“Momchilovtsi” Yoghurt gains huge popularity in China

Chinese delegation headed by the vice-president of the "Bright" company Sun Kadzie-Jackson visited Momchilovtsi upon launching the yogurt project 
Photo: presented by Maria Nikova, Mayor of Momchilovtsi
The charm of the beautiful village of Momchilovtsi in the Rhodope Mountains has long left Bulgarian boundaries and captured the hearts of many foreigners. Its glory has reached the most densely populated continent of Asia. Three years ago people from the biggest city in China- Shanghai got to know the village due to the unique taste of the Bulgarian yoghurt. Then the Chinese company “Bright” began to produce yoghurt, made by the bacteria Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, taken from the area of Momchilovtsi. A research of the strain showed that it had very good characteristics and is suitable for the production of yoghurt in all climate conditions. Thus the Bulgarian product gained huge popularity on the Shanghai market under the brand “Momchilovtsi”. On the package, in a diamond form the following description can be read: “In Bulgaria, Southeastern Europe, there is a mountain, where a mysterious and very beautiful village can be found. People there live a long and happy life. For centuries the locals have the habit to drink homemade yoghurt. The key of its magic is in the Lacto bacteria l99". Data from “Bright” company shows that the monthly turnover from yoghurt sales amounts to 1 million euro. Local people make yoghurt only for their own use. However, two Bulgarian dairy companies come to the village each morning to buy milk and use it for making yoghurt, brine cheese and yellow cheese.

© Photo: Rumyana Tsvetkova

“Sheep- breeding is very popular in the village of Momchilovtsi, says in an interview for Radio Bulgaria the Mayor of the village Maria Nikova. Sheep-breeding and fishing have been the main subsistence in our area for many years now. Here we traditionally make sheep milk cheese as well as the so-called cheese in a skin bag. Once it was kept in bags of animal skin. It is quite popular in Momchilovtsi and is now gradually regaining popularity on the dairy market. There are people who breed between 5 and 20 sheep. During the summer they take the flock high up in the mountain at 1800 meters of altitude. These people take turns in making brine cheese and yellow cheese out of sheep milk. There are 2 farms as well. The first one has around 500 sheep and the second - around 300. So we can say the tradition in sheep breeding is still alive. Despite the difficulties young people don’t give up easily and try to prove that our region is a good for farming.”

© Photo: presented by Mayor Maria Nikova

The first Chinese delegation came to Momchilovtsi in 2008. Its aim was to study the possibility of making yoghurt. They visited many places in Bulgaria, but eventually choose this beautiful village. The delegation was impressed by the diligence and the hospitality of its people. Few days ago there was another group from the country of the silk. The purpose of their visit was to give the start of a bilateral project aiming at promoting the Bulgarian yoghurt in China and to give a start to the partnership between "Bright" Company and the village of Momchilovtsi. "We are very happy to see the Chinese company helping our village, because they can produce this yoghurt with or without us” says Mayor Nikova. The delegation was lead by the vice-president of the company Sun Kadzie-Jackson. He was accompanied by a famous Chinese writer and many journalists from the biggest TV channels and radio stations from Shanghai and Beijing. They have gathered rich audio material, which will introduce the traditional process of making Bulgarian yoghurt to the Chinese audience. “Video advertisements about the village feature the local people, their folklore traditions and manners”, says Maria Nikova.

The traditional cuisine of Momchilovtsi will also be shown there. One of the guests was a popular journalist, who works for a cooking show in Travel channel. She shot a movie about our traditional cuisine and the process of cooking. People from the village of Momchilovtsi welcome their guests with a big round loaf of bread, salt, a bunch of wild geranium and homemade brandy. The reception could not go without the popular Rhodope songs under the accompaniment of the Kaba bagpipe. The Chinese delegation granted the village with a modern sound installation and a picture, which reads “We love Momchilovtsi. “ Brignt” company came up with the so called wall of smiles, where the happy faces of many Chinese people eating Bulgarian yoghurt are shown. 

Translated by: Kostadin Atanasov

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