Friday, 9 September 2011

Impressions of Bulgaria, Part 4 (Food)

Before I will tell you any more ’bout Firenze, I’d like to get Bulgaria over and done with. So here’s the 4th and last batch of pictures, themed FOOD.
I admit that I was a bit worried about food, before I went to Bulgaria. It was right after my decision to turn vegetarian again, and I wasn’t really sure if the local cuisine would include an ample amount of vegetarian dishes or if I would have to live on bread and cheese alone (which isn’t per se such a bad thing). But it turned out, yes. Bulgarians do eat a lot of salad and their vegetables are wonderful. Most main dishes do contain meat, but there’s usually a way to somehow meander around them, and I never had to go to bed hungry. The contrary! Just one thing: it’s absolutely pointless if you ask the waiter at a restaurant if something contains meat. Meat seems to mean ‘a piece of meat’, so if something just contains minced meat or bacon, they will gladly assure you that it is a meat free dish.

First evening feast – Starters. Here we have the ever-present cucumbers and tomatoes, as well as Snezhanka Salad (the Bulgarian version of Tzatziki), some sort of Cream Cheese Paprika concoction (yum!) as well as Ljutenitsa (sauce of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc.). All served on top of an enormous piece of flat bread, as you will see when you look closely enough.

First evening feast – Main course. Apart from the ubiquitous grilled chops which I didn’t have and which aren’t that interesting anyway, here we have a nice bean stew, and absolutely wonderful baby potatoes in a garlic-dill-sauce. How come I haven’t yet made these at home?! I remember writing that on my mental to do list as soon as I tasted them.

Chips from a ratty take-away in the middle of nowhere. Usually there would be grated white cheese (a manouri-like sort) on top of it, sadly not in this case. I did like the little salt cellar chef, though.

The typical Bulgarian flatbread called Parlenka. It’s sooooooo good.

So as I said, about one week before I went to Bulgaria, I had decided that I wouldn’t eat meat or fish any more. I do, however, make exceptions when I am by the seaside and I have it on good authority that the seafood is locally caught. This was the last time I had fish – we all shared a platter with an assortment of Black Sea fish, as well as these tiny fried anchovies, so-called tsatsas. They were absolutely worth overcoming my queasy qualms when it comes to swallowing fish whole. But it was fine, there was nothing unwelcome to be tasted. In fact, with a little lemon juice drizzled on top, and accopanied by Snezhanka Salad, they were delicious!

I’m a bit shocked that I never took a picture of a Shopska salad, which was indeed what I existed on mostly during my stay in Bulgaria. The recipe is always a little different, so it doesn’t get boring, but the main ingredients: cucumbers, tomatoes, grated white cheese on top. It’s all you need on a hot day, really. I love it.


celine said...

yum! that platter of starters looks especially delicious!

d.ash. said...

it was! i could live on food like this, and eat nothing else for months... :)