Top 7 Bulgarian food products

If this is your first encounter with Bulgarian cuisine – take some minutes to start from the basics – namely from the most widely used food products that you will encounter in all meals that you have in the country. These products are so fresh and delicious in their plain form, that can easily become your favorite :) 

1. Bulgarian white cheese (or as the locals call it "Sirene") 

Is a dairy product made most widely from cow’s milk, but also from sheep’s and goat’s. It resembles the Greek Feta cheese, but usually it is not as fetty and soft and has deeper taste. The Bulgarian cuisine is reliant mostly on this great type of locally produced cheese – it is used in salads (see also the Bulgarian kind of salads "Shopska Salad"), for cooking (see great local dish "Sirene po Shopski" – i.e. white cheese baked in hot pot), in sandwiches and pastries, and even in desserts (such as pancakes with jam and white cheese, and sweet watermelon with white cheese). 
Whatever you do – make sure not to miss trying this number one Bulgarian cheese. And why not even get some back home? ;)
Tip: Shopska Salad is even greater when shared with friends and accompanied with a glass of Rakia

2. Yellow Cheese ("Kashkaval") 

The other all-time favorite cheese among the locals is this great yellow type of cheese. Kashkaval is mostly used for breakfast pastries (ex: "Kashkavalka" – a salty pastry containing this great yellow cheese both on top and inside) and also for cooking (as topping of many local dishes and also on its own, for example in fried form: "Purjen kashkaval" or "Kashkaval pane").

3. Lukanka (Type of Salami)

The Bulgarian version of the Spanish Chorizo. This traditional Salami made from pork and veal meat is great appetizer and goes exceptionally well with the locally produced red wines.

4. World-famous Bulgarian Yoghurt ("Kiselo Mlyako")

This mildly sour-tasting yogurt, kiselo mlyako is the greatest and the healthiest of all dairy products . For a yogurt to be considered a Bulgarian yoghurt, it needs to be made with two specific starter bacteria, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus (often simply called Lactobacillus bulgaricus) and Streptococcus salivarius subspecies thermophilus (often shortened to Streptococcus thermophilus). This great probiotic food has been prepared and consumed in the Bulgarian lands for at least 4000 years. Kiselo mlyako can be used tried not only for breakfast together with your cereal, but also in many different forms: 1) as a typical cold soup "tarator" 2) as a salad "Snezhanka salad" 3) as a salty drink "Ayran" and as ingredient in many other traditional recipes.

5. Chubritza (Herb)

The most widely used Bulgarian spice. It is made from the dried and stirred herb Summer savory (Satureja hortensis). It is very mild, and gives unique taste to the local dishes.
It is the main ingredient in the Bulgarian spicy salt ("sharena sol") which is often spread over baked bread with butter for a quick tasty breakfast or appetizer. Try it yourself and let us know what you think :)

6. Lyutenitsa (Tomato paste)

A delicious, tick, tomato based spread - a typical Bulgarian Lyutenitsa usually contains a combination of locally sun-grown tomatoes, red peppers and aubergines in different proportions. The great mix of these three vegetables, gives this popular spread its unique taste. Lyutenitsa is eaten alongside grill dishes, but also very often on a toast (a full Bulgarian breakfast experience is a toast with Lyutenitsa and sprinkled white cheese ("sirene") on top).

7. Locally-farm grown fruits and vegetables 

Due to the great local climate (with 4 distinct seasons) and plenty of sunshine all year round, Bulgarians are very proud of the local fruit and vegetable produce. If you happen to be in Bulgaria in the spring – do not miss the many varieties of sweet cherries and fresh lettuces. I must try in the summer are tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as some great sweet tasting watermelons. In the autumn, do not miss the local sweet pumpkin – it is usually baked and eaten as dessert.
In short, whatever the season is – there is always some great choice of farm grown local produce to enjoy.


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