Sunday, 20 August 2017

Simply Red

by Albena Shkodrova   
When asked how he can tell what tomatoes are good, Pizho – a 63-year-old chef in a small neighbourhood restaurant, always answers the same thing: by “the tasty red” colour.

While, to the Jews the colour red is connected to death, to the Christians it symbolises martyrdom and to the Japanese – the female beginning, to Pizho Petrov Statkov, it has no abstract semantic meaning – it just tells him whether the vegetable is suitable for eating or not.

What’s more, in Bulgaria – where the tomato is an ingredient in over 70 per cent of traditional dishes, the term “tomato red” exists along with those commonly known around the world, including “signal red,” “poisonous red,” or “fiery red.”

A stroll around any Bulgarian market will be enough to convince you that these two colours – the tasty red and the tomato red, would be difficult to firmly place in the RGB chart. This is, however, inconsequential, since the check can be carried out through another sense – the one that tells you a decent salad from a bad one.

In Bulgaria, the growing and cooking of tomatoes is a national sport. In restaurants, you can find them used in anything – from soup to cake.

One of the recipes for connoisseurs uses tomatoes sliced into cubes, then mixed with eggs, onion, white cheese and parsley, baked in the oven and then let to cool before serving. Another cult autumn dish is the kyopolou, inherited from the cohabitation with the Turks, in which minced tomatoes and aubergines are mixed with grilled green peppers, garlic, olive oil and parsley.

Bulgarians put on airs about many things, but when it comes to the “tasty red” tomatoes, they actually have a good justification. It is no coincidence that many Bulgarian-born expats claim that they come back to their home country every year just to stuff their face with the omnipresent tomato shopska salad.



Curiosity Chest

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

26 February 2014 | He is 26 and he tried to enroll in the national Fine Arts academy. Academics, though, refused to recognize his talents, and this is how he searched for consolation in food carving. Full Story


Bansko Jazz Festival in Bulgaria: The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music

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