Bulgarian cuisine is one of the most famous cuisines on the Balkans and among the Slavic nations. It is distinguished from the others by the excellent taste of the meals and the exceptional diversity. Bulgarians are very proud of its cuisine due to the fact that the recipes are unique and so old that they are passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years.
Most of the dishes included in the Bulgarian National cuisine are great mix of ingredients (products and spices) we use everyday. Almost every person has them available at home which makes the preparation of our delicious food quick and easy.
While yogurt and white cheese are the most characteristic and famous Bulgarian products, which represent our country around the world, other meals such as cheverme, bob chorba and shopska salad also deserve attention.
Cheverme is one of the most favorite Bulgarian meals. It is a whole lamb, roasted on a spit on fire. The cooking time varies but can take up to 8-10 hours. Although the cheverme is prepared in various parts of the country, the tradition comes from the mountain settlements in the southern part in Bulgaria.
Kapama is another favourite dish that we prepare mainly around Christmas or New Year. It is consisted of sausages, chicken and other types of meat cooked for a long period of time (at least 4-5 hours on a slow fire) in a clay-sealed casserole. To achieve a unique flavour and taste, the spices, such as black, red pepper, bay leaf, etc., must be carefully selected. The dish is typically served with rice.
It is not of my favorites but some Bulgarians definitely love this soup. It is made of beef tummies and can be served both hot and cold. The tradition says that shkembe chorba is one of the best ways to stay sober after a long night accompanied with lots of alcohol.
Sarmi is prepared in different ways, using different type of leaves for wrapping and stuffing them. The leaves can be both cabbage and vine and the filling varies from rice, meat, vegetables, etc.
Tarator is a Bulgarian cold soup consisted of yogurt, cucumbers, water and spices. The arguments about its origins are severe as the Greeks believe that we (Bulgarians) stole their salad (made of yogurt and cucumbers only) and just added some extra water in it. Some sources indicate that Tarator is cooked for the first time in the country far away from the Greek border and no interaction with the culinary traditions of Hellenic heirs is indicated.
Banitsa is traditional pie with homemade cheese and home-baked cake. It can be filled with cheese, meat, spinach, etc. Banitsa is one of the most tasty dishes and definitely one of the symbols of Bulgaria.
This soup is associated with the Bulgarian oldest traditions and customs. In the past bob chorba was preferred dish, especially for the poorer people. Nowadays, we eat it on regular basis just because it is delicious and easily made.
This dish is consisted of peppers (green or red) stuffed with cheese or rice. It can be prepared in the oven or in casserole with different types of sauces.
This typical Bulgarian salad is prepared of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, fresh parsley and grated white cheese. Season dressing vegetable oil(vegetable oil), wine or cider vinegar (if wanted) can be added. We decorate the salad with grated cheese and sprig with fresh parsley, black olives or little hot pepper. The dish is served mainly in the summer and combines very well with chilled traditional Bulgarian spirits such as rakia.
Although rakia is not a dish, it is probably the most popular alcoholic drink among South Slavic nations .It is a clear alcoholic beverage made by the distillation of fermented fruit with a high alcohol content varying anywhere between 40% and 95% alc. (80 to 190 proof). There are different types of rakia, depending on what fruit it is made of – grapes, plums, apricots, pears, apples, cherries, figs, quinces. The tradition of making it is passed down from generation to generation. Rakia is a part of our everyday life and it is the perfect compliment of food or Shopska salad, for example.