverme – a whole roast lamb – slowly cooked over open fire for seven hours, to smaller kebabs which are often served in bars to accompany drinks and soak up alcohol. Must-tries include kyufte (meatballs served as a flattened ball) or shishcheta, which is pork meat arranged on a skewer.
Almost as popular as yoghurt, halva is another popular dessert item made from tahini – a paste of pureed sesame seeds or sunflower seeds. Different restaurants may attempt to flavour the bite sized confectionary by adding flavours such as chocolate or honey, but the original flavour is considered by many to be the best.
Last of all, don’t forget to wash whatever you eat down with a shot of the national spirit, rakia!
These are just a few of the many dishes native to Bulgaria – so if you fancy trying them out, have a gander at some of the brilliant holiday deals on our site.