A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about bulgarian cuisine

Birthday visitors!

Veliko Tarnovo


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

After I finished work today, at 19.45, I immediately walked to ETAP bus station to collect some visitors. My sisters Emma and Kate were here for the weekend so we could celebrate our 30th birthday together!

When I got there they had got off the bus five minutes before. I took them round the corner to Tempo Pizza straight away for some dinner; over tarator, vegetable pizza and some tomato, mozzarella, pesto and proscuitto salad they told me about what they'd got up to in Sofia before they took the bus to VT. They'd tried kashkavalki for the first time after spotting them in a bakery window and recognising them from a photo of mine I'd taken before Christmas, looked round Sveta Nedelya Cathedral and found one of the cake shops I'd raved about!

SAM_5053.JPG

By the time our food arrived I had come into possession of a little stuffed white bear, courtesy of a scratchcard that came with my bottle of Coke Zero. The tarator came first - I insisted that they try it, because I know that usually when I absolutely love something, there's a good chance that they will too. I was proved correct!

SAM_5045.JPGSAM_5051.JPG

We walked from the restaurant to my flat, stopping at one of the lookout points on the way for them to take a picture or two.

SAM_5059.JPG

Before we went to bed we went next door to have some hot chocolate and a chat with 'F'.

Birthday tomorrow... :-)

Posted by 3Traveller 22:42 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged sisters bulgaria veliko_tarnovo bulgarian_cuisine Comments (0)

Tryavna: Ice, hot sand coffee and amazing woodcarving

Tryavna


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

I went on a lovely day trip today with 'F'. We went to a very historic town/village called Tryavna first, before moving on to Dryanovski Monastery, which is set in a dramatic gorge. Both are within 40km from Veliko Tarnovo.

We went by car, driving along winding roads with a mixture of mountains and fields on both sides. At one point, when we had a hill directly on the right hand side of the road, I noticed great hunks of ice like stalactites on the side of the rock. The water that usually comes out of the side of the rock had frozen. I'd noticed this before on a much smaller scale in Gurko Street in VT, actually - built on the side of a steep hill, water trickles from the wall of rock on one side, both naturally and through the occasional small metal pipe.

We had a lovely walk round Tryavna. There was more snow around here than in VT (where almost all of it had gone) so some of the roads were a bit slippery - neither of us fell over though.

IMG_5282.JPGIMG_5281.JPGIMG_5270.JPGIMG_5269.JPGIMG_5276.JPGIMG_5279.JPG

Tryavna is famous in Bulgaria for woodcarving and icon-painting and also for being the birthplace of the Bulgarian revolutionary Angel Kanchev, who on being captured by the police next to the Romanian border in 1872, shot himself rather than run the risk of betraying vital secrets under torture. It is also a very historic town, full of beautiful National Revival architecture.

We were both a bit peckish when we first arrived, so we found a café and had some coffee and something sweet. The café was a hot drinks and sweets place only - nothing savoury! I tried a 'hot sand coffee'; the waitress brought out an empty, painted ceramic espresso cup first. Then she brought out a mini version of the copper jug with a silver inside and a long wooden handle which I gave my sister Emma for Christmas. She poured my coffee from the jug into my espresso cup; it was a very dark and rich brown colour, richer than normal. It was very similar to the Greek coffee I had at Anastasia's in St Albans a few years ago; you aren't supposed to drink the last drop due to the thick layer of coffee grounds at the bottom. Apparently the copper jug is placed on hot sand; that's what heats the coffee. I imagine no kettles are involved! I don't think this is a traditional Bulgarian thing - I think they got this style of coffee from either Greece or Turkey.

IMG_5284.JPG

Opposite the café was Daskalov House, a National Revival house museum originally built for a silk and rose-oil merchant in 1808.

IMG_5296.JPGIMG_5286.JPGIMG_5293.JPGIMG_5294.JPG

A little museum of woodcarving on one wing included a reconstruction of a 19th-century woodworker's shop, some carved wooden statues of old Bulgarian Tsars and lots of intricately carved icon frames (with icons inside). In many of them, the frame was bigger than the icon!

IMG_5302.JPGIMG_5304.JPGIMG_5305.JPGIMG_5303.JPG

The rest of the house was also small, but interesting. Pride of place are two of the ceilings, which have fantastically carved suns. They were the result of a competition between a master woodcarver his apprentice when the house was first built. They both worked on their ceilings for six months, each room sealed off from the other so they never saw each other's work. When they were both unveiled, the merchant Daskalov said that the apprentice had won, but the Guild of Carvers, who had overseen the proceedings, said that the master had. The Guild were still so impressed with the apprentice, however, that they declared him a master. I've forgotten who did which ceiling, but although they were both impressive, one was definitely a level above the other, in my opinion. The sun in the middle of the ceiling was surrounded by very intricately carved daisies - no wonder it the whole thing took six months to carve!

IMG_5307.JPGIMG_5314.JPGIMG_5309.JPG

After leaving there we walked round Tryavna some more, taking it all in. There are about 150 listed buildings here so I took quite a few photos!

IMG_5328.JPGIMG_5325.JPGIMG_5322.JPGIMG_5323.JPGIMG_5332.JPGIMG_5334.JPGIMG_5330.JPG

Eventually we both felt like lunch, so we found a pizza restaurant and tucked in. I had my old favourite, tarator, as a starter and we shared a pizza and a side of stir-fried vegetables.

Then on to Dryanovski Monastery...

Posted by 3Traveller 16:24 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged mountains snow bulgaria house_museum bulgarian_cuisine tryavna Comments (0)

Bulgarian Chinese food

Veliko Tarnovo


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Edit from January 2019: Although I stupidly forgot to note down the name of the Chinese restaurant at the time, I remember it was near Lidl - having looked at Google Maps, I think it could have been Hua Zhou, just off of Bld. Bulgaria.

The cold weather has finally properly hit us at times this week; it's been a mixture though. Today is the warmest day so far this year, at about 15 degrees, but most of the week has been very cold (although still sunny). Once in the morning it was -8 degrees, on another morning it was about -13! There was a bit of snow around for most of the week, but the weather today has finished it off. Apparently the sunny weather will continue all next week, except for tomorrow when there'll be more snow.

I took these photos of the view from my terrace, Gurko Street, the Assen Monument and the River Yantra the other day;

IMG_5238.JPGIMG_5240.JPGIMG_5243.JPGIMG_5263.JPGIMG_5250.JPGIMG_5252.JPGIMG_5257.JPGIMG_5254.JPGIMG_5255.JPG

On Friday we had a staff meal at a really nice restaurant in town called Shtastlivetsa ('The Lucky Man'). I'd eaten there once before, but back in September at an outside table, so I hadn't been downstairs before. I've forgotten the name of what I had, but it was roasted vegetables like aubergine, courgette and onion on a very thin base of filo pastry. I had Turkish ice cream for pudding, which was an interesting texture - a mixture between normal ice cream texture and a slight stretchiness, like mozzarella but more solid.

To keep on the theme of food, last night I went to a Chinese restaurant for the first time in Bulgaria. I went with 'R', 'F' and a couple of friends of hers I hadn't met before. I hadn't known there even were any Chinese restaurants in VT before then, but apparently there are two or three, in the outskirts rather than the centre. The food was very similar to British Chinese food, except for a simple but delicious salad containing sesame seeds. They also had veal, something I've never seen at a Chinese restaurant in the UK, instead of beef. For pudding I had 'fried ice cream' - ice cream fried very quickly in batter. Only a little bit of it had melted. It was delicious, but very filling! It came with a colourful paper peacock on a wooden stick. Its tail spreads out like a fan.

Posted by 3Traveller 15:40 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged snow bulgaria veliko_tarnovo tsarevets_fortress bulgarian_cuisine river_yantra gurko_street assen_monument Comments (0)

Christmas Day

Veliko Tarnovo


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

I wasn't quite sure how today would go, considering that it was Christmas morning last year when Dad lapsed into unconsciousness and never woke up. I thought of Dad even more than usual today, but having Dave with me helped massively whenever thoughts turned back to the horrible events on that fateful day a year ago.

The weather was very sunny and relatively warm, so in the morning we went on a long walk round Tsarevets Fortress, Gurko Street and the main street, taking photos with Dave's camera as we went.

On the way to the fortress;

DSC_0024.JPGDSC_0025.JPGDSC_0028.JPGDSC_0032.JPGDSC_0045.JPGDSC_0046.JPG

Tsarevets Fortress:

DSC_0075.JPGDSC_0072.JPGDSC_0053.JPGDSC_0087.JPG8dd805d0-1b27-11e9-99d0-35ad7cd88a9f.JPGDSC_0088.JPGDSC_0096.JPGDSC_0109.JPG9142f630-1b27-11e9-af5f-39b8c474335b.JPGDSC_0133.JPGDSC_0134.JPGDSC_0138.JPG9261fac0-1b27-11e9-8bb0-b756569a662a.JPGDSC_0144.JPGDSC_0174.JPGDSC_0188.JPGDSC_0110.JPGDSC_0190.JPGDSC_0197.JPG

Gurko Street;

DSC_0214.JPGDSC_0226.JPGDSC_0204.JPGDSC_0203.JPGDSC_0208.JPGDSC_0219.JPG

The rest of our walk;

DSC_0256.JPGDSC_0258.JPGDSC_0264.JPGDSC_0263.JPGDSC_0266.JPG

We also walked past my workplace, where I discovered a Christmas card to myself from Dave's parents in the postbox by the door. :-)

Unfortunately Dave dropped his camera's lens cap at the fortress, losing it for ever just after he'd taken some pictures of me standing on the Execution Rock. This rock overhangs the side of the hill; centuries ago traitors were thrown off it to their deaths. He dropped the lens cap to the side of the rock, but although I thought it may have landed on a ledge of earth a couple of metres below, I decided not to try and find a way down there in case I slipped to my death. Although it was very sunny, there was still mud around. At least it wasn't his camera that was lost!

We ate our Christmas dinner very late, because we didn't get back from our walk until between 1 and 2pm, which is when we started cooking. We had homemade tarator to start; for the main we had herb-sprinkled chicken breasts cooked in foil, roast potatoes, stuffing, carrots, leeks fried with mozzarella cheese (an experiment I shall definitely repeat) and lots and lots of lovely handmade bread sauce.

5e0764b0-1b2a-11e9-af5f-39b8c474335b.JPGIMG_4232.JPG5dd928c0-1b2a-11e9-a555-6d54e87cdbe8.JPG

We were so full after this we had to have a lie down for a couple of hours; it wasn't until we got up that we realised the thought of pudding had not even crossed our minds! We were still too full to eat anything - we didn't have anything else until about 10pm - so until then we opened presents and relaxed. I had some presents for Dave waiting in the UK, plus the plan was for him to choose his main present from me tomorrow in Veliko Tarnovo before we left for Sofia, so the only thing I had for him to open was a box of Bulgarian baklava and kadaif. Amongst other things, from him I got a really interesting-looking book called 'This Way Southward' by A. F. Tschiffely, published in 1940. It's an account of a journey through Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. He also got me a lovely calendar using photos we took in Ecuador last June.

Speaking of books, Emma and Kate each got me a really good book as well. Emma got me 'What Caesar Did for My Salad: The Secret Meanings of our Favourite Dishes' by Albert Jack and Kate got me 'King Harald's Saga'. I will keep all of these with me in Bulgaria to read after Christmas, rather than take them back to the UK on Saturday!

Before we had tea we played a game of Mapominoes, a game Mum gave us. As the name indicates, it's very similar to dominoes, but each card is a European country and you can only put one country next to others if it shares a border with them. You also get Transit cards which you can say is a particular country or sea. A very good idea for a game!

Tea was quite brief because we still weren't as hungry as we could have been. We didn't have the Christmas pudding at all in the end, because we knew it would be filling.

All day I kept a Christmas candle burning for Dad. Mum had given it to Dave to take with him to Bulgaria.

5d951ae0-1b2a-11e9-a555-6d54e87cdbe8.JPGDSC_0269.JPG

Posted by 3Traveller 08:13 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged christmas sisters dad dave bulgaria mum veliko_tarnovo fortifications tsarevets_fortress bulgarian_cuisine gurko_street Comments (0)

Christmas Eve

Veliko Tarnovo


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

On Christmas Eve morning Dave and I walked to the fruit & vegetable market and the supermarket below it. The stalls had a heavy emphasis on what is in season - they were filled with squashes, swedes, beets, onions, potatoes, cabbages, nuts and apples - but they also had some presumably imported oranges, mandarins and other fruits. I looked for brussel sprouts without any luck. There were also some stalls filled with loose dried fruits, such as apricots and figs, as well as more nuts, jars of preserved peppers and tomatoes, bagged dried herbs, dried peppers, jars of honey and last of all, slabs of raw, white animal fat. Near the entrance to the market some women were selling bare branches of a certain type of tree, that I think I mentioned I saw sold in Sofia, along with branches of fir.

b5098370-1b1a-11e9-a0fc-21bd74718c61.JPGb5b0e700-1b1a-11e9-8190-4f557fb6aac3.JPGIMG_4160.JPGb3f41bd0-1b1a-11e9-b292-4ff14b0de11d.JPG

After stocking up on Christmas food, we dumped the stuff at the flat and had a rest before going out again for lunch and some shopping in the old town. I had my old favourite, tarator (a cold soup made from yoghurt, cucumber, dill, garlic, vegetable oil and chopped nuts) as a starter. I've forgotten what else we had apart from the pudding, which I will always remember due to its unusualness. The dish I had was 'Frumenty'! I'd only ever heard about that as a dish people used to have at Christmas in the UK in Medieval times, so I was intrigued to see it here. I'd always assumed it was served hot, but here it was cold; it was a lot like rice pudding but with giant grains of (presumably boiled) wheat or some other kind of corn, instead of rice. It also had a fruit which looked and tasted a lot like tiny, sweet green gooseberries.

b4fcd940-1b1a-11e9-9072-a90d63a0454d.JPG

Strictly speaking, on the menu it was called 'Diet Frumenty'. It was listed on the same dessert page as 'Diet Cake', which I thought was quite funny. Maybe Diet Cake is made with sweetener instead of sugar, or something like that...

We had a look in a couple of craftsman's and tourist souvenir shops after that, but didn't buy anything. We knew we'd be back either the next day or on Boxing Day. It was a lovely sunny day, like yesterday, so it was very pleasant just walking around. As the sun got lower and lower, the light looked more and more golden.

DSC_0013.JPGDSC_0006.JPGDSC_0007.JPGDSC_0014.JPG

We didn't do much in the evening apart from have pizza for dinner (with added mozzarella), play cards and have some clementines before getting an early night.

Posted by 3Traveller 07:35 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged market christmas dave bulgaria veliko_tarnovo bulgarian_cuisine Comments (0)

(Entries 26 - 30 of 41) Previous « Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 9 » Next