For a century now, a city has kept the secret of an ancient, velvety-tasting dessert – the Svilengrad “Malebi”. Today, only one family knows the secret recipe and continues its production. In the family confectionery workshop, outsiders are not allowed, and photos are not allowed, because the recipe, technology, and production facilities are part of a deeply kept secret. The participants in the gastro tour “Wine, Sakar and Svilengrad Malebi – an unexpectedly good combination!” will be dedicated to it. The tasting of Svilengrad Malebi is the focus of this journey back in time, among the depths of history, tastes, and wine.
The recipe for the delicate dessert was brought from the Arab world to the City of Silk at the beginning of the last century by Georgi Karageorgiev, who was an apprentice in the sugar workshops in the Middle East. The Malebi started to be produced in the Pchela confectionery of Mustafa Pasha from Svilengrad. The shop became a hit and lasted until September 9, 1944. His sons mastered the craft, and then kept the recipe secret for their heirs.
Even during the wars, the production of Svilengrad Malebi did not stop even for a day. In 1965, the Malebi began to be made in the then local Cooperative Union. Subsequently, the city bakery inherited the unchanged technology. Since December 23, 1990, Svilengrad Malebi has been produced only in the workshop of Parapina – a family enterprise, which today makes a hundred types of cakes, 30 types of pastries, small cakes, eclairs, kisses and the famous Malebi.
The specificity of the Svilengrad Malebi is that it is produced from milk and rice flour. In the past, it was ground with special stone chromels by hand. Now the proccess is mechanized and is made with machines specially made in “Parapina”. Without rice flour and without the specific roses aroma, however, the dessert cannot be called Svilengrad Malebi. It is light and easy to digest, so when mothers stop breastfeeding their children, they start feeding them not only light porridges and purees but also Malebi.
The grain base of rice is extremely low in fat, protein, and cellulose and does not contain gluten, unlike other cereals. Only one specific variety of coarse-grained rice, sown and harvested in Bulgaria, is used for the Svilengrad Malebi, and the fresh milk is delivered from a tested cow farm.
Every day the making of the Malebi begins at 5.30 in the morning. The mixture of rice flour and milk is stirred and boiled over low heat. When it thickens, the mixture is filled by hand into small buckets, where it cools and finally poured with hand-made sugar syrup with a rose aroma. It is best consumed chilled to 4-5 degrees when the roses bouquet has the strongest aroma and taste.
In summer it is served with vanilla ice cream, which does not suppress the specific aroma of a rose. No preservatives are used in the Svilengrad Malebi, so its shelf life is only five days. For this reason, the Malebi is not distributed and sold anywhere else in the country.