Saturday, 25 March 2017



Bulgaria’s Exclusive Ownership of Shopska Salad Challenged



BalkanTravellers.com   
11 August 2009 | The ownership of shopska salad – considered by Bulgarians as one of the few dishes that is truly their own, was challenged by a Serbian publication claiming that the salad is in fact a pan-Slavic one.

“Shopka or Serbian, the difference is only in that the tomatoes, cucumbers and the onion are hidden underneath the grated feta,” according to the recent publication in the Serbian newspaper Politika.

The article quotes almost word-for-word the definition of the dish by the Serbian wikipedia, which claims that the salad is a traditional dish from the cuisine of the Balkans, mostly from the Serbian, Bulgarian, Macedonian and Czech one.

The salad’s name comes from the word ‘Shopi’, or ‘Shops’, which was the name that Prizren’s residents gave to cattle-breeders who lived on the Shar Mounatian during the Middle Ages, the article says. In Bulgaria, the name ‘Shopi’ is reserved for an ethnоgraphic group who lives in the vicinity of the capital, Sofia, and is famous not only for the salad but also for its polyphonic folk songs.

According to the publications in Politika and the Serbian wikipedia, the region around the Shar Mountain is called the Cheese Valley, as it is known for its local cow and sheep cheese.

The argument that shopska salad is in fact common to many countries in the Balkans deals a hard blow to Bulgarians’ conviction that the mix of diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and peppers, topped by grated white brine cheese is theirs and theirs alone. Like the cheese and phyllo pastry, the pepper and tomato relish and the meatballs, shopska salad could be the latest spark in the on-going Balkan Culinary Wars.

The mix, which surprises with its fresh taste despite – or maybe because of, the few ingredients it contains and the simplicity of its preparation, is often cited as the most typical of Bulgarian dishes, perhaps rivalled only by tarator.

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Dimitur, who visualisеd the Bulgarian expression “Pumpkin Head!”

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Although Bankso is still best known as Bulgaria’s biggest and most modern winter resort and a skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts’ favourite, the town – nestled in the Pirin Mountain, has also established a reputation among music lovers as the host town of one of the country’s biggest jazz festivals. Full Story