Once you came to Rhodopes, it is impossible not to fall in love with the local cuisine. Natural groceries combined with the craft of the local people takes you to the other dimension when it comes to food.
Recipes are homemade, passed on from generation to generation, and every one is more improved than the previous one. Homegrown vegetable, herbs, and organic meat all in one place.
You can’t leave Rhodopes, without eating Patatnik. Basically, it is a very simple meal, all you need is potatoes, onions, salt, spearmint. You mix squeezed potatoes with onions, add some leaves of spearmint, put it in an oven, and there you have a nice hot meal. Some eat it with eggs on it others with cheese.
Banitsa is the best breakfast for you. A mixture of cheese and eggs in between layers of filo pastry will make you lick your fingers. You have variations with nettles and meat. And the thing that goes with banitsa is yogurt. Rhodope yogurt is one of the best in the world, and it is not because we produce him, but because studies showed that fact. Lactobacillus bulgaricus bacteria, who helps when yogurt is made, exists only in this area.
Many herbal teas from domestic plants, will make your staying here pleasant. Mixed with local honey, you will taste sweet part of this mountain. History of using herbs in food is deeply encrypted in the soul of Rhodope people, from the time of ancient Thracians many vegetables and herbs were ingredients of delicious meals.
For those who like light food, Shopska salad is perfect. A mixture of home grow onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and local herbs and spices, with sirene cheese on top, is perfect for summer. Also, there is bean salad, with red onions, spices, which is served with roasted peppers sometimes. Along this salad, you need to try local brandy called rakia, and these two things go together because they are great aperitive.
Tried soup with beans before? If you have, traditional Rhodope bean soup will make you ask yourselves: “ is this from this planet?” . Local housemaids have made this soup famous far away from Bulgaria.
Most known and champion of Rhodope cuisine is cheverme. Cheverme grill means you put entire lamb and fry it above the slow fire. It takes 3 to 4 hours for the meat to be done, and while it is prepared people gather around talk, sing, drink some vine and it is a memory that is beyond the just plain meal. Later it is served with many salads, some vine, and Rhodopes finest rakia. On many occasions, there is no serving, but just simple tearing of meat and eating it hot with local bread.
The cuisine of Rhodopes is for anyone. For vegetarians, for people who like to have meat to eat, for those who like natural and spicy food. All this you can taste in one place, wherever you go on Rhodopes. It is diverse, interesting and tasty, that you will bring some recipes back home, along with a great memory.