Singing and Dancing Bulgarian Peppers

Peppers in Bulgaria are barbecued in the main, this is a national pastime in late summer through to the autumn and an event I see every day in the Yambol area. The smell of freshly picked and cooked peppers is unmistakable and for me and many other walking by a home that is cooking peppers on a barbecue, conjures up mix of major jealously and a great deal of dribbling. The lucky recipients of the food are in for a regular treat that is beyond description in a blog. Such a simple food and such an effective treat and celebration of nature's food prepared in such a natural manner.

It is only in the last two years that the potential of peppers has been realised. Before Bulgaria eating peppers wasn't the choice of foods in the UK. They were a food that didn't appeal at all from the point of taste and uniform in shape. So when arriving in Bulgaria, from that background of pepper eating experience growing peppers wasn't really on the agenda. They were, as far as I was concerned, far more tasty food to grow. What's the point of growing food that had no character and didn't give a culinary event to look forward to?

Then one day, about a year on, Galia put a simple pepper dish in front of me. This was another major event in the food experiences in Bulgaria. There have been so many! The peppers were sweet and tasty with a melt in the mouth sensation; a party was in full swing on my mouth from that point of the peppers gate crashing in. This was a moment I shall never forget as all my prejudices that had built up against UK peppers sudden diminished, just like the peppers that also diminished in a short space of time.

After that event it was a pepper fanatic on the prowl and a pepper section for growing them set aside on the farm. For two years now peppers have been eaten like there is no tomorrow, you just can't get bored with food like this in a country that seems to have a magic element in all that grows here.

I have found that barbecuing the peppers, in the traditional Bulgarian way is the best way to appreciate the full pepper experience. I mentioned a party before; well I have also found that the peppers have their own party whilst being prepared. They sing and dance all the way to the dinner table.

The Barbecue is set up and the peppers are always the first to be cooked. As they lie there and the heat hits them they start dancing, then not long after they start singing. It is fun to watch and hear as they party on until done. They are taken off the heat to cool down then the women peel the skins that come off very easily. Finally they are laid on a dish and a drizzle of oil, a squirt of vinegar and a sprinkle of salt are added. The end result is heavenly!

The dancing peppers are caused by the heat making the skin blister, raising the pepper, the blister bursts and the peppers fall, many little blisters rising and falling make the peppers jive around the hot barbecue grill.

The singing peppers are cause by the heat boiling the moisture inside the peppers creating steam. This steam is built up and needs to escape so the pepper pops. Alongside the big pops of the whole pepper are the little pops of the skin blisters popping. This I suppose could be pepper pop music! Going on, some peppers already have an escape route for the steam and just like a woodwind instrument the steam is force through a small outlet and the vibrating flap produces vibration, hence a tone and music is created. The greater the heat the more pressure from the steam and a higher pitch note results a symphony of oscillating tones result. Watching an listening we do actually hear and see singing and dancing peppers respectfully; well what else would you expect from Bulgarian peppers!?