The Bulgarian yogurt, also known in Bulgaria as kiselo mlayko (кисело мляко) is one of the country’s many points of pride. It has a characteristically mild sour taste. It’s also among the best and also the healthiest dairy products that are offered today on the market. You might ask what makes it so special?

A Short History of Bulgarian Yogurt

Well, let’s start with the fact that it is believed to have been around for over 400 years! This can be said for very few of the available products today. It is claimed by Bulgarians that it was a result of an accidental discovery by the nomadic tribes who roamed the land. As a consequence of carrying milk in animal skins, the milk fermented and the outcome was yogurt.

Bulgarian Yogurt Bulgarian flag

Although yogurt exists in all countries around the globe, no yogurt can compare to the one coming from Bulgaria and it can be established with certainty that yogurt would nowadays have way less of an importance in the Western world if it was not for the country’s contribution in turning it into a popular and commercial product.

Élie Metchnikoff, a Russian biologist, and Nobel Prize winner discovered that the old Bulgarian peasants who consumed high amounts of yogurt on a daily basis also lived very long lives. This fact motivated the West to start including yogurt in their diet.

The Health Benefits of Bulgarian Yogurt

It was found by scientists that the bacteria that causes the milk to ferment and subsequently turn it into yogurt is called Lacto Bacillus Bulgaricus. This type of bacteria is proven to be incredibly beneficial for the digestive tract and it falls under the
category of probiotics.

“Bulgarian yogurt is viewed as the place with the highest number of centenarians in the whole of Europe!”

Various research has shown that yogurt is overall rich in nutrients, high in protein, it benefits the digestive system. It’s also known to strengthen the immune system and has many other health benefits. Thus, Bulgarian yogurt is not only tasty but also healthy! What more can you possibly want?

Bacillus Bulgaricus From Eastern Europe to East Asia

Lacto Bacillus Bulgaricus currently continues to license its patent to East-Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea, where Bulgarian yogurt has become extremely popular. In Japan, one of the best and most consumed yogurts is named Meiji Bulgaria yogurt. It advertises Bulgaria as its birthplace.

Bulgarian Yogurt in Japan

If you have been in Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains, you would have for sure came across old Bulgarian women selling their homemade yoghurt and honey in cute glass jars along the curvy mountain roads.

Want to know another of the many interesting facts about Bulgarian yogurt? It is also viewed as the place with the highest number of centenarians in whole Europe! Is it a coincidence? We think not

5 Bulgarian Yogurt Dishes You Must Try!

Bulgarian people are well known for their creativity. When it comes to yogurt, they maintain their ability to create some amazing combinations and recipes. Let’s dive into 5 Bulgarian yogurt dishes you just have to try!

5. Moussaka

Bulgarian Yogurt and Moussaka

Moussaka is an infamous Balkan dish that also finds a prominent place in Bulgarian cuisine. There is no way to go to the Balkans without trying it. Although it is not made out of yogurt, it is usually consumed in combination with it.

4. Banitsa

Banitsa is a special dish that is being consumed on a daily basis all over the Balkans. However, there are multiple different ways of preparing it and each country is named in a different way, although it is technically the same dish.

Bulgarian Banitsa

In Bulgaria, you must keep in mind that the banitsa you would get from the bakery on the way to work is totally different from the one that would be prepared at home. The main ingredients for a typical homemade banitsa in Bulgaria include filo sheets, white cheese, eggs, and of course yogurt!

As a result, if you do your job right, you get what is on the photograph above. If you want to be a little extra and include some additional health/taste benefits, then you could also add a healthy portion of spinach to the mix.

3. Ayran

What would make your banitsa taste even better is a freshly made, cold Ayran! This yogurt drink is possibly the most consumed one in the Balkans… well after rakija and beer, of course!

Aryan

Aryan is basically yogurt mixed with water and salt added to it so that your body gets all the needed salts back after an intense night out. So it’s a popular hangover cure in the Balkans and beyond. It’s Tasty and healthy, a win-win situation.

2. Snejanka / Snow white salad

Bulgarian Yogurt

One of the main Bulgarian salads is called Snejanka, or literally translated as Snow White. It is made with yogurt with a high percentage of fat, cucumber, crushed walnut. It’s also spiced with salt, dill, and garlic. This type of salad finds its way on almost every
Bulgarian table in all seasons and occasions.

1. Tarator

Bulgarian Yogurt

Finally, Tarator! This dish is a more liquid version of the Snejanka salad and consumed as a soup. It is one of the main traditional Bulgarian dishes and due to being always consumed cold, it is a very nice and refreshing meal on the hot summer days, which Bulgaria has a lot.

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Conclusion

To summarize, Bulgarian yogurt has it all. It’s got taste, health benefits, and the ability to combine it with a number of tasty recipes! It’s a blessing given by the Gods and if you ever stumble across some, do not hesitate to try it!

Marina Arolska is currently a Master student in International Security at the University of Groningen, NL. Drawing upon her wealth of international experience, Marina focuses on providing unrivalled insights into Eastern Europe. Her articles range from covering various cultural facts to providing security advice and safety tips for those visiting new destinations.