Bulgarian "culinary" geography is influenced both by the diversity of nature as well as by the clearly marked four seasons. Everywhere and always, however, the Bulgarian woman is a wizard in the kitchen. With great imagination and patience she prepares the local specialties and exotic dishes which differ widely in taste. One should on no account miss trying the "Trade mark" of Bulgarian cuisine - yoghurt, Shopska salad, white sheep's cheese, grilled meat, exotic food baked in earthenware dishes and cheverme. "Cheverme" is one of the most typical Bulgarian rituals, combining culinary and folklore traditions. It is characteristic for the mountain regions in Bulgaria - mainly the Rhodopes, Rila and Pirin Mountain. Tourists are offered a picnic in the mountain, where they eat lamb baked on fire and drink to satiety.
Oriental dishes do exist in Bulgarian cuisine with most common being moussaka, gyuvetch, and baklava. A very popular ingredient in Bulgarian cuisine is the Bulgarian white brine cheese called "sirene". It is the main ingredient in many salads, as well as in a variety of pastries. Fish and chicken are widely eaten and while beef is less common as most cattle are bred for milk production rather than meat.
Do not miss to taste the popular "tarator" (cold soup made of yoghurt, cucumbers, and garlic), "lukanka" (a spicy sausage made of minced meat curried with a lot of flavorful spices and half-dried in a cold, windy place for at least two months), "kavarma" (marinated cooked meat with vegetables and spices), "lyutenitsa" (sauce-like spread that is made from tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants pureed together).
There are several holidays that are characterized by specific meals. On Christmas Eve, it is a tradition to have vegetarian stuffed peppers and vegetarian stuffed vine leaves. On New Year's Eve, there are dishes made with cabbage. On Nikulden (St. Nikola's Day; December 6), people usually cook fish, while on Gergyovden (St. George’s Day; May 6), it is a tradition to eat roast lamb.