I think I was destined to love Bulgaria, even though I had no idea where it was before I agreed to go there. I quickly learned that Bulgaria is sandwiched between Greece and Romania, and that its food rivaled its neighbors, namely the Greeks.
For me, the best souvenirs are those I can eat and because of the relatively crazy inexpensive prices it is possible to try all that Bulgaria has to offer. Covering the table with as many dishes as possible is good form in Bulgaria and I learned to master it. No meal could be complete without shopka salad, a simple mixture of freshly chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, sliced red onions, and shredded Bulgarian cheese, generously drizzled with olive oil and vinegar, and garnished with a single black olive. It's ridiculously easy to replicate at home as long as you have some of the famous Bulgarian white cheese, similar to Feta but less salty. Locals order their fries with the Bulgarian cheese right on top. This combination also proved to be delicious.
On a hot summer day in Bulgaria a refreshing bowl of tarator, a cucumber, yogurt, and dill soup went perfectly with a large glass of cold beer. My favorites being the green bottled Zagorka or the brown bottled Ariana. You can order a Bulgarian house wine without fear, however, if you're invited to sample some Rakia, the national grape or plum distilled spirit, take caution. Once a bottle is opened amongst friends it must be consumed by the end of the night.