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Bulgaria is a new wine tourist destination but is one of the oldest countries with experience of wine producing. Of all of the Eastern European wine producing countries, there can be little doubt that Bulgaria has been the most successful. This is due to the fine quality of the vinification and viticulture which has produced wines from this region since the times of the Thracians. This tour will take you to the most famous wine regions of Bulgaria where you will have the opportunity to taste some unique wine sorts and to discover the magic of the Bulgarian cuisine.

Bulgarian wine

Bulgarian wine has undeniable taste qualities. It is worldwide famous and it has won many international awards. Merit for the great taste of the Bulgarian wines is the specific climatic and geographic characteristics and the ancient tradition in the area of viticulture and winemaking. Ever since the ancient Thracians, who inhabited these lands, the wine has been respected. They used it not only as a drink on the table but also for many of their religious rituals. They believed that with wine they could reach their gods. The ancient Greek god Dionysus and his Thracian analog Zagreus were worshiped by the Thracians as gods of wine and merriment. Evidence for the ancient Thracian traditions in wine production and consumption are the magnificent Thracian treasures, which are mostly wine sets. Even Homer often mentioned the superior qualities of the Thracian wines in his works. After the establishment of the Bulgarian state in the 7th century, the traditions in winemaking were inherited and continued. Many medieval travelers, who traveled across our lands, mention the properties of the various wines they have tasted on their way. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the viticulture and wine making were already approached professionally and the foundations of the modern Bulgarian wine production were laid.

Nowadays high-quality wines from Bulgarian producers can be found all over the world. The taste for good wine and the interest in the local varieties triggered the entry of wine tourism, wine tours and tastings in Bulgaria. Many of the wineries in the country organize events where experts and guests get acquainted with their best products.

Unique local varieties of grapes

Gamza is a local red wine variety, which is widespread in northwest Bulgaria. This variety ripens late, and produces red dessert and table wines with bright raspberry transparent color and fruity aroma of raspberry domination. The taste is fresh, with light structure. Gamza wines are usually consumed first growth. The local grape varieties, which are used for the production of the best wines - Gamza, Broad-leaved Melnik Vine, Dimyat, Mavrud, Red Muscat, Rubin and Pamid – are of great interest for the visitors of the museum. Best quality Gamza wine can be tasted in northern Bulgaria, in cellars of the towns of Vidin and Pleven.

The broad-leaved Melnik vine is a local red variety which only grows in the regions of Melnik, Petrich and Sandanski. The color of this wine is medium deep. Wines of this variety are excellent, with ripe cherry and herbs aroma, and in the presence of oak it develops tobacco and leather nuances. The taste of new wine is crisp, with pronounced tannins. With the maturing, the taste softens, but it remains spicy at the end. Wine, made of Broad-leaved Melnik vine with unique taste can be tasted in the wineries in the regions of Sandanski and Melnik.

Dimyat is a typical Bulgarian white variety, which is used to make aromatic dry white wines and brandies. It develops a fruity aroma with accents of ripe peach. The taste is mild, with pleasant freshness. It grows best in the region of Varna, but is also grown in other parts of the country. You can taste Dimyat in the wineries in the area from Evksinograd to Varna, Shumen and Stara Zagora.

Mavrud is a very old local variety, grown near Asenovgrad, Pazardzhik, Plovdiv and the Rhodope Mountains foothills. The wine, made from it, has a saturated crimson ruby color with excellent taste and pronounced density. The flavor is juicy with a dominance of ripe berries and spices.

Several wineries in the region of Asenovgrad, Plovdiv, Pazardzhik and Plovdiv offer tastings of Mavrud wine with superb quality.

Bulgarian cuisine is diverse and delicious, consisting of various local dishes, salads, breadstuffs, stews and other. She is one of the tastiest cuisines in Europe. Bulgarian home cooking is very seasonal and although nowadays you can enjoy most dishes all year round they are still at their best when the ingredients are fresh and in season and naturally grown. Many of the dishes are prepared according to traditional recipes. Products for which Bulgaria is internationally known are yogurt and white brine (feta) cheese. These are almost always present on Bulgarian tables in one form or another.

Let’s start exploring Bulgarian cuisine…

Which are locally produced foods:


Dairy products: plain yogourt, fresh milk and cheese, cows’ milk, goat and buffalo milk; Bulgarian white brined cheese (sirene) and yellow semi-matured cheese (kashkaval).

Meat: lamb, pork, beef, ostrich, chicken, fish

Vegetables: cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, aubergines, garlic, courgettes, pumpkins, spinach, cauliflower, lima beans, lettuce, radishes, mushrooms…

Fruits: cherries, apples, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, pears, plums, watermelons, apricots

Herbs: thyme, rosemary, tarragon, sage, bay leaf, coriander

Nuts: walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, chestnuts

Bulgarians alwayshopska salatas start the meal with a salad, usually accompanied by a glass of rakia ( a oflocal spirit made from grapes or plums and has an ABV – alcohol by volume of 40%) or maybe in the summer months a mastika (an aniseed-based spirit similar to the Greek ouzo). Bulgarian cuisine offers slowly prepared dishes with generous use of flavor-packed vegetables and herbs. For historical reasons, the traditional Bulgarian cuisine is heavily influenced by Turkish, Greek and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Bulgarian salads: Shopska salad, Snezhanka or mlechna salata, Kyopoulu, Turshia

Bulgarian starters: Chushki byurek, Sirene po shopski, Podlucheni tikvichki

Bulgarian main dishes: Gyuvech, Kavarma, Moussaka, Nervosni kyufteta, KebapchetaShish, Guyvetche, Pasturva (trout)

Bulgarian snacks: Banitsa, Mekitsi, Gevrek, Tutmanik, Kiselo mlyako