Gastro tour “Green cheese, krokmach and Teteven fish – come, taste!”

Daily Tour 2 days, 1 night Availability: 2021-07-31
5725 Cherni Vit, Bulgaria The Balkan Tour Guide: Екатерина Терзиева

In the past, thousands of flocks of sheep were raised in the Teteven Balkans. The inhabitants of the Teteven village of Cherni Vit have made cheese from their milk, which they have stored in wooden vessels. When the tub opened in the spring, mold formed when it interacted with the cool moist air. In the 1970s, wooden vessels have been replaced by plastic cans, and natural mold cheese almost disappeared. In 2007, experts from the international organization Slow Food organize an expedition to searching for the former green cheese. They came across a piece the size of a matchbox, forgotten in an old wooden vessel. They present green cheese from Cherni Vit at the World Cheese Fair in the Italian city of Bra.

Thus, the Bulgarian green cheese is rediscovered and highly valued, thanks to its quality and uniqueness. It is the focus of our gastro tour, as the green molded cheese is not an industrial product and cannot be found in stores. We will meet with its producers and will taste different types of it in a combination with proper wines.

The recipe for the mythical dish from the Bulgarian North – krokmach, is preserved in the Lukovit region. It is made from pure sheep’s milk only in the period August-September when the milk is thickest. We will meet with the producers of the krokmach. Lukovit is the only place in the world where early in the morning the probiotic Bulgarian sourdough for the traditional yogurt was extracted from the dew of the grasses. Dairies in the past were built in the mountains, not only because the cattle were there, but because the leaven was the purest and most useful there.

We will try Balkan trout and the famous for this region fish soup called Teteven brine. The dessert, of course, will be apple halva. The production of halva in Yablanitsa began at the beginning of the IX century and for a long time served as food for the local population. The sesame halva, which is produced in Yablanitsa, has its own trademark “sesame halva type Yablanska” and is white in color.

In addition to sesame halva, tahini halva is also produced, which, unlike sesame, is brown and is made from sunflower seeds. It has a characteristic fibrous-layered structure. To these two types, we add nougat halva and fruit halva.

We will walk around the old Revival town Teteven and to the Stone Houses near Karlukovo. We will also visit the Prohodna Cave, known as the Eyes of God, where many films have been shot. It is the longest cave tunnel in Bulgaria. We visit the village of crafts Oreshak, also known for its Troyan plum brandy, we stop at the beautiful Troyan Monastery – the third largest in Bulgaria.

Place of departure / arrival: Plovdiv. Possible transfers from Sofia and other cities by prior arrangement.

Departure hours: 09.00 from Sofia, 07.00 from Plovdiv

For travelers from Plovdiv – departure for Sofia via the highway “Trakia”.

The price of the tour includes:

  • One breakfast

  • Two lunches

  • Wine tasting

  • Dinner

  • Overnight

  • Full tour guide service

  • Transport

The price of the tour does not include

  • Entrance fees for the museums and sites visited 
  • Personal expenses 

Opportunity to purchase

Opportunity to buy natural farm products (milk, cheese and yellow cheese), apple halva, fish and plum brandy at producer prices.


What to expect?

Gastro tour “Green cheese, krokmach and apple halva – come and taste” is an exciting culinary meeting with the only green mold cheese in the Balkans, with the mythical dairy specialty krokmach, with the centuries-old recipe for apple halva, with the spicy Teteven fish soup and aromatic Troyan plum rakia.

Journey to the past of Bulgaria through the history of crafts in the National Exhibition of Arts and Crafts – Oreshak, through the Troyan Monastery “Assumption” – the largest in Northern Bulgaria and the third largest in Bulgaria, through the heroic revolutionary history of Teteven, to the times , when the leaven for the Bulgarian yoghurt was collected early in the morning from the dew on the meadows near Lukovit, until almost 70 million years ago, when the Prohodna cave, known as the Eyes of God, appeared. It is the longest cave tunnel in the country, naturally lit by huge entrances and natural openings in the ceiling – “windows”. The natural phenomenon is a place for the training of climbers. A number of films have been shot here.

We will meet the people and stories behind:

  • the production of the famous green cheese from the village of Cherni Vit;
  • the producers of the mythical krokmach;
  • halva producers;
  • base for fishing tourism and trout breeding;
  • the fragrant Trojan plum rakia;

Itinerary

Day 1: Krokmach near the Stone Houses, cliff church, and the cave The God’s eyes

In the morning we visit Lukovit where we meet producers of the northern milk dish krokmach. It is made from sheep’s milk, which is boiled for 3 hours in a water bath and constantly stirred. When completely cooled, pour into containers to mature for at least 6-7 days. It is traditionally eaten with roasted red peppers, dried red tomatoes, or garlic.

In the afternoon we visit the Stone Houses near Karlukovo, we climb to one of the most beautiful cliff churches in the area, then we go to the cave “Prohodna”, known as the eyes of God. It is the longest cave tunnel in the country – it is a natural rock bridge with a length of 262 m. The passage is naturally lit by huge entrances and natural openings in the ceiling – “windows”. It is the “windows” that make the cave unique. Located next to each other, with the same almond shape, the windows look amazingly like huge eyes that seem to stare at visitors.

Before dinner we sweeten with halva in Yablanitsa – its production here began in the early IX century and has long served as food for the local population. The first halvadji in Yablanitsa was Nikola Arnautina from the town of Tetevo, who after the Liberation moved to live in the Yablanitsa region. Sesame seeds, which are rich in fats, carbohydrates and proteins, were used as the main product in the preparation of halva. Sesame halva, which is produced in Yablanitsa, has its own trademark “sesame halva type Yablanska” and is white in color. In addition to sesame halva, tahini halva is also produced, which, unlike sesame, is brown and is made from sunflower seeds. We have dinner at a base for fishing tourism with trout and the famous Teteven brine soup.

Day 2: The mysteries of the green cheese. Teteven, Oreshaka and the Troyan Monastery

After breakfast, we go for a walk in Teteven. Admired by the sight before his eyes, one of the most famous Bulgarian writers Ivan Vazov exclaims: “If I had not come to Teteven and I would have been a foreigner to mother Bulgaria… I have wandered a lot, but I have not seen a more wonderful paradise.” Following is a tasting of the only Bulgarian mold cheese, known as the Green Cheese from the village of Cherni Vit. Meeting with its producer – Tsvetan Dimitrov and tasting of different ripe green cheeses with selected wines.

We are going to Oreshak near Troyan, where the famous plum rakia is offered in many places. Legend has it that the first distillation of plum brandy took place more than a hundred years ago behind the walls of the beautiful Troyan Monastery. A festival of plums and Trojan plum brandy is held every year in September. Tasting of specialties such as plums stuffed with bacon, traditionally prepared bacon, beef with prunes. We are visiting the National Exhibition of Arts and Crafts – Oreshak. It is the only one in the country, whose exhibition halls show unique objects of folk arts and crafts, made by prominent masters from all ethnographic regions of Bulgaria. Before leaving, we visit the Troyan Monastery “Assumption” – the largest in Northern Bulgaria and the third-largest in Bulgaria.

The region of the Teteven Balkans covers the central part of the majestic Stara Planina and offers excellent conditions for gastronomic, mountain, cultural, and eco-tourism. Along with its natural beauty, the Balkans has participated in key events that marked our glorious history. Numerous passages hide key places with secret paths and hiding places, which have saved the bandits from Turkish pursuers countless times. And if we have to briefly describe the Trojan Balkans, the words are spirituality, nature, and plum brandy.

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