You often ask us about places where you can eat something real, homemade and prepared as our grandmothers once approached food - with love, respect for the products and without many claims for originality and fusion elements. We already have an article dedicated to the recipes for which our country is most famous in the world, but today we will reveal a little more of the richness of a cuisine that we all adore and associate with the taste of our homeland.
In the past, the Rhodopes were not connected to the whole country by convenient roads, and the supply of products became much more difficult. This has forced the women in the mountains to prepare their food with what was produced in their gardens or in the fields. Beans and potatoes are one of the most typical crops for the region, and it is also an interesting fact that spelt which the Thracians used daily was grown here. The people of Rhodope are also known as good cattle breeders, and the indisputable qualities of their yogurt still make us famous around the world.
And here are 5 of the most famous dishes in the mountain, which you must try on your next visit there:
One of the emblems of the area is the famous Smilyan bean. It is one of the few traditional Bulgarian products that enjoy the status of a protected name. Local residents call it by the name fasulovitsa. The cultivation method has traditionally been preserved for generations. Plantations are cultivated manually and fertilized with natural manure. A number of unsurpassed delicacies such as bean salad, bean snack, bean dip, bean soup and many others are prepared from Smilyan beans in the Rhodopes.
Photo: Rodopchanka Restaurant
There's no way you haven't heard of the famous Rhodope patatnik. It is often said about this dish that there are as many ways of preparing it as there are houses in the Rhodopes. Some people prepare it in a sach (a clay pot) or in a pan in old wood stoves, while others cook it in a pan or in the oven. The recipe includes grated potatoes, onions, cheese, eggs and spices.
We continue our culinary delight with the Rhodope banitsa or the so-called klin, which is no less famous than the patatnik. It can have a variety of ingredients – rice, milk, cheese, butter, nettles, spinach, pumpkin, but it is most often offered in the version with rice. It is made with filo, rice, eggs, cheese, butter and salt. It is prepared similarly to a regular banitsa, with the difference that rice is added to the filling. It is best combined with ayryan or yogurt and is perfect for snacking at any time.
Photo: Bulgarche Restaurant
Another Rhodope dish that the area is famous for is kachamak. In Bulgaria, in the 18th century, the cultivation of corn as an agricultural crop and easier and longer storage became necessary. It is made from cornmeal boiled in salted water. The variations in serving it are many, but the most popular are garnished with cheese, fried butter with red pepper, or with cracklings. Everyone who’s tried it once, can’t forget this hearty taste, bequeathed by our ancestors.
Photo: Bulgarche Restaurant
The pinnacle of culinary magic, however, is the chevreme. The great masters of the spit-roasted lamb say that the real Rhodope lamb is best made from a one-year-old animal. The ritual of its preparation lasts at least 5 hours, and the tradition is zealously observed during village gatherings. The meat is ready if, when it is jerked from the skewer, it just falls directly into the pan, and one of the tastiest things before eating the lamb is slices of bread placed under it while it is spinning and richly soaked in the aromatic juices of the meat.
Even if you only take a short trip in the mountains, don't miss a stop at a local restaurant, because you surely won’t find something as authentic as this in the city!