Bulgaria has an ancient and proud cuisine, dating back to the Thracian empire many thousands of years ago. The countryside is rich in beehive-shaped tombs called “tholoi” that attest to the uncounted millennia of settlement. Bulgarian cuisine is a true delight and it saddens me that more people outside of the region have never sampled its delicious glory – we will fix that today!
Bulgaria has an exceptionally healthful cuisine, which put the country’s famous dairy products, nuts, fresh vegetables, herbs and fermented pickles to exceptional use. Their yogurt is truly world-famous, as noted in this excerpted blog post from bacillusbulgaricus.com:
Bulgarian yogurt is the most popular variety of yogurt in the world and is one of the things that make Bulgarians proud to call themselves Bulgarians; it is their exclusive invention and heritage that dates back many centuries. A mildly sour-tasting yogurt, kiselo mlyako is undoubtedly the best and the healthiest of all dairy products that are available to consumers nowadays. The western world calls it Bulgarian yogurt but in its homeland, Bulgaria, it’s called sour milk. Whatever the name, this wonderful probiotic food has impeccable ancestry – it is believed to have been known for at least 4000 years.
Bulgarian yogurt comes under the general category of yogurts which contain live bacteria. For yogurt to be considered of the Bulgarian variety, it needs to be made with two specific starter bacteria, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus (often simply called Lactobacillus bulgaricus) and Streptococcus salivarius subspecies thermophilus (often shortened to Streptococcus thermophilus). Most yogurts contain these two as they are such excellent starters but most “ordinary” yogurt has other good bacteria added as well.
It is the particular combination of bacteria that characterizes the thickness, acidity, taste and aroma of the yogurt. Kiselo mlyako’s uniqueness lies in the peculiarities in the climate of the region and the very specific way in which it is prepared – using a combination of the two strains: Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Thermophilus. The Streptococcus Thermophilus bacteria goes into action first and prepares the perfect environment for Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, which in turn starts multiplying and slowly turns the milk into yogurt.
This recipe is perhaps the most healthful you can imagine in that it uses probiotic-laden yogurt, walnuts, dill, garlic and fermented pickles – all proven superfoods and all delicious!
Trakiiska salad is enjoyed by Bulgarians in the warm summer cities along the Black Sea coast.
Sometimes called «Snow White Salad», snežanka (снежанка, snejanka ), also known as trakiiska (тракийска, or Thracian salad), is a mixture of creamy yoghurt and grated cucumbers, sometimes with garlic; others call it koprivnica salata (Копривница салата) after assuring you that the yoghurt is made from buffalo milk
Trakiiska salad uses pickles instead of the grated cucumber used in Snejanka and is therefore more sour and refreshing in taste. Bulgarians typically prepare it thick and creamy by using yogurt that was strained from its water for 5-6 hours in a piece of cheesecloth.
This recipe is ridiculously easy to make and will be a guaranteed hit at your next party or by your family as a delicious and healthful treat!
Partake of this ancient cuisine, my Citizens – and ENJOY! 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo