Located at the western end of the Balkans, Bulgaria is a largely mountainous country with a rich history. The country is home to many beautiful national parks and a diverse cuisine. Bulgarians are known for their love of meat dishes, but there is also a lot of delicious vegetarian food to enjoy. Bulgarian cuisine has a great deal in common with Middle Eastern foods and includes dishes such as moussaka, gyuvetch, baklava, and kibbeh.
A popular drink in Bulgaria is boza, which is made from wheat and millet. It contains very little alcohol and is very refreshing. It is often served with banitsa at breakfast. Another traditional Bulgarian beverage is rakia, which can be quite strong and has up to 50% alcohol. A common variety of rakia is the iced rakia, which is very cold and offers an even more refreshing taste.
The national flag of Bulgaria consists of three colour fields, white, green, and red, positioned horizontally from top to bottom. The white field symbolizes peace, the green represents nature, and the red stands for the blood of the Bulgarian people. The flag is a symbol of the sovereignty and independence of the state.
One of the most popular foods in Bulgaria is sarma, which are stuffed vine leaves or cabbage. The filling is a mix of minced meat and rice. The leaves are then poached in a tomato sauce.
Another favorite dish is cholama, which is a rich stew that is served in a clay pot. The meal is typically layered with pork, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and onions. It is seasoned with peppers and served with a side of sour cream.
Nervous meatballs are a must-try for anyone visiting Bulgaria. These tasty, a bit spicy, and very flavorful meatballs are a mixture of beef and pork with breadcrumbs and are then made nervous with the addition of hot red pepper. They are a staple of every Bulgarian restaurant menu and can be found in shops across the country.
Lastly, shopska salad is the embodiment of summer in a bowl. This mix of vegetables is usually a collection of whatever is fresh and in the fridge at that time. There are a number of variations to this classic Bulgarian dish including a mix of peeled cucumbers, tomatoes, and parsley as well as a large helping of sliced or crumbled feta cheese.
Bulgarian culture has contributed many acclaimed musicians, actors, writers, philosophers, and other notable figures to the world. Boris Christoff and Nicolai Ghiaurov are two of the most famous opera singers in modern history while Julia Kristeva and Tzvetan Todorov were influential European thinkers. The great harpist Raina Kabaivanska is also from Bulgaria. The Bulgarian poet Dimitar Golembev is also one of the most famous 20th century writers in the world.