Bulgaria has managed to preserve many of its centuries-old traditions, so when you travel around you will find quite strange cooking utensils, spices or household goods. If you are planning your trip, you should definitely provide a budget for gifts for your loved ones at home. Below we will offer you the most suitable souvenirs that you can buy during your visit to Bulgaria.
This is a traditional mixture of herbs, with salt included, but not only. The color comes from the plenty of herbs, like savory (a herb similar to thyme), fenugreek, red pepper. With its typical smelt and taste, the “colored salt” is part of many Bulgarian traditional dishes. You can find in many stores small jars, filled with the fantastic spice, arranged in figures from the different colors of the herbs. It is a really cute and practical gift.
Gyuveche is a small clay pot with a lid used for cooking in the oven. There are plenty of sizes – you can see small gyuveches in restaurants, if you order “guveche” for your lunch. Yes, that’s right, the dish is named after the pot. Or you can buy for yourself a bigger one to cook for the whole family at home. The dish “gyuveche” has a lot of varieties and basically is made of “whatever you have in the fridge”. Usually it includes meat, vegetables, and cheese and is baked in the oven at low temperature for a long time. I recommend to taste a “gyuveche” during your stay in Bulgaria and you will buy one set for yourself, surely.
In almost every Bulgarian house there is one “chushkopek”, even today. This is a unique kitchen appliance for roasting peppers, eggplants or potatoes. It represents a cylindrical oven with an opening on the top. The vegetables, mostly long red peppers, are put inside and after a few minutes they are wonderfully baked – ready to be used for winter supplies, as “lyutentsa” (our next checkpoint in the list).
Lyutenitsa is a (sometimes spicy) vegetable relish or sauce in the Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian and Serbian cuisines. The ingredients are usually ground tomatoes, roasted peppers, roasted eggplants, carrots, garlic, vegetable oil, sugar and salt. There are plenty of varieties: smooth, chunky, with chili peppers or eggplant, hot or mild. You can find jars with lyutenica in every store in Bulgaria. Local people usually eat it spread on a slice of bread. In restaurants you can order some lyutenitsa for a garnish to meatballs. You must taste it and buy some for home. Won’t regret it.
Bulgaria is one of the major world’s rose oil producers and exporters. If you visit the country in May to June, you should have a trip to the Rose Valley near the town of Kazanlak and take part of the traditional Rose Festival. The Rose is a symbol of Bulgaria, so you can find everywhere rose products – from the essential oil, various cosmetics to rose jam (you should absolutely try it!)
Bulgarian folk costumes are different in the various regions of the country. They all consist of pants, shirts, and vests for men and dresses and aprons for women. The aprons, dresses, and shirts are usually embroidered in regional colors and folk motifs – the so called “shevitsa”. Although you won’t see any Bulgarian walking in the street dressed in “nosiya”, you can enjoy the beauty of the costumes during every dance festival in the county – dancers of national folk dances wear them. You can easily find a shirt embroidered with “shevitsi” but if you would like to buy an authentic traditional Bulgarian “nosiya” you should try hard to find someone that is selling them.
The tradition that includes kuker’s masks is called Kukeri (or “Surva” in regions). It is winter festival usually held from January to March. Don’t be afraid from the masks themselves – they are meant to be scary, in order to chase the evil spirits away and bring the spring on time. You can find some kuker’s masks in the souvenir shops and be sure that this can be a memorable and unique gift for your friends at home.