I can Bulgaria

Dear readers,
Here’s my first post after a well relaxed Easter break in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria for many, is a distant and not well known country. Today’s post is intented to let you get acquainted with the country, its folks and its cuisine.
Bulgaria is an Eastern European Country, bordered by Turkey in Southeast, Romania in the North, Greece in the South, Serbia in the West and Macedonia (FYROM) in Southwest. The all Eastern border is the Black Sea.
It is a country with an enormous natural beauty, namely is mountains, famous for its Ski slopes and Nature Parks. The term “Balkan”, todays associated with all countries from Turkey to Italy, comes from a Turkish expression for the highest mountain in central Bulgaria, its means “Green Mountain”.
Bulgaria has many interesting cultural sites (in fact has 7 main Unesco places to visit) and long and interesting history that is reflected in its people, culture and cuisine.
It is for sure one of the oldest countries in Europe, its genesis dates back to 632 DC, the Bulgars are a tribe originally from Central Asia, that is why so many modern Bulgars have a strong Asian eye shape imprint.
In 1393 Bulgaria fell under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and received a harsh occupation for 500 year that left scars, still visible today. The country was liberated in 1878 by the Tsar Alexander of Russia.
The Bulgars speak Bulgarian a Slav language, equal to Macedonian, very close to Serb and with similarities to Russian.
It was in Bulgaria that the Cyrillic Alphabet was born, first as a code to deceive the Turks, enabling Christian Orthodox Monks to continue praying and then as a proper alphabet, used now-a-days by many eastern European countries.
Due to its geographical position Bulgaria (main crossroad of Europe/Asia), left a genetic blueprint pretty much reflected in all its people (so many different looking people).
Bulgaria was also one of the “iron curtain” communist ruled countries and the first to be liberated (February 1990).
So now you have an idea of the melting pot that Bulgaria was and it is. So many influences of many cultures throughout the years shaped modern Bulgaria to a country with a rich cultural background, extensive cuisine and wonderful wines.
As you know, yogurt was born in Bulgaria, thus many dishes are prepared with yogurt, one of my favourites is Tarator Soup (recipe already posted in the blog), Bulgarians drink also Ayran, (like in Turkey and in many Mediterranean countries) a Yogurt based drink.
They have many interesting Kebaps and Grilled meat in the Spit dishes. Bulgarians are mad about Salads and Feta Cheese (used in many pastries).
To give an idea, If you decide to visit Bulgaria you will find a cuisine that is a mix of Greek, Turkish, Mediterranean, Arab blended with many local delicious dishes. All this, of course alongside a wonderful full bodied Bulgarian Red Wine. Bulgaria  is a world Top Wine producer. Do not forget that Bulgaria was a Roman province (Tracia) thus wine has been produced there for a long long time.
Pay a well deserved visit to Bulgaria and have fun.
Bon Apetit,
Chef Gourmet Du Art

Curiosities: 1) The Bulgarians drink Firewater (Rakia) with the Salad (Starter); 2) In Bulgaria a Yes with the head means No and a No means Yes; 3) In Bulgaria Restaurants are always serving throughout the day; 4) Bulgaria is the largest world producer of Rose Water; 5) Bulgaria main religion is Christian Orthodox.

Places where you can enjoy a wonderful meal: Restaurant Vodenitzata, Vitosha Mountain Sofia; Restaurant Lebed, Sofia; Restaurant Kasapinova Kashta, Bansko; Restaurant Molerite, Bansko.

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