night landmark in Sofia

What The Bleep Is Made in Bulgaria

Yes, I am Bulgarian. I spent my first six years of my life in Germany with my family. For the first time, I saw Bulgaria through the eyes of one little girl who felt like a foreigner there.

Yes, I understand that it sounds strange, but that was my first feeling even if my parents never stop talking about Bulgarian with my siblings and me, telling us stories, showing the country’s main traditions of the country.

When we had to come back to Bulgaria, for me personally was like an adventure. I was going to see my native country for real, not only in my imagination. The main thing that I knew why my parents decided to leave the country is that they weren’t satisfied with the life there – bad economy, bad politics, etc. As a kid, I just couldn’t understand what they meant.

Oooo well, at first, it was a shock. Everything was so different (for good or bad) from my pictures in my head. That was the period exactly after the political changes – going from socialist country to democratic, financial collapse and many many other changes… one “chaos”. Let’s start with the GOOD things now… What are the Bulgarians proud of?

Bulgarian Roses And Rose Oil:

Surprisingly, even for me, Bulgaria owns around 85% of the world production of Rose oil. Many big Cosmetic’s and Perfume’s companies as an Elizabeth Arden, Kenzo, Channel, Bulgari, Paco Rabanne, Еstee Lauder, etc. are using it because of the many healthy and aroma benefits of the Rose.

Here are three girls in our rose picking festival when the whole villages gather together to collect vast amounts of roses at the harvest time. We make a party out of it.

three girls in rose fields

Although there are over 10,000 varieties of rose, surprisingly few of them impart a noticeable fragrance. Amongst the small selection of fragrant varieties, some possess a distinctly fruity or musky odour, whilst others are reminiscent of violet or hyacinth.

After eliminating these species from the massively reduced collection, only a handful remain that actually possess the highly sought after bouquet associated with rose.

Bulgarian Yogurt / Lactobacillus Bulgaricus:

Yes, we definitely proud of our Yoghurt. What makes it different? The life bacteria” Lactobacillus Bulgaricus” which can be found only on the territory of our country and gives the specific taste of the Yoghurt.

A mildly sour-tasting Yogurt “kiselo mylako” is undoubtedly the best and the healthiest of all dairy products available to consumers nowadays. The western world calls it Bulgarian Yoghurt, but in its homeland, Bulgaria, it’s called sour milk.

Whatever the name, this wonderful probiotic food has impeccable ancestry – it is believed to have been known for at least 4000 years. Yes, You Can Make Your Own In fact, it is simple to do so. All you need is our excellent Bulgarian Yoghurt Starter and milk.

bowl of traditional yoghurt

How Is our yogurt starter different from the others? To simply put – it is made in Bulgaria.

You cannot make Bulgarian Yogurt Starter outside of Bulgaria. It is possible to follow the same procedures and recipes, but the results will be different. The Natren Yogurt Starter comes close, and the result is indeed good. But if you have tried both the Bulgarian original and Natren, you will know the difference.

It is funny to remember that my last roommates from Poland, Denmark, etc., were laughing at me because whenever I was cooking some traditional dish, I gave them an order to put yoghurt on the top. They understood that the Bulgarians are eating a lot of yoghurts or a lot of white cheese.

Bulgarian Wine

Grape growing and wine production have a long history in Bulgaria, dating back to the times of the Thracians. Wine is, together with beer and grape Rakia, among the most popular alcoholic beverages in the country.

Bulgaria was the world’s second-largest wine producer in the 1980s, but the industry declined after the collapse of communism. Today, wine production is growing again, reaching 120m litres in 2019. And this industry is getting better and better – there are now 135,734 hectares of vines planted. Red wine varieties occupy about 52 per cent and whites 42%.

wine bottles with Bulgarian labels

Did you know? Winston Churchill used to order 500 litres of Bulgarian wine annually, which proves that it is famous for their taste qualities worldwide. If this is not a proof that I am telling you the truth, then I don’t know what is.

Vegetables, Fruits, Honey And Herbs

Let’s be honest. Very few people know where Bulgaria is on the map. But when you are looking at it on the map, you can see that it has an important location for the whole of Europe. It is Europe’s closest point to Turkey. It’s located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, which lends itself to International transport.

Another benefit for us ‘The Bulgarians’ – the climate – includes four seasons, mild winter, sunny spring, warm but not too hot summer and cool autumn. That’s why this climate is a prerequisite for the existence of a rich variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts. The country lacks a well-developed heavy industry (mainly in the past); therefore, Bulgarian soils are clean and fertile.

Here is a picture of a traditional Bulgarian bee yard, which collects honey from forests and wild flowers in the fields.

bee houses in the countryside

Plants in Bulgaria have a strong aroma, fruits and vegetables are incredibly delicious. The land in Bulgaria is suitable for clean production, and as in recent years there has been a trend for further reduction in industrial output. For example, Central Balkan, Strandzha and Rila are especially environmentally friendly in terms of air pollution

Why the yogurt has such a good taste? Well, one reason, which I forgot to mention is that the fact that animals eat a wide variety of herbs and plants unique to Bulgaria and the Bulgarian climate. Bulgaria is a country very rich in medicinal herbs. The specifics of the climate and soils are favourable for the growth of many herbs, the total number of which is about 3600 species.

Other Industries:

Bulgaria is among Europe’s largest producers of lead, zinc and copper, and produces around ten per cent of the world’s hydraulic machinery. Other products include machine tools, caustic soda, nuclear energy, military hardware/munitions and many other finished and semi-finished products.

The country is the largest electricity exporter in south-eastern Europe. About 14% of the total industrial production relates to machine building, and 20% of the workforce is employed in this field.

For the End… Let’s Eat!!!!!!

While not known for our good food, Bulgaria makes some pretty delicious stuff (the positive side of being at the crossroads between Europe and Asia). We have a diverse taste of different cultures. You can start your day with a few pieces of banitsa, a greasy, delicious, crispy baked pastry filled with something interesting (usually egg, onion or potato).

Follow up with a few gallons of Ayran – a traditional Bulgarian yoghurt drink (Best yoghurt in the world). Next, you might want to indulge a few gulps of Tarator, a cucumber, garlic and yoghurt soup. Then get serious with a classic “Shopska salad” – Bulgaria’s trademark cucumber, tomato, onion, cheese and parsley mix, which local usually enjoy with very chunky oversized skewers of traditional barbecued meat.

A few loafs of bread with spreads of Bulgarian Lyutenitsa, a tomato and capsicum spread, indulge in a couple of famous Bulgarian kyufte, or stuffed meatballs, and of course, don’t forget a few rounds of Rakia, our trademark drink to end the night.

Need pics? Here is an inspiration.

bowl with soup
plate with food
tempting food

Author: Kristina Stanoeva

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