Bulgarian Cuisine and Recipes
Information about Bulgarian Cooking plus lots of
by Country - March 2004
down for Bulgarian Recipes
Bulgarian Featured Ingredient
Bulgaria Speciality Dish |
Cooking by Country Main Page
is situated on the Balkan Peninsula in south- eastern Europe and has borders
with Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey
to the south and the Black Sea to the east. Although mountainous, fertile
valleys and plains separate the mountains in many areas and these together with
forests, freshwater rivers, a 354km coastline and a temperate climate, make for
a variety of fresh produce, seafood and livestock, both farmed and wild.
times and Influences on Bulgarian cooking
lands which form modern day Bulgaria have been inhabited thousands of years and
evidence dating back to the Palaeolithic (100,000 to 40,000 BC) have been found
in many regions. There is proof that agricultural communities existed by the
Neolithic Period (6,000 BC - 3,000 BC), which were among the earliest in
European history, and it was during this period that Indo-European invasions
overran the area with the lands eventually being occupied by Slavic peoples.
the Bronze Age (c 1500 BC ) the southern part of modern day Bulgaria was part of
Thrace, an area which spread over north-eastern Greece, southern Bulgaria, and
European Turkey. This is the area where the legendary Gladiator, Spartacus was
from. By this time these peoples were seasoned farmers who not only cultivated
bred livestock for food but also cultivated crops, including grains and grew
vines for wine-making. Everyday Thracian cuisine consisted mainly of vegetarian
and leavened breads made from wheat, millet and rye were part of the diet as
were fresh fruit, vegetables, yoghurt, milk, cheese and food was flavoured with
and onions and garlic herbs such as parsley, thyme and savory. Fresh fish, wild
game and domestic animals such as chicken, beef and pork were occasionally eaten
but more so in the winter months, when it was possible to preserve it and when
fresh fruit and vegetables were harder to come by. Long slow cooking was a
popular method be it stewing or roasting. Historians believe these people traded
with the Mediterranean, almost the whole of Europe and Asia (some 3,000 years
before the Egyptians).
the 19th century the Bulgarian people had developed their own distinct cuisine
which encompassed many facets of the above-mentioned nations, in particular
Greek and Turkish culinary practices. Foods from the New World such as potatoes
and Aubergines (eggplants) were assimilated into everyday cooking.
Day Bulgarian Cuisine
is still one of the most common ingredients used in cooking. Herbs as mentioned
above and spices such as paprika and cumin whilst often used, are usually done
so in a relatively modest way leading to a somewhat more subtle taste. Staples
include bread, potatoes, rice, bulgur wheat dried beans and lentils.
widely eaten ingredient is Bulgarian White Cheese - a brined cheese similar to
Feta, which is produced preferably from sheep milk but also cow or goat milk and
is and is used as an essential ingredient in many traditional dishes.
is a definite Mediterranean feel to some recipes in the form of the ingredients
used such as capsicums (sweet peppers), Aubergines (eggplants) , garlic,
Courgettes (zucchini) and olives. Other European foods such as pasta, mayonnaise
and cream have also gained popularity.
cooking of foods on a low heat survives from its earliest history with many of
the stews or casseroles being cooked and served in a lidded brown crock called a
"gyuvech" which literally means "earthenware dish". This
method ensures flavoursome, nutritious and tender eating.
Bulgarian way of eating today is similar to that of many other European
countries. Breakfast is usually a light meal consisting of cheese, fruit and
inevitably, yoghurt. Lunch usually is served at midday and often includes soup
or salad, followed by meat or fish accompanied by a hot vegetable. Dinner is
usually eaten around 7-8pm and is similar to Lunch, a main course of meat, fish
or poultry plus vegetable accompaniments, but more substantial portions. Stewed
fruit is very popular for dessert and bread is eaten with all meals.