Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bulgarian Feta

Here is my favorite July day salad, and it’s so easy it’s laughable. Sliced cukes and radishes, a whirl of olive oil, some dribbles of rice wine vinegar, and lots of crumbled feta. Bulgarian feta. Crack some pepper over it, and you’ve got a quick lunch for one or two or three or four, using all those cucumbers that are poking their Inspector Clouseau noses up through the garden weeds.

Now, what I’m wondering is how I ever got by without Bulgarian feta before? It’s creamy, rather than curdy, and so much more flavorful than the little clods I’ve bought at the grocery all these years, thinking the Greeks were only mildly interesting. All this time, it’s been the Bulgarians (remember those amazing ululating singers?) who have really known how to milk a sheep and make me pant! Maybe it’s the heat of the patio, but I don’t think so. There is something rich and different in these morsels I bought from a little cheese case near my house where I overheard someone in line ahead of me say, “Have you tried the Bulgarian feta?”

Ask around. If you can find a cheesemonger who carries Bulgarian feta, run home and gorge yourself. I’ve noticed it popping up in other deli cases recently, usually in tubs, where the feta is bathing and lolling -- which might be the real secret. Those dry cubes at the grocery, all shrink-wrapped to look like blocks of Styrofoam insulation, are no good. You need to go to a monger who knows. Or to Bulgaria. My next adventure may just have seeded itself.


  1. This looks right up my alley. I love Bulgarian Feta. When I lived in Philadelphia, I would by huge blocks of it at Reading Terminal Market. This salad looks heavenly! Perfect for summer.


  2. Thanks for the comment -- I'm glad there's a Bulgarian Feta lover out there.

  3. Love Bulgarian feta too. It's much livelier and brighter than French or Greek, like the cows are eating the greenest, most herbaceous grass around.

  4. I'm a committed devotee ever since my first trip to Bulgaria in 2000. Luckily I live in NYC, near the largest ex-pat community of Greeks, so I can have it whenever I want! Anytime I serve two kinds of feta, everyone always gobbles this one up, wondering what makes it different. My Bulgarian friends would tell you, 'because it's made by Bulgarians of course!"

  5. Matt at 9th Street just turned me on to this. OMG! It's one of those rare, truly life-changing cheese experiences.