Monthly Archives: November 2016

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Villa Yustina’s vineyards

The history of Bulgarian wine

Bulgaria is one of the oldest wine producing areas in the world with evidence of wine production dating back to 4 000 BC. The Bulgarian lands were then inhabited by the Thracians – numerous tribes who worshipped wine as a divine drink. Thracian wine was even mentionedin Homer’s The Illiadas the finest wine there was.

Thracian golden vessels for wine
Thracian golden vessels for wine

It is believed that the world’s first documented wine appellation was designated in nowadays Bulgaria when in II century AD emperor Antonius Pius proclaimed the vineyards in Lower Mizia (now northern Bulgaria) as protected.

The winemaking tradition in Bulgaria continued through the years. Wine production was preserved unofficially even during the 500-year long period of Ottoman occupation that ended in late 19th century. After gaining independence from the Ottoman Empire the wine industry in Bulgaria flourished, reaching its peak in the 1970s when Bulgaria was one of the world’s largest exporters of wine. Production declined after the fall of communism in the 1990s. Following Bulgaria’s accession to the EU in 2007, a number of small and medium-sized boutique wineries have been popping up on the Bulgarian wine map. The quality of their work is acknowledged by the fact that Bulgarian wines are the most awarded wines in Central and Eastern Europe. The same boutique wineries are also the drivers of wine tourism development in Bulgaria.

Bulgarian Wine Regions

There are over 300 wine producers spread out over Bulgaria’s five wine regions. The Thracian Valley region has the highest concentration of wineries.

Wine regions in Bulgaria
Wine regions in Bulgaria

Local Grape Varieties

There are 44 local grape varieties in Bulgaria – 22 red and 22 white varieties. Not all of them are actively used in wine production but interesting grape varieties utilized for winemaking are:

http://bodyfc.ru/delo/gryazi-moskva-raspisanie-elektrichek.html грязи москва расписание электричек Mavrud аэропорт внуково расписание международных рейсов : an ancient red grape variety, mainly grown in the Plovdiv area. The wines are dark, strong and develop nicely in contact with oak.

http://debonairsquare.com/tech/harakteristika-na-studenta-plohaya.html характеристика на студента плохая Rubin http://laelli.ru/tech/kilometrov-opredelim-skolko-kilometrov.html километров определим сколько километров : a hybrid between the grape varieties nebbiolo and syrah. Rubin wines have a deep ruby colour and typical aroma of berries and are sometimes blended with Mavrud for a 100% Bulgarian blend.

график ремонта судов Shiroka Melnishka Loza (+ Melnik 55):ared grape variety endemic to the Melnik area. There aredifferent hybrid varieties created from this grape variety, such as Melnik 55. An interesting fact is that Winston Churchill usually purchased 500 liters of Melnik wine each year

картинка сколько делать Dimyat http://ccbfcongo.org/leon/den-buhgaltera-21-noyabrya-pozdravleniya-mame.html день бухгалтера 21 ноября поздравления маме : awhite grape variety cultivated mainly along the Black Sea coast, used for the production of dry white wines and cognac distillate.

приведите примерную схему получения капрона из капролактама Tamianka скачать клип руки вверх королева : an old white grape, which is rather difficult to work with and thus, rare to find.Tamianka wines are fresh with aromas of spring flowers and citrus fruits.

почему я не могу отрастить длинные волосы Cherven Misket [Red Misket]:used for high quality white wines. There are different geographical variations of the grape in Bulgaria. The various Misket wines are sweet and floral.

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Wine, food, vineyards, mountains, cultural heritage sites, monasteries and churches characterize each and every wine region of Bulgaria. Whichever wine route you choose to explore, you’ll end up with a memorable experience of the best that Bulgariahas to offer.

Here is a little taste of a two-day itinerary focusing on wine tastings and sightseeing:

DAY 1- SOFIA

Sofia – the eclectic capital of Bulgaria does not have any wineries in close proximity but its buzzing atmosphere is a great place to start or finish a trip in Bulgaria. Stay for a day or two to explore Sofia and the area. For a centrally located accommodation, try Crystal Palace Boutique Hotel. For a sneak peek into the Bulgarian world of wine, spend your evening at Grape Central – a modern wine bar with many local wines on the menu. For a day trip outside of Sofia, we recommend visiting the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, located 120 km from Sofia in the Rila Mountains. On the way back to Sofia, stop by the Medi Valley winery for a tasting. A bus runs between Sofia and Rila Monastery every day but we recommend booking a private driver or renting a car.

Medi Valley winery
Medi Valley winery

Day 2- PLOVDIV

The second largest city in Bulgaria, Plovdiv, is the best starting point for a wine tour. Plovdiv is located in the heart of the Thracian Valley wine region and is surrounded by wineries. Take a bus from Sofia to Plovdiv (busses run every hour until 20:00) or rent a car for the 1.5-2 hour trip to Plovdiv. If you are looking for a spacious and rather luxurious room with a nice view, stay at Landmark Creek Hotel. Other options are the small hotels and guesthouses of Plovdiv’s charming Old Town. Try Seven Hills Hotel or Old Plovdiv Guesthouse.Plovdiv is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe and it has plenty of cultural sites to offer. A great way to visit the most famous sites is to take the Free Walking Tour of Plovdiv.

There are more than 20 boutique wineries in just an 80-kilometer radius from Plovdiv, so choosing which ones to visit is a tough task. You will have a different experience at each winery, so you can hardly make a mistake in your choice.

Plovdiv Wine Map
Plovdiv Wine Map

However, be sure to visit Starata Izba Wine Cellar, a wine cellar just 12 kilometers south of Plovdiv, first established in 1882. You will learn about the rich history of the place and try wines straight from the tanks and barrels. Some of the wines are quite experimental and you will not be able to find them at other wineries.

A must-visit winery around Plovdiv is Villa Yustina. The winery is 26 kilometers south of Plovdiv and you will inevitably fall in love with their vineyard-park, hospitality and, of course, their wines. Make sure to try their “Bulgarian blend” of the local grape varieties Mavrud and Rubin, aged in Bulgarian oak barrels. If you are staying in Plovdiv for longer, you can also visit the nearby Bessa Valley – specializing in red wines, Neragora – working entirely with organic grapes, Todoroff Wine & SPA – a hotel, restaurant, winery & SPA all-in-one and StaroselWine & SPA Hotel Complex–sip on wines in the beautiful underground tasting room and enjoy a superb meal in the onsite restaurant.

Planning Your Trip  

Where to taste

Wineries

Tasting wine in the place it was made is a memorable experience. There are many wineries to choose from in Bulgaria. For a wine tour, pick one or two wine regions that you would like to explore. You can easily manage two wineries in one day. Maybe even three.  Call the winery in advance to confirm their availability to meet you.  Most wineries can conduct a tasting and tour in English led by an oenologist, wine tour guide or owner. Tastings are typically accompanied by bread, local appetizers and water. Tasting pours are usually quite generous. Don’t be surprised if you are not offered a spittoon as it is not typical to spit out your wine in Bulgaria.

Wine Bars

There is something to be said about the allure of an elegant wine bar or enoteca. Wine bars, enotecas and urban tasting rooms are great places to try a varied selection of wines, swap recommendations with a sommelier or unwind with a group of close friends over a few bottles of wine. They are ideal places to sample wines from different regions, to learn from educational tastings, to attend themed events, to indulge in wine and food paired dinners and to meet likeminded people. We have several favorite places to drink wine:

  • Vino Culture

A well-known wine bar and shop in Plovdiv with a focus on Bulgarian wine. Its central location, relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff makes Vino Culture the ideal place to enjoy a glass or two of wine.

5 OtetsPaisy Str., Plovdiv

+359 89 200 1926 

  • Grape Central

A modern wine bar and restaurant with many interesting Bulgarian wines, delicious food and a great atmosphere. Wine tastings and Meet-the-Winemaker Dinners are regularly held at Grape Central. A great place to visit and sample the best wines that the Balkans has offer. Great wine selection.

45 Samuil Str., Sofia

+359 88 982 0444

Booking a winery visit

Call the winery in advance to confirm their availability to meet you. Most wineries can conduct a tasting and tour in English, led by an oenologist, wine tour guide or owner. Tastings are typically accompanied by bread, local appetizers and water. Poursat tastings are usually quite generous.

Where and what to eat

Bulgarian cuisine is diverse, hearty, fresh and traditional. The cuisine is influenced by Turkish and Greek cuisine but also has many Slavic and Balkan elements and, of course, traditional Bulgarian recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. It is highly recommended to find a local ‘mehana’ and sample some of the most popular traditional dishes such as shopska salad, hotchpoth, kavarma, kapama, kyufte and kebapche. Apart from the local restaurants, there are several wine restaurants with adventurous wine lists, great ambience and delicious food. Here are our favorite places to eat:

  • Megdana

A traditional Bulgarian restaurant with an authentic atmosphere, local food and live music. There is a folklore programme on every night that includes a dance ensemble and traditional singing. Get ready to join the dancing after a few glasses of rakia (Bulgarian brandy)!

11 Odrin Str., Plovdiv

+359 88 596 8270

  • Pod Lipite

One of the oldest restaurants in Sofia offering traditional Bulgarian dishes prepared with local products. The food is delicious. Coupled with a rustic and authentic atmosphere, you will feel transported to a different time at Pod Lipite, which translates to ‘Under the Linden Tree’.

1 Elin Pelin Str., Sofia

+359 2 866 5053

When to visit

The off-season months of early spring or late fall are the best times to visit. The weather is warm but not too hot and the traffic of visitors has slowed down. 

Getting there

Sofia Airport is conveniently located not too far from thriving wine regions. There are regular international flights with direct routes to over 50 destinations. 

Where to stay

Bulgaria has a varied selection of places to stay in and around wine country – from affordable, charming guesthouses in the rural areas to luxurious, spacious hotels in the large towns. It is highly recommended to try a SPA hotel or a hotel located at a winery. Our favorites are:

  • Crystal Palace Sofia****

A boutique style hotel located close to the main pedestrian street of Sofia.

Shipka Street 14, 1504 Sofia 

  • Midalidare Hotel & SPA

A modern hotel located between the two wine cellars of Midalidare Estate with an extensive SPA centre.

6239 Mogilovo Village, Chirpan Municipality

  • Landmark Creek Hotel Plovdiv****

A new 4 star hotel in Plovdiv located by the rowing channel park and surrounded by greenery.

1 St. Valentin Street, Rowing Canal West, 4000 Plovdiv 

Good to know

The currency in Bulgaria is the Bulgarian lev (BGN). Most foreigners can enter Bulgaria visa-free for up to 90 days. The official language is Bulgarian (a Slavonic language) and the official alphabet is Cyrillic. Languages such as English and Russian are widely spoken. Bulgarians nod for “no” and shake their heads for “yes”. Beware! This can lead to some comical confusion!

How to get around

Traveling by bus is more comfortable and faster than traveling by train. Taxis in Bulgaria are affordable and reliable. For excursions into rural areas and for wine tours, it is recommended to rent a car or hire a private driver/guide.

For oenophiles who love to travel, Bulgaria really is a must-see and completely off-the-beaten-track destination.

For more information on wine and food travel in Bulgaria, get in touch with Zina Sorensen – your local expert from Bulgaria Wine Tours – who is always happy to answer any questions.

By Zina Sorensen

Bulgaria – a timeless country located at the crossroad between Europe and Asia, nestled between Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia. A magical place where century-old traditions are a core element of life, ancient history and cultural heritage are the pride of the nation, the mountainous landscapes are beautiful and rugged, and where food and wine are wholesome, flavourful and distinctive. Veer off-the-beaten-path into the undiscovered wine country of Bulgaria.

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hue food vietnam

Hue Food Tour attracts the gourmets worldwide for the royal cuisine incorporated in the famous dishes of Hue noodle beef, mussel rice, and steamed rice cake. So, for the unique culinary joy of old royal Vietnam, people might first think of Hue Food Tour.

About Hue and Hue Cuisine

Hue is a romantic and peaceful city in the Central Vietnam. In the past, Hue was the seat of the Nguyen Dynasty Emperors.  On the UNESCO status since 1993, Hue and its Imperial City attract the tourists all over the world. While some people come to witness the UNESCO World Heritage site on the gorgeous Perfume River, the others might arrive because of the Vietnamese royal dishes. Together with the Imperial City, Hue has the renowned attractions of Minh Mang Tomb, Thien Mu Pagoda, Lang Co Beach, etc. Any travel to Hue leaves the tourists with the pleasant feeling for the ancient landscape, tranquil atmosphere, and appetizing cuisine. Some people might say Hue is boring, but it is not true at all. Rather, Hue is exciting with great food and admirable attractions.

Hue Cuisine represents the old royal cuisine of the Vietnamese as most of the delicacies were once used to serve the Nguyen Emperors and the royal families. It was taken for granted that the Nguyen Emperors wanted the best chefs to serve them; therefore, Hue could be the cradle for the best and most traditional food in the old Vietnam. Without a doubt, the royal traits in Hue food make it truly special and precious. Together with the royal artistic dishes, Hue cuisine also becomes recognizable for the folksy and simple food. Whatever your taste, Hue has something to fulfill it. There are attempts to preserve the royal cuisine of Hue; people travel to Hue Imperial City can ask for the royal-style meals served with the folk music performance if possible.

5 Best Food in Hue

#1: Com Hen (the mussel rice)

Com Hen (the mussel rice) in HueThis is the unique culinary option in Hue. The mussel is boiled to serve with rice, star fruit, cabbage, pepper, onion, chili, etc., and put in a nutrient bowl. When enjoying “Com Hen,” people might cherish the plain taste of the boiled mussels. Once every component of the dish is combined in a bowl, the boiled mussel broth is added for the yummy completion. Note that the key of the dish is the boiled mussel broth which is very nutrient and fresh. For somebody, they can make the broth spicy if wanted.

#2: Bun Bo Hue (Hue beef noodle)

Bun Bo Hue (Hue beef noodle)Like Hanoi is the home to “Pho,” Hue City is the cradle of the “Hue beef noodle” brand which can be found throughout Vietnam today. This beef soup served with noodle or vermicelli includes the fine combination of the high-quality ingredients, from the beef to the bone. Arguably, the key of the fish is the broth cooked by simmering beef bones for a long period. For a better taste, some people might add lemon grass, shrimp paste or chili to their bowl of Hue beef noodle. Otherwise, there uses a wide range of herbs such as the sliced banana blossom, sprout, onion, lettuces, and so forth.

#3: Banh Beo (a kind of steamed rice cake)

Banh Beo (a kind of steamed rice cake)“Banh Beo” of Hue has gone beyond the provincial border to be popularized across Vietnam. This kind of steamed rice cake often includes the chopped dried or fresh shrimp, the crispy fried shallots, rice vinegar, etc. In the little size, the cake looks so pretty that urge people to try it. You can choose to dip the cake into the fish sauce each by each or pour the sauce into the plate of little cakes. In fact, the whole dish is eye-catching and appealing.

#4: Banh Khoai (stuffed crepe served with peanut sauce)

Banh Khoai (stuffed crepe served with peanut sauce)This cake is made from the rice flour, water, turmeric powder, fatty pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts. The mixture is then fried to create the fragrant and appetizing cake. To describe the appeal of the fish, the local people name it “Banh Khoai” in which “Banh” means “Cake” and “Khoai” mean “delicious or joyful.” You can have the cake wrapped in rice paper, lettuce leaves, or mustard leaves, and then dip it into the favorite fish sauce. In Hue, “Banh Khoai” is displayed open-face (instead of half folded). The Hue citizens love to eat this dish in the winter because of its greasy and spicy taste.

#5: Mam Tom Chua (sour shrimp sauce)

Mam Tom Chua (sour shrimp sauce)Hue is the ideal place to have the Sour Shrimp Sauce of the Central Vietnam that has the orange color while the shrimps are kept in the original shape. For a glimpse of the Hue sour shrimp sauce: first, the shrimps are made clean by salt water and cook in the rice wine. Once the shrimps turn red, they are meticulously mixed with the sticky rice, garlic, chili, and ginger. The mixture is then put into a jar carpeted by the guava leaves. After 5-7 days, the sour shrimp paste is ready to serve. It is best to enjoy this sauce with the boiled pork, tofu, and vermicelli.

Cooking Classes in Hue

In Vietnam food tour to Hue, you get the good chances to enjoy cooking programs that enable you to explore the prestige cuisine. The Hue cooking courses can take place at restaurants and hotels. If you are working with the favorite travel agencies, then you might rely upon them to pick up the best cooking programs. Often, they are the half-day classes, including the activities of buying ingredients in the markets (Dong Ba Market in particular), getting to know Hue spices, and practicing how to cook the Hue specialties. As usual, the participants can bring the cooking recipe home to practice further.In most situations, the frequently taught dishes are spring roll, grilled beef, banana flower salad, and pancake. Once the sessions are done, you enjoy the self-cooked dishes, plus the restaurant-prepared delicacies. It is also possible to book the veggie food in advance.Regarding the ideal restaurants and hotels for Hue cooking classes, the three suggested venues are Issy Roo Hue Restaurant in Pham Ngu Lao Street, Villa Hue in Tran Quang Khai Street, and Y Thao Garden in Thach Han Street.

Conclusion

So why Hue Food Tour?The Hue Culinary Tour is the wonderful option for the food lovers. Youenjoy sightseeing the antique and meaningful tourist sites that only Hue has, to savor the most appetizing food in Hue (the 5 suggested dishes above and more), and to join the favorite Hue cooking classes for the hands-on experience as well as the new knowledge and fun memory. As you might know, the old Nguyen Emperors wanted the best chefs to cook the best food for them. That is why Hue today is the cradle of the most traditional Vietnamese dishes. Whether you are keen on the Hue royal cuisine of the Nguyen Dynasty, the modern variations of Hue steamed rice cakes, the renowned Hue beef noodle or the sour shrimp sauce, then Hue is a worthy place to gather. During a food journey in Hue, it is easy to find out both restaurants and roadside food stalls have the delicious dishes to serve the foreign visitors.

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