The summer is here and so is the heat of Bulgaria. Bulgaria is a country that are really taking care of the fruits and vegetables of the seasons. This means that in the Bulgarian summer you can eat fresh salads from newly grown vegetables and eat juicy and healthy fruits as deserts, filled with vitamins. Many Bulgarians like to spend their time out in the summer and grill meat. Here are some inspiration what to eat in Bulgaria during the summer!
Tarator the Cold Soup
Tarator can be eaten as a soup on a warm summer day, as an appetizer or as a sauce served together with some food. Tarator is a cold served soup made from yogurt, cucumbers, water and garlic. It reminds many people of the Greek tsatsiki. Cut the cucumbers into small pieces, stir the yogurt and then pour it over the cucumbers and add crushed garlic, dill, oil and salt. Finally add some water but not too much to make it too thin but enough to make it more like a soup. Some people are topping the soup with walnuts. If you like you can even add some ice cubes. It can be served in a bawl or in a glass. This is a favorite for many Bulgarians in the summer, and sometimes its being served together with a glass of Rakia (The world of Rakija) or Mastika which taste a lot like Ouzo.
Here is another favorite that are being eaten and loved all over Bulgaria. Its a fresh salad made from fresh vegetables from the summer season. The ingredients are tomatoes, cucumbers, sunflower oil, onion, pepper and sirene (Bulgarian feta cheese). Just cut and mix the ingredients and then you have one of the most beloved salads of Bulgaria! If you want you can top the salad with an olive and some parsley. This salad is popular all over the Balkan peninsula and shopska salata means farmer´s salad.
This is basically another version of tarator. The ingredients are the same; yogurt, garlic and cucumbers, but the consistence is very different. Instead of a soup this salad is served as a creamy ball topped with an olive, walnut and maybe a parsley leave or dill. This is perfect as a starter or as side food next to the grilled meat. Snejanka means snow white.
Tsatsa and Beer
If you are by the sea side in Bulgaria during the summer I strongly recommend you to try tsatsa! Tsatsa is the European sprat also known as brisling, skipper or bristling. There are plenty of tsatsa in the Black Sea so no wonder its a popular meal. It has a lots of healthy fat and contains a lot of vitamins as well. You can prepare the tsatsa in many different ways, but in the summer on the sea side this fish are being served deep fried together with salt and lemon on the side. This is the perfect snack on a day on the beach together with a cold beer, I would recommend Burgasko (Bulgarian Beer).
No summer without cheverme! This is one of the most beloved meals for the Bulgarian summer. Cheverme is a slow cooked lamb (sometimes its a pig) over the fire. The absolute minimum time for cooking is 10 hours but usually this is about almost a days work, where they are drinking and keeping each other company and from time to time they change the person that keeps rotating the lamb. It is believed that this tradition comes from the Rhodope mountains in the south of Bulgaria. Since cheverme takes so long time to prepare its usually being served at big celebrations such as weddings, graduations and birthdays, but you will find this dish at classical traditional Bulgarian restaurants. You will also found it on many folklore festivals all over the country.
A more common meal to grill is shishcheta. Its marinated chunks of chicken or pork mixed with vegetables and mushrooms on a stick that´s being put on the grill.
In the summer many Bulgarians are eating the fresh fruits as desserts. Why to make it complicated when you have so much good season food around you? Just cut a fresh watermelon, get yourself some grapes or figs, pick some raspberry s or other forest berry’s, or eat juicy peaches. Its a joy to eat all this colorful freshness and boost with vitamins!
So what are you going to eat?