Every nation has its own traditions in cooking. Nowadays, Bulgarian cuisine has become a concept that specifies traditional Bulgarian dishes, along with modern contributions from outside. By “Bulgarian food” you mean the dishes that are most often present in the lifestyle of the Bulgarian people. Each recipe has been formed over the centuries, with methods, techniques of preparation and even flavoring.
With the establishment of the Bulgarian state in 681, the beginning of the merger of the cuisines of the Bulgarians started, Thracians and Slavs were the first ones to united. Over the years, Bulgarian food has also been influenced by many countries, near and far. One of the most characteristic features of Bulgarian cuisine is that the products in one dish can be processed simultaneously.
There are 6 culinary districts in the country. Each area is more or less different from the other – dialect, food, and even clothing.
In the Southwestern region, where Rila and Pirin are located, the most Bulgarian food you will find is “kapama”. Local products and spices are used for preparation and use. Let’s not forget the cabbage sarmi from far Bansko. Patatnik is also very well known in the region, and it is a sort of potato pancake, but more puffy. If you ask everyone who lives there what is their favorite, you will hear the most often – the grilled meat. Finishing with a special dish that includes the liver.
Let’s continue with the next region.
The central south region, which is located around Plovdiv, has a great variety – starting from the grill and casseroles offered at every restaurant, right down to the goose and lamb roasted with quince.
The southeastern region has brought together the picturesque Black Sea. There you will find a huge variety of fish, which predisposes to experiments with its preparation, basic frying, and baking. We will also not forget the much-loved fish soup of everyone who grew up by the sea!
The northeastern region is located around Kavarna, where fish soup with hot sauce and mussels are preferred the most.
The central northern region is along the Danube, where numerous settlements are located. The Danube catfish is a real delicacy there. The next typical Bulgarian food that is known in the area is the banitsa and its varieties (with onions, leeks or meat).
The northwestern region in Bulgaria is in the vicinity of Botevgrad, where the most favorite thing is a pie with leeks and cabbage, with the name – zelnik. Stuffed zucchini or peppers with rice and mince, as well as vines and cabbages, are regularly featured at the people’s table there.
Although each region is different from the other, most Bulgarians consume similar foods in summer and winter.
In the heat of summer, sometimes reaching as high as 40 degrees, everyone strives to escape the heat in every possible way. Some go to the sea, some to the mountain and some to the refrigerator. The traditional Bulgarian food that people are cooled with during the summer is the tarator. It is diluted yogurt with water, finely chopped cucumbers, garlic, oil and dill if desired, some crumbled nuts.
Next comes the most popular Bulgarian salad, namely the shopska. The recipe is simple – tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, peppers, and parsley, let’s not forget the crunch of crushed white cheese. Stuffed peppers with cheese and eggs, as well as rice, are also often present at the table of every Bulgarian in the summer. One very favorite dish this season is the fried zucchini with yogurt, garlic and dill sauce, which undoubtedly tastes summer.
During the summer heat, people also consume roasted peppers with tomato sauce and garlic, naturally with bread.
After the booming season, it is a time of hot winter, which can sometimes be really difficult, especially in the more remote parts of the country. One of the most consumed foods at this time of year is soup – chicken, shrimp, so-called. “pocha” followed closely by the bean soup.
Temptations that you will have a hard time resisting, but still know that they are not for everyone because they have a special taste! The next meal that is a must at the table during the winter are pork steaks, let’s not forget that they come with a glass of heated wine.
Pork with cabbage is also a discovery that if you combine with garlic, you know that you will be healthy even in the coldest weather. Bulgarians have taken care, even when it is difficult to find fresh vegetables in the winter, to supply them with vitamins – through turshia, which are actually marinated vegetables that have a unique taste thanks to Grandma’s recipes.
This is a small part of the history of Bulgarian food that if you get to know it better, you will fall in love with it!