WINE & DINE

GETTING READY FOR DIVINO.TASTE 2022

On 11-13 November 2022 wine lovers and professionals from Bulgaria and abroad will gather for the 11th edition of DiVino.Taste. The event will take place at Inter Expo Centre Sofia and is organised by DiVino, a specialised media outlet.

DiVino.Taste 2022 will gather 80 Bulgarian wine producers offering over 500 labels and presenting a coherent picture of the Bulgarian wine making scene.

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ELIXIR OF LIFE

Summer is no summer without beer. Cold and in a pleasantly sweaty glass, it gives us a gulp of freshness in the heat, accompanies us on the beach and at the restaurant, waits for us in the fridge to return home from work. We crave a beer equally badly both after a long hike in the mountain and a stressful day in the office. Whatever has stressed us during the day, a glass of beer on the table is a signal that we can forget our problems for a while, that we can relax.

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THE RISE OF BULGARIAN WINE

On the verge of 2020, Bulgaria's wine scene is diverse, active, bubbling with new suggestions. Boutique, family and ambitious young wineries combine their passion for wine with their curiosity to discover new local terroirs in the Southwest, Northwest, Thrace, the Black Sea coast. They look for the optimal combination of preserving and reviving traditions and experimenting and openness to international trends.

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TASTY TRAVEL

Stomach is not only the sole way to men's heart. The rule is valid for anyone who is in a foreign country and wants to get to know it. The qualities, tastes and diversity of Bulgarian cuisine thus explain to a significant degree why so many visiting foreigners fall in love with the country.

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THE WORLD IN MY PLATE

Walking around central Sofia in the couple of past years means to immerse yourself in a cosmopolitain atmosphere: the sidewalks are crowded by people from all continents and the lively conversations of Greek, Israeli, Indian, Italian, Turkish, Spanish and Serbian tourists mingle with tour guides' explanations in Chinese, Japanese and Russian. English, in all of its varieties, is spoken everywhere.

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THE DRINK THAT DEFINES BULGARIA

The eyes of the Frenchman in the company that is sitting in a popular Sofia restaurant become round from surprise. The Bulgarians he is sharing the table with one after another order a strange drink as an aperitif.

"You want to start with something like Calvados?," asks he, astonished, when the explanations are finally over. "But such drinks are digestifs!"

"No, here they are not," answers the table and starts laughing, because the Frenchman's astonishment is on the verge of turning into an outrage.

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IRRESISTIBLE: BULGARIAN WINE DESERVEDLY WON OUR LOVE

There were exceptions, of course, when everyone just loved the wine offered.

Not anymore. Today, the type of the wine, the winery, the region, the grape and the taste are commented long after the drink was poured in the glasses and tasted. Most of the people around the table now have their opinions about and favourites among Bulgarian wineries, so they eagerly compare, point qualities and flaws, and analyse taste, aftertaste, aroma, body.

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TASTY GARDENS

Recently, getting to know Sofia's culinary pleasures have become a sight in its own right. A variety of culinary traditions, innovations, experiments, well-known and beloved suggestions – the Bulgarian capital offers a solution for every taste.

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DELICIOUS TRADITIONS

Regardless of whether we are tourists visiting a new place or we are living our ordinary lives, we are after authentic experiences and tastes. Food is probably the most significant manifestation of this trend. Indeed, in Bulgaria are being introduced new culinary ideas from all over the world, but authentic food remains one of the pillars of Bulgarian national culture. We cannot imagine Easter without sweetbread and coloured eggs, St George's Day without roasted lamb, Christmas Eve without odd number of meat-free dishes, or New Year without Banitsa pastry with good luck charms.

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DO YOU SPEAK FOOD?

Recently Sofia has experiences such a number of excellent restaurants, with menus and atmosphere to discover and fall in love with, that your head can easily spin. Moreover, a significant part of these introduce or interpret culinary traditions that until recently were new to the Bulgarian palate. Mediterranean cuisine is not a novelty anymore. The Japanese cuisine has its dedicated fans. Burgers are not associated with international fast food chains anymore, and lovers of the exotic can explore the tastes of India, for example.

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THE SPIRIT OF BULGARIA

In Bulgaria, Rakiya is much more than a drink: it is a part of national culture. There is hardly a festive or everyday gathering around the table to start without savouring a glass of Rakiya, accompanied by seasonal salad and appetisers. Many Bulgarians are proud with their home-made Rakiyas, and in some regions the spirit is made of specific fruit. Rakiya is consumed cooled throughout the year, but in wintertime it is also mulled with honey or sugar.

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SOFIA'S PLEASURES

But in the Bulgarian capital nothing can compare in diversity of the experience with the growing options for good eating. The changed habits and the increasingly high requirements of the locals, combined with the influx of foreign tourists, provide a fertile ground for the appearance of remarkable restaurants.

The food places in the capital offer never-ending renewal, traditional and new recipes, changing interiors and concepts, special menus and products, selected culinary traditions, experiments and tastings.

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THE TASTE OF SUMMER

Oh, summer! We spend the whole year dreaming about its got days and blissful evenings, about the vacation and the time we will have in the company of the people we love. Summer is the season when we are more relaxed, wear light clothes and flirt, meet new people and strengthen our friendships, when we go to the seaside and travel.

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TASTY SUMMER

Summer is a season when going to a restaurant becomes even more pleasant, because of the open gardens. Let's admit it, an establishment might have wonderful, modern, professional design that inspires the feel of cosiness and comfort, but when the temperatures outside go up, even the most tastefully furnished room looses the comparison with the lush garden.

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THE WORLD IN YOUR PLATE

I have a first-hand experience in this: I have consciously sat in a Chinese restaurant while in Bangalore, I have ordered sushi in Bangkok, tom yum goong in Scotland and pizza in the Loire Valley.

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TIME FOR RAKIYA

Historians disagree when exactly it appeared, and Balkan and other nations disagree on who makes it best. But in spite of its ability to ignite disputes, Rakiya remains one of the things that unite Bulgarians. There is hardly anyone able to imagine the beginning of a Bulgarian dinner without the cult – and rhetorical – question: "Will you have one small Rakiya?".

However, in Bulgaria the question is not only about a single small Rakiya. In this country, Rakiya is institution.

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WINE EUPHORIA

Bulgaria's wine traditions span so deep back into time that no-one can say for sure where they begin. But even the strongest traditions change and open space for new tastes and fashions. Bulgaria is not an exception. The country has already a stable position on the modern wine market, adopts novelties, invests in vineyards, technologies, specialists and wineries, and enjoys a growing group of people interested in wine.

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TASTING SOFIA

Recently I witnessed something that until not that long ago would seem strange, but nowadays is completely normal: in a bar, after midnight, two ladies were deep in conversation about the strong points not of a man, car, school, fashion brand or even a summer holiday destination. They were talking about a particular brand of craft beer with enthusiasm, understanding and pleasure.

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