The fans of delicious Bulgarian yoghurt and national traditions have long ago booked a day off on June 30 to join the Yoghurt Festival in the town of Tran situated near the Bulgaria-Serbia border. This place was not chosen accidentally. World famous Doctor Stamen Grigorov who discovered the Lactobacillus Bulgaricus bacteria responsible for the natural fermentation of the Bulgarian yoghurt was born in the village of Studen Izvor, Tran municipality.
The event is organized by the Tran Municipality, L B Bulgaricum Company and Dr Stamen Grigorov Foundation. This year the festival’s programme will differ from the previous ones, Stamen Grigorov’s granddaughter and Chairperson of Dr Stamen Grigorov Foundation Yulia Grigorova told Radio Bulgaria and added:
Many big Bulgarian dairy companies took part at previous editions of the festival. They presented their own produce, as well as some new dairy items. Many Bulgarian farmers also participated at the Yoghurt Festival. Thus, we were able to compare the industrial with the homemade yoghurt, cheese, yellow cheese, etc. This year we decided to invite only our traditional partners L B Bulgaricum only. Thus, we will allow the Bulgarian farmers and people with small dairy farms to show their products. The milk produced in the region of Tran is of very high quality. The guests of the yoghurt festival can try various local products. We are planning to organize farmers’ bazaars in Tran at least twice a month in the future. They will attract the interest of the tourists visiting this region- the Erma River Gorge, the Museum of Yoghurt in the village of Studen Izvor and the Museum of Ceramics in Busintsi village.
The local farmers will present their cow, sheep and goat yoghurts. The craftsmen from the region of Tran will show local ceramics, fretwork, homemade yarn and knitwear. A culinary contest will be also held during the festival and visitors can taste delicious homemade cheese pastries (Banistsa) and other doughy products made with yoghurt. What is the difference between the traditional Bulgarian yoghurt and the yoghurt made in Western Europe?
The Bulgarian yoghurt is healthier. It is slightly different to the product popular abroad which is sweetened in order to match the taste of the people living in these countries. The acidity in the traditional Bulgarian yoghurt is due to the presence of the popular Lactobacillus Bulgaricus bacteria. The Bulgarian yoghurt has become more popular and Europe and Japan, Yulia Grigorova explains and specifies:
Traditionally, Japanese guests visit the Yogurt Festival in Tran. This year we will welcome guests from Korea as well. Next year we will include a Norwegian program in the festival and are expecting visitors from several European countries including Romania, Austria and Croatia.
The traditional Bulgarian yoghurt has gained huge popularity worldwide and the Bulgarian bacteriaLactobacillus Bulgaricus is now used in many probiotics. The Bulgarian yoghurt contains unique milk cultures and contributes to intestinal microflora. It is widely used during antibiotic treatment, cancer treatment, treatment of stomach and liver diseases and immune deficiency. Sometimes, however, merchants sell products which imitate the traditional Bulgarian yoghurt. How people can test the quality of yoghurt in their homes? Yulia Grigorova has more:
The real yoghurt has a sour taste and is not that thick. Usually the thick dairy products contain preservatives and other additives which help them last long. The homemade yoghurt does not have any additives at all. There are many high-quality yeasts in Bulgaria and some Bulgarian companies export them abroad. Those who can buy fresh milk should make their own homemade yoghurt. If people don’t know how to make it they should learn, Yulia Grigorova says.
English version: Kostadin Atanasov Photos: Courtesy of Dr Stamen Grigorov Foundation