Whilst working in the Black Sea Port town of Varna, I heard through the Grapevine that every Saturday sees a flea market appears in a small village 40 clicks from the city. Locals I spoke to referred to the market being a Rakija Fest. As a big fan of flea markets around the world, I always try to check them out as you never know what kind of treasure you might find. So off I went!

The flea market is located in a small town called Suvorovo that is essentially a large village. It’s named after the famous Russian General of the same name who gained a significant victory over the Ottomans in the nearby area as part of the Russian push to liberate the country from Turkish rule. A historical feat that the Bulgarians are eternally grateful for.

Rakija Fest & Bulgarian Food at a Gypsy Market

Locally, the flea market is known as the Gypsy Market. This is due to the large number of Roma Gypsies who frequent the market to buy or sell whatever is on offer. And there is a lot on offer! Whilst walking around the flea market I saw everything from live quail, chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys to WW2 memorabilia, militaria, and an array of jewelry that can only be described as ”moody gold” to quote the movie Snatch.

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After a few hours of looking for treasure, picking up a few antiques, and finding some rather interesting items from abroad (which you can read about here on Reaper Feed) I’d worked up an appetite. Luckily, the flea market is surrounded by a range of old school eateries made from corrugated iron selling an array of comfort food. Love it. I headed into the nearest one to check it out.

Rakija Fest & Bulgarian Food at a Gypsy Market

After battling to find a seat, I ordered the daily special which is essentially the staple meal of a Bulgarian flea market attendee. It consisted of Shopska Salad, a mixed grill comprised of a lot of good quality meat, and a hearty glass of Rakia which is the locally brewed brandy that usually runs around 70% proof. It was fairly early in the morning but hey, it’s five o’clock somewhere and Saturdays are Rakija Fest!

Amongst the other items featured on the specials board was traditional tripe stew and rabbit soup. However, as a fair amount of unfortunate rabbits were sitting opposite me, I’m afraid I couldn’t stomach said dish for the subsequent guilt.

Rakija Fest & Bulgarian Food at a Gypsy Market

If you wish to visit the Suvorovo flea market, it takes place every Saturday in the center of the village and it’s easily reachable from the Black Sea port city of Varna by car. As you’re probably aware, the Roma Gypsy community in Bulgaria and beyond are unfortunately tarred with an age-old stigma. Ignore it. The market is safe and the locals are friendly and curious to see foreigners there.