Bulgaria Food and Drink
Most restaurants in Bulgaria serve seasonal produce. Dinner is a social occasion, with traditional music and dancing in many restaurants in resort towns. Food is hearty and good. Meals usually start with a salad, from which there are many to choose from on the menu.
There are a wide variety of national dishes, as well as Western European standard dishes, which can be chosen on the spot at any restaurant. All good hotels have restaurants and there are many attractive folk-style restaurants and cafés throughout the country.
Bulgaria is known as the country that brought yoghurt to the world when Bulgarian doctor Stamen Grigorov discovered the main bacteria (Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus) used for the yoghurt production in 1905. Naturally, it is a must to sample its creamy yoghurt while in Bulgaria.
Other specialities include:
• Banitsa - a breakfast pastry with eggs, white cheese and yoghurt.
• Tarator - cold soup made from cucumber, walnuts and yoghurt
• Shopska salata - huge salad starter with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and white cheese
• Kavarma - pork and vegetable stew
• Sarmi - stuffed vine or cabbage leaves stuffed with meat
• Kebapche - small, strongly spiced, minced meat rolls
Apart from the top hotels, restaurants rarely add service charge so a 10% tip is customary.
Bulgarian wine is now gaining international attention. While popular international varieties are grown extensively throughout the country, increasingly wineries in Bulgaria put a strong emphasis on local grapes varieties, including Mavrud, Rubin, Melnik, Pamid, Ruen, Dimyat, and Red Misket (Misket Cherven). The Thracian Valley is the most important wine-growing region.
Liquors include mastika (aniseed spirit, usually diluted) and rakia (local brandy).