Gastro tour “Pure monastery food from The Southwest for body and soul”

Лопушански манастир
Daily Tour 2 days, 1 night
3460 Chiprovtsi, Bulgaria

Fish, lean food, and a little red wine are the secret of the monks for health and longevity. Those who serve God are much less likely to suffer from diseases of modern society such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and dementia. The reason is in the simple food, the lack of processed products, the abundance of fish and lean foods with low-fat content, as well as in the strict observance of fasting.

During the Middle Ages, many monasteries in Europe produced their own food and other beverages, as they were built in remote secluded places and monks were unable to stock up on food.

This has been also the case in many Bulgarian monasteries. Today a dozen of them are restoring the tradition of producing food and various beverages so that they can support themselves from their own production. The monks make yogurt, cheese, and yellow cheese, various types of canned food, wine, brandy, and jam, raise fish and animals, and in the Gigini Monastery there is even an exhibition of food products prepared by monks.

And as it is written in Genesis (Gen. 9: 3-4): “Everything that moves and lives will be food for you; like grassy grass, I give you everything; only flesh with her soul, that is, with her blood, do not eat ”, we have hundreds of recipes for “monastic” dishes, which speaks of long and rich traditions in cooking in the monasteries, as well as the respect of the population for the food produced by the monks.


Place of departure / arrival

Sofia. Possible transfers from Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Kyustendil, Blagoevgrad, and other cities by prior arrangement. The program starts at 9.00 am at the Saint Theodore Stratelates Monastery, Balsha

Hours of departure: 08.00 am from Sofia. Departure for Northern Bulgaria from the parking lot of the Eko gas station on Lomsko Shosse №261.


The price of the tour includes:

  • Dinner 
  • Overnight 
  • Full tour guide service with detailed talks for each visited monastery 
  • Transport 

The price of the tour does not include:

  • Breakfast 
  • Lunch 
  • Entrance fees for the sites visited 

Opportunity to purchase

Fresh and natural monastery products – different types of cheese, yellow cheese, yogurt, jam and marmalade, honey, chicken eggs, monastery wine, canned fruit and vegetables, fresh vegetables and fruits, juices, fish, salami, and sausages according to monastery recipes, herbs.


What to expect?

The gastro tour “Pure monastery food from The Southwest for body and soul” is an exciting tour of five Bulgarian monasteries, which meets us not only with the legends, history, architecture, traditions, and wonders of these spiritual places but also with the food and drinks that the monks produce.

Our tour starts from the Saint Theodore Stratelates Monastery, Balsha village. The monastery offers products made by monks in Bulgarian, Greek, Romanian, Serbian and Macedonian monasteries – buffalo, cow, sheep, goat cheese, buffalo, cow, sheep, goat yogurt, cheese, honey, jam, herbal teas, monastery wine, monastery brandy, meat products, olives, olive oil.

At the Giginskii Monastery we will see the only three bronze bells of its kind in Bulgaria, each of which weighs one ton. We will visit the cubic church at the Zemen Monastery and look at the donor portraits, which are the oldest and with the greatest artistic value after the valuable images of Kaloyan and Desislava in the Boyana Church. We will visit two other monasteries where the monks produce fruits, vegetables, fish, milk, and cheese.

We go for a walk in Pernik – the largest city in Western Bulgaria after the capital Sofia. We will visit the Museum of Mining – the only one of its kind on the Balkan Peninsula. We will also walk around the Pernik fortress. Shishmantsi village also is in our program – the great Bulgarian artist Vladimir Dimitrov – the Master, created here for many years, painting the greatest masterpieces for the Bulgarian village.


Itinerary

Day 1: Monasteries, history, and the Museum of Mining – the only one in the Balkans

We go to the Balshenski Monastery, which offers products made by monks in Bulgarian, Greek, Romanian, Serbian and Macedonian monasteries – buffalo, cow, sheep, goat cheese, buffalo, cow, sheep, goat yogurt, cheese, honey, jam, herbal teas, monastery wine, monastery brandy, meat products, olives, olive oil.

We go for a walk in Pernik – the largest city in Western Bulgaria after the capital Sofia. We will visit the Museum of Mining. It is part of an underground mining gallery, where between 1891 and 1966 brown coal was mined. The museum is the only one of its kind on the Balkan Peninsula. We will also walk around the Pernik fortress, as known as the medieval fortress “Krakra”.

We continue to the Giginski monastery (Tsarnogorski monastery), which preserves a part of the relics of one of its patrons – St. Cosmas. The oldest monastery buildings are from around the XI-XII century. The monastery has its own farm and produces buffalo yogurt and fresh cheese from buffalo milk, honey, various jams, salamis, and sausages, prepared according to an old monastery recipe. In the late afternoon, we go to the Zemenski monastery and the famous its secrets cubic church, built in the XI-XII century.

Day 2: In the monastery gardens and the village of Vladimir Dimitrov the Master

The day begins with a visit to the village of Shishmantsi, where the great Bulgarian artist Vladimir Dimitrov the Master lived and worked for 30 years. There is a museum in his honor in the village.

We visit the Kopilovski Monastery, built after 2000 by a handful of monks on a bare meadow. Livestock, fish, and agricultural farms have been established in the monastery, the sales of which support the monastery. The monks cultivate over 1000 decares of land. They have orchards and vegetable gardens, their own apiary, farms for cows, sheep, and chickens. The monastery also maintains a trout farm nearby.

Our tour ends with a visit to the Zhablyanski Monastery, whose abbot was the prominent pedagogue Averkiy Popstoyanov, an associate of Vasil Levski. The Zhablyanski and Kopilovski monasteries are old-fashioned. The Old Stylists adhere strictly to the church canons – they do not recognize the generally accepted Gregorian calendar, but are guided by the Julian one. In Bulgaria, there are about 1500-2000 old-timers, 35 old-fashioned temples and chapels and about 100 monks, nuns and novices.

We head to Western Bulgaria through the mountains of Montenegro, an area known for its healing mineral water, we reach below the peak Kurilovo in Konyavska mountain, moving along the river Struma.

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