Bansko – an attractive cuisine for 500,000 tourists per year
When they hear about Bansko, people usually think of a skiing vacation. This is naturally due to the winter world championships taking place in the resort. They are broadcasted by all reputable international sports TV channels, and news media around the world broadcast reports and track the results.
Not to mention that these championships link Bansko with elite athletes with numerous fans on all continents. For example, in snowboarding – in January 2018 there were 230 athletes in the World Cup including the current world and Olympic champions, and the hotels were booked months ahead.
However, Bansko is not only a winter resort, it is a year-round resort, offering all kinds of entertainment in the mountains in the summer – various hikes for nature lovers, experienced mountaineers and mountain climbers; horse riding, mountain biking, rafting and kayaking, off road transitions, etc. So, tourists who choose Bansko for a winter vacation are almost as many as those that come in the summer.
The average annual number of guests at the resort is about half a million. This has also affected the gastronomy – not just as a providing food according to various tastes, but also as an attraction. There are picnics in the nature with theatrical performances about the customs and history of the region, and live folklore programs, hunting, fishing, unique ways of preparing food in which tourists could take part and so on. The offered food is very varied in the different restaurants – classic or specialized for game, fish, local dishes or national cuisines. Emblematic for the resort is the Restaurant Fondue in Bansko which offers dishes from the Swiss and French mountain regions. Another of the most visited restaurants – with delicious food, pleasant, relaxing atmosphere and excellent service, is Restaurant Leonardo Bansko specializing in Italian cuisine which is part of an aqua complex with two outdoor pools; in the summer it allows for combination of mountain and beach.
The unique local specialties of Bansko
The many international festivals which include world famous names and ensembles – jazz, ethno, opera, ballet, etc., contribute to the diversity of the nationalities of the tourists in Bansko.
Restaurant Les Bistro which is located at Lucky Bansko Spa & Relax Aparthotel has thought about the lovers of the various culinary trips around the world. This restaurant, along with traditional Bulgarian dishes, also prepares international cuisine. Apart from the luxury hotel restaurants, there are also independent ones, as well as wineries, taverns and so on. The ecologically clean area of Bansko allows for the food to be prepared from organic products with proven origin and the menu also includes vegetarian food.
Particularly popular among tourists are the local specialties which are unique even for Bulgaria. They are prepared according to special home recipes and ways preserved in the Pirin region over the centuries. The are interesting not only for foreigners, but also for Bulgarian tourists coming from other parts of the country. Bansko specialties – stewed meals, sausages, cold cuts, wine, impress with their rich flavors and tastes.
The cooking traditions of their preparation “speak” about the past of Bansko – customs, means of livelihood, beliefs, traditions and culture. Therefore, culinary exhibitions and tastings accompanied by demonstrations and explanations, are regularly taking place in the resort and attract numerous audiences. It is interesting that tourists are getting involved by preparing something from their national cooking traditions.
The very names of the Bansko dishes sound curious, and some are “exotic” even for the rest of Bulgaria. Among them are katino meze, banski starets, barkada, kapama, chomlek, kustureta, etc. For the uniqueness of the dishes, an example is the stew dish called kapama. It combines different kinds of meat – pieces of rabbit, pork, chicken, veal that are stuffed between cabbage leaves and cooks for several hours.