Eating in Bulgaria
I really didn’t know what to expect as far as Bulgarian food goes. Maybe a cross between borscht, gyros, and kofte. To be honest, even though I was looking forward to trying it, I really didn’t have high expectations. After living in Turkey, where the food is never, ever bad, I just didn’t think Bulgarian food would rate. Boy, was I wrong. It was amazingly delicious.
What we didn’t expect was the proclivity towards yogurt and cheese! I think that they are taught at a very young age the health benefits to yogurt and try to include it in as many meals as possible. Remember we were offered yogurt with “zellini smokini” (figs), and we were also offered yogurt by Eveline for breakfast. I’m not a big yogurt fan to begin with, but when I tried the sheep’s yogurt, I pretty much swore it off for the rest of the week. Therefore Jim ate mine that morning, and Peter ate Lisa’s. They are good for that.
Anyway, Eveline was watching with a sharp eye. The next thing we know is that she is bringing out two pieces of very pink cake for just Lisa and me. She even said it was only for us because we did not eat our yogurt. The cake was very moist and tasty. I’m sure there was some yogurt hidden in the ingredients. It is probably the way all good Bulgarian mothers trick their kids into eating the healthy yogurt that they need. It’s true, I’m an overgrown five year old!
Bring on the Cheese!
After my pre-trip research, I was ready to try the famous Shoppska salad. Simple fare made from chopped cucumbers and tomatoes and topped with tons of some type of feta-ish cheese. Scrumptious! No kidding – not one day went by without us having at least one shoppska. It’s that good, and Shoppska is just the beginning of the cheese parade.
Apparently the Bulgarians love their cheese just as much, if not more, than their yogurt. I know this to be true, since many, many dishes sport the delicious white stuff. They have fried cheese, French fries covered with cheese, more fried cheese (this time is ball-shape), meat with cheese…well, you get the picture. If you want it with cheese, they will provide, and you WILL like it!
Another big surprise was the abundance of delicious wines. We tried a new one each night and they were all good. We were a little skeptical when we pulled into Melnik and saw the wine for sale being displayed in what looked like used water bottles, but they do have glass bottles, too. It was all very good.
All the pictures thanks to Lisa, our travel buddy!