A Typical Evening Meal on St Nicholas Day in Bulgaria

This blog is the last of a trilogy of articles about St Nicholas Day or Nikolai Name Day in Bulgaria. It is more of a picture blog as the event as the day came to a climax in the evening. and not a anyone called Nikolai in sight. This is no excuse for having a family gathering and a party here. As always in Bulgaria the family and food plays a major part on these occasions less than three weeks before Christmas.

I was honoured to be given responsibility and take charge of the fish, which wasn't the traditional carp due to the cost. We had bought another cheaper freshwater fish called a tolstolop. It was to be prepared salted and barbecued on this warm and sunny December day.

The fish was the main course, before that the women were preparing a meze type of starters that will see us through a few hours of talking before the tolstolop fish was served up.

Starting form the top working round clockwise, let me take you through the table of food prior to the fish being served:

  • Lettuce and Yoghurt Salad - A simple Bulgarian lettuce in December grown under glass, oil salt and vinegar added place plain yoghurt, simply delicious
  • Pig Skin - Galia's son had been to a pig slaughtering earlier today and had brought some of the skin that had been scolded and scraped. It was just salted before eating.
  • Skalitsa Salami - Home made salami from another pig slaughter given to us from our neighbours in the village.
  • Sweetcorn and Gherkin Salad - Plain sweetcorn from home grown cobs and homegrown gherkins that had been preserved in salt/vinegar water a couple of months ago.
  • Green Tomato, Cauliflower and Carrot Pickle (centre) -Again, all home grown vegetables that had been preserved n salt water a few weeks ago.
And to accompany the meals, dark beer from Sofia and homemade Yambol rakia along with Yambol produced orangeade. The only non-Bulgarian food in the table were the coated peanuts.

The main course fish was superb and the whitest fish meat I have every seen, it was swimming in crystal clear pollution free reservoir waters some 5 kilometres away from Yambol 48 hours earlier!

It was a very long day but only because this year is fell on a Saturday. Next year is is on a Sunday so big family meal with all the traditions surrounding will happen again. A beautiful soul stirring day that hopefully will never be diluted with commercialism.