Bulgarian Cuisine – Hearty and Healthy

Bulgarian cuisine is full of hearty and healthy meals. The country’s famous soups are great for a cold day and many local dishes are known to have healing properties. Shkembe chorba is one of the more unusual Bulgarian foods and it may take some people by surprise as its main ingredient is tripe (the stomach lining of an animal). This dish is often eaten when a person is feeling under the weather, but for most it’s something they either love or hate.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is central to daily life and was able to retain its position in society even during socialist times. After the fall of communism the Church experienced a revival and religious holidays were once again celebrated along with baptisms and church weddings. Families are still a fundamental social unit and several generations can be found living under the same roof, especially in rural areas.

Singing is a big part of Bulgarian culture and it is not uncommon to hear traditional music being played at weddings, funerals, seasonal rituals and on special occasions. The songs are typically a mix of dissonant and call-and-response vocal styles. They are filled with poetic imagery, humor and pathos.

A lot of the traditional food comes from the countryside, particularly the shepherd’s cheese called keovka. It is a firm cheese that can be eaten with crackers or as a spread on bread or sandwiches. It is also used in keek pies, which are small stuffed pastries filled with meat and vegetables.

Typical foods in Bulgaria include sarma, which are rolled vine or cabbage leaves filled with minced meat and rice. They are then cooked in a tomato sauce. Another popular food is supa topcheta, which is a warm and filling soup made with vegetables such as onions, carrots and celery. It can be flavored with garlic and cumin. The food is usually served with a large portion of fresh bread and lyutenitsa, which is a sort of relish consisting of grilled tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplant.

Other popular foods in Bulgaria are tarator, which is a mixture of yoghurt, cucumber, water, salt, oil and garlic. It is sometimes seasoned with walnuts or dill and is a favorite for summer lunches and drinks. Another popular snack is mekitsa, which are deep fried simple donuts.

In terms of business, it’s important to build relationships with counterparts before diving into business discussions. It’s also helpful to have an interpreter available during meetings and it would be a good idea to have business cards translated into Bulgarian. Adding a note about how long the company has been in existence, as well as any academic qualifications, will help to establish trust and credibility.

Bulgarian is a member of the European Union and therefore citizens don’t require a visa when traveling to other countries in the EU. A passport is needed, however. If you plan to visit a country outside of the EU, it’s best to check the visa requirements at your nearest Bulgarian Embassy or Consulate before making travel arrangements.