Bulgarian cuisine (Bulgarian: българска кухня, balgarska kuhnya) is a representative of the cuisine of Southeastern Europe. Essentially South Slavic, it shares characteristics with other Balkans cuisines. Owing to the relatively warm climate and diverse geography affording excellent growth conditions for a variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits, Bulgarian cuisine is diverse.
Famous for its rich salads required at every meal, Bulgarian cuisine is also noted for the diversity and quality of dairy products and the variety of Bulgarian wines and local alcoholic drinks such as rakia, mastika and menta. Bulgarian cuisine features also a variety of hot and cold soups, an example of a cold soup being tarator. There are many different Bulgarian pastries as well such as banitsa.
Most Bulgarian dishes are oven baked, steamed, or in the form of stew. Deep-frying is not very typical, but grilling - especially different kinds of meats - is very common. Pork meat is the most common meat in the Bulgarian cuisine. Oriental dishes do exist in Bulgarian cuisine with most common being moussaka, gyuvetch, and baklava. A very popular ingredient in Bulgarian cuisine is the Bulgarian white brine cheese called "sirene" (сирене). It is the main ingredient in many salads, as well as in a variety of pastries. Fish and chicken are widely eaten and while beef is less common as most cattle are bred for milk production rather than meat, veal is a natural byproduct of this process and it is found in many popular recipes. Bulgaria is a net exporter of lamb and its own consumption of the meat is prevalent during its production time in spring.
Traditionally Bulgarians have consumed a notable quantity of yoghurt per head and is noted historically for the production of high quality yoghurt, including using a unique variety of micro-organism called Lactobacillus bulgaricus in the manufacturing process. It has even been claimed that yoghurt originates from Bulgaria. Though this cannot be substantiated, Bulgaria has been part of a region that has cultivated and consumed yoghurt from as far back as 3000 BC.
Certain entrees, salads, soups and dishes go well with alcoholic beverages and the alcohol of choice for some is Bulgarian wine.
Read more about Bulgarian Cuisine: Holiday Meals
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