I recently went on holiday to Varna, the largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. The history and influences of nearby countries can be detected by a traditional Bulgarian sweet – the ‘Bulgarian Delight’. This sounds and tastes very similar to ‘Turkish Delight’, which I have also seen in Cyprus as ‘Cyprus Delights’. It seems that most countries surrounding Turkey and the Middle-East claim this sweet as their own as it was presumably introduced to many during the rule of the Ottoman Empire.
Bulgarian food really reflects the history of the country: the influence of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and that of neighbouring countries. Yoghurt and Bulgarian soft white cheese – ‘sirene’, are the national foods and are used in salads, and soups or to accompany a meal. You can find variations on Greek Tzatziki, Greek salads, Moussaka, Baklava, Mediterranean style chargrilled vegetables and Turkish/Middle-Eastern meats. Such fusion of national dishes in the area is indicative of movement and change in the region.
My particular favourites (pictured above) were Shopska salad and a Black Sea platter including mussels, octopus and calamari. Sushi was also on offer which shows just how popular this Japanese dish has become!
My Bulgarian inspired sushi draws on the huge range of readily available vegetables, fruits and herbs of the country. I grilled courgettes, peppers and aubergines the same way as I had eaten them in Bulgaria and I topped the rolls with parsley and a little squeeze of lemon juice. The inside holds soft white cheese and grated carrots.
As Vegetables are so prominent in the Bulgarian diet and also so visually appealing, I wanted to make full use of them. I used my sushi mat to roll aubergine and courgette sushi with a soft white cheese filling.
Come and attend one of my sushi classes to learn more about both modern and traditional sushi!