（Contributed by Karl）
When i arrived in Bulgaria over 5 years ago i thought i had a wide knowledge of food from around the world, from visiting restaurants in the UK and overseas, i was then introduced to village life here and how they grow their own produce including grapes and plums for wine making and rakia, mmm, it’s amazing how you can make such lovely dishes from the same produce from around the world, Shopska salad is my favourite and it defines Bulgaria it is made from chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and peppers sprinkled with Bulgarian white cheese and goes down well with a glass of rakia which is rooted in Bulgarian history and existence as is bourbon in American. It is from the brandy family and is made from fermented grapes, plums, or virtually any fruit with sugars in it. Its alcohol content varies from 40% for the commercially sold liquor to 70-80% of pure firewater for the home-produced rakia. Bulgarian wines are one of the best in the world due to warm Mediterranean climate, combined with hilly terrains and good quality soils contribute for the country to be the second largest exporter of bottled wine in the world, second only to France. so after drinking a few glasses or bottles!! to relieve the hangover they recommend Shkembe Chorba which is a soup, when i first see it it was a no no, as it was made from the thick lining from stomach of cattle called tribe,it is seasoned with garlic, vinegar, and hot red pepper to my surprise it was really nice and it is said to be scientifically proven that Shkembe chorba helps alleviate a hangover when consumed after waking up with one, for me that is not something i would have after just waking up however my hangover was!!.Kavarma is one of the most popular meals in Bulgaria which is not so famous outside the country the ingredients and preparations depend on the region. Almost every part of Bulgaria has its own Kavarma recipe in general, the meal consists of marinated cooked meat and vegetables. It could be mild or spicy depending on the region and the likings. Let’s share a Bulgarian classic dish around the world here is the recipe
Pork kavarma kebap, roast stew
2 lbs pork meat, cut into cubes
1/2 cup oil
2 big leeks
1 tablespoon tomato sauce or puree
1 tablespoon paprika
a pinch of crushed black pepper
1 cup red or white wine
1 onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
a pinch of parsley
1 hot pepper
Combine wine, tomato sauce, paprika and black pepper to make the marinade. Add the cut carrots to the pork and cook in very hot oil until meat starts to brown. Take out and soak in the marinade for about 30 minutes.
Use the same hot oil to cook the cut leaks, add 1/2 cup water to it and cook while soft (about 5 minutes). Add meat and remaining marinade to the leeks, reduce the heat and simmer until most of the water is gone. Add the bay leaves, chopped onion, and the hot pepper and cook for about 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Goes well with French fries or white rice. Oh yes don’t forget to take the bay leaves out before serving they don’t taste so good !!