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Bulgarian cuisine. Presentation by Evgenia Terzieva.

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Bulgarian cuisine

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    1. Bulgariancuisine Presentationby Evgenia Terzieva.

    2. If you want to try something delicious, you can start tasting different dishes in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian kitchen is very tasty and there is no man, who has tasted the typical Bulgarian cuisines and has not been inlove with it. The secret is in the spices, which are being used in the cooking. They are not only making the meals more delicious, but they are very healthy as well as they contain many organic minerals.

    3. Historically, to be fair, talking to anyone from the Balkans about our national cuisine is just hilarious. The vast military and political influence of the Ottoman Empire has tint even culinary every conquered ethnicity. Stew, aubergine, kapama, kavarma, baklava – these dishes are of course with Turkish origin. The typical spices and cooking technologies, the use of ground meat in the recipes are an integral part of each cuisine all over the peninsula. baklava kavarma

    4. Furthermore, there are also traces of Greek influence in Bulgaria, because of the vast areas of Thrace, who during the centuries have passed now in ours, now in Greece. Dishes like moussaka, tarator, easter cakes, oddments. Similar recipes we can find both in Bulgarian and Greece cuisine. moussaka tarator

    5. The Slavic origin of the Bulgarians and Russia's role in our history and culture, are found in the variety of bakery products, whose variety we certainly conquer our neighbors with – banitsa, tutmanik, katmi, tiganitsi, pirojki, mekitsi, donuts, cakes, and loaves. banitsa katmi

    6. And can we imagine dishes, which we know as Bulgarian, without potatoes, peppers, bean, or tomatoes? Although we know the monastery bean soup or the Rhodope patatnik as typical Bulgarian dishes, the origin of their ingredients is in fact American. monastery bean soup

    7. Well… Cooking traditions in Bulgaria are strong and are kept alive for many years by passing recipes from grandparents to parents to children to grandchildren.

    8. From time immemorial bread has been held especially high among Bulgarians and has always been part of their meals. Sometimes in not so distant past bread was the main nutritional source for many people. There are numerous proverbs and wise sayings, to show us how important the bread was for Bulgarians:“If there is bread, there is everything”, “No one is bigger than bread", etc.

    9. Today in Bulgaria a wide variety of breads and pastry are prepared, every one typical for certain region but one of them - banitsa is prepared in every household and is popular all over the country. Making banitsa needs a great skill to roll out pastry and then to join the sheets of pastry with filling between them. pitka banitsa

    10. Usually filling is made out of sirene(cheese), whipped eggs and yoghurt. But sometimes banitsa is also prepared with vegetable filling (spinach, leeks), minced meat filling or fruit filling (apples, pumpkin). That passion for pastry surely comes from the part of Slavonic blood that runs through our veins it is said.  banitsa with spinach banitsa with pumpkin

    11. From the proto-Bulgarians, who mainly earned their living by stock-breeding, comes the strong presence of meat in the traditional Bulgarian cuisine. Nowadays Bulgarians cook mainly pork, lamb, chicken, veal and beef. Technology of cooking is simple and healthy – slow roasting – on a spit, on plate, on a tile, in earthen pot, boiled or stewed. 

    12. Undoubtedly the most popular foods are cheese(sirene) and yoghurt(kiselo mlyako). Legend says it that their origin is Thracian and is linked to the ancient inhabitants of the Bulgarian lands and the most popular livestock they used to breed - the sheep. sirene kiselo mlyako

    13. Sireneis brined white cheese, produced from sheep, cow or buffalo milk, and is both used on the table and as an essential part of other foods - from Shopska salad to Banitsa.

    14. Kiselo mlyakois sour milk (yoghurt), produced also from sheep, cow or buffalo milk, is a particular variety produced by the Lactobacterium Bulgaricum bacteria and grows no place else in the world. It has found an important part in many Bulgarian foods.

    15. Today, dairy products are mostly made of sheep or cow's milk, but in Bulgaria you can also try buffalo milk with its proven healing properties, as well as goat-milk cheese.

    16. Bulgaria is also the only place in Europe, where you can enjoy the real yoghurt, whose great refreshing taste is due to the lactic ferment, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, existing only in Bulgaria. Scientists have proven that a key factor for the longer lifespan of the nation is the regular consumption of yoghurt. Definitely, all Bulgarians eat a lot of yoghurt, everyday and in different forms.

    17. In Bulgarian restaurants you will see many people accompanying their meal with a white drink which looks like milk. This is actually the so-called ayrian – a drink very easy to make (and quite refreshing too) - equal parts yoghurt and water stirred briskly to mix well. ayrian

    18. Another popular treat prepared with yoghurt is the typical Bulgarian cold soup – tarator, which is made of yoghurt, water, chopped cucumber, dill and garlic.

    19. Yogurt can be served even at the end of a meal instead of dessert, like strained yoghurt with honey and nuts or strained yoghurt with fig jam. Those foods are a real elixir for health and longevity, especially in the hot summer days.  yogurt with fruits yogurt with honey and nuts yogurt with jam

    20. Bulgarians are very fond of vegetables, too. Grown under the bright Bulgarian sun, vegetables provide not only many vitamins and minerals, but they also offer great variety of flavours.

    21. Commonly you will be offered Shopska salad; this salad undoubtedly is a great contribution of Bulgaria in culinary world - it is made of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, parsley and grated feta cheese.

    22. There are many other vegetable specialties, which is worth trying, like kyopoolu (made of baked eggplant and pepper mashed into puree and flavoured with garlic, cooking oil and vinegar) or chushka byurek (baked pepper stuffed with feta cheese and eggs filling) or turshia, which is offered in winter only and is made of pickled vegetables (peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, gherkins) or lyutenitsa. kyopoolu chushka byurek turshia

    23. TheBulgarian lyutenitsa comprises a spicy mixture of mashed and cooked tomatoes, aubergines, garlic, hot peppers and vegetable oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and parsley. Variations of lyutenitsa exist in the national cuisines of most Balkan states.

    24. There is also a special place reserved in the Bulgarian cuisine for the many aromatic spices and herbs which grow in abundance here - savory, thyme, mint, hogweed, laurel-leaves, basil, rosemary and many more. They are much valued in the whole orthodox world and Bulgarians even have a special feast dedicated to herbs and their healing properties - Enyovden (Midsummer Day). 

    25. The greater part of the traditional dishes refers to various rituals, myths and beliefs of the folklore and the Church calendar of the Bulgarians. Wine is the sacred drink. Yet from the ancient times our lands are famous with winemaking. Thracians were among the best and most famous winemakers at that time and the Bulgarians have continued the tradition. The Bulgarian wine, although far from the fame of the French and Italian wine, is worth tasting.

    26. Today in Bulgaria we grow not only the most popular types of grapes like – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Traminer, Muscat Otonel, Riesling, but also some rare varieties, specific only for the Balkan region, such as Gumza, Dimiat and Pamid.

    27. A unique variety is Mavrud, which is grown only in Bulgaria since the ancient times - the wine made of Mavrud is ruby red, thick and full-bodied and its qualities are recognized worldwide. Other unique varieties, grown on few areas and therefore very valuable are keratsuda and shiroka melnishka loza. Bulgarian wines are fantastic and not in the least expensive – but be careful of the home made village wine. It will kill your head in the morning!

    28. Another spirit drink traditional for many Balkan nations is rakia. This is a strong alcoholic beverage (about 40% or more alcohol by volume), which is made through distillation of fermented fruits. The most popular types in Bulgaria are grape rakia, plum rakia and apricot rakia. Bulgarians usually drink rakiawith salad when they start a meal and accompany their main course with wine. 

    29. Healthy, tasty and easy to prepare the Bulgarian national cuisine will sharpen your appetite and turn you admirer for life. By combining the culinary traditions of many nations, it will present to you a colorful tale about the history and the folklore of the Balkans. 

    30. Thank you for your attention!