Small-scale subsistence farming is an ancient tradition in the Rhodope Mountains. It has reinserted itself in recent years due to economic hardships after the collapse of communism in Bulgaria. Today, most houses in Startsevo are surrounded by a well-stocked, diverse garden and so is our guest house.
Fruit and Vegetables
Depending on the time of year, you can enjoy a wealth of home-grown, organic fruit and vegetables. The latter can include flavorful tomatoes, cucumbers, crispy carrots, spring or regular onions and garlic.
The list goes on with green or red paprika, and of course tasty zucchini that are best served as one of Bulgaria's famous dishes - breadcrumb fried with a special yoghurt-garlic-dill sauce.
Cabbage and various other roots are plentiful in autumn. But most often you'll encounter the local staples - potatoes, green and dried beans (white, kidney, mung). Corn, too, plays a major role in local cuisine - boiled or roasted fresh from the garden, or used as flour in specialties such as kachamak, prosepnik, smidal.
Fruit trees are another strong presence around our guest house. We have sweet and sour cherries, two fig-trees that yield juicy figs (brown and green), a vine with white grapes, and several apple trees. Some young apricot and peach trees are also just entering their fruit-bearing phase. We even have a dogwood tree, and a beautiful old quince tree. In spring, strawberries and raspberries are also abundant!
Spices and Herbs
Herbs and leafy greens are an essential part of our household. We aim to always have spinach, various types of salad, including rucola, as well as red and green leaf lettuce.
Our garden is rich in herbs! Added to any appetizer, salad, cooked dish, or even cocktail they can unfold their rich flavor. You can find fresh sage, spearmint, savory, celery (also as stalks or root), oregano, parsley, dill, and basil. You can furthermore pick wild tea ingredients, such as thyme, chamomile, and dogrose, or herbs for home-made ointments like marigold (calendula), arnica, and St. John's wort. Some of them we offer dried, too.
Two massive walnut trees give as much fruit as they offer shade on hot summer days. Other than eating them raw, they can be employed in baklava which is another local specialty.
Most of our produce is preserved for winter consumption - as spicy pickles, flavorful marmalade, or sweet compote.
Local favorites are strawberry and fig marmalades, chili pepper pickles, or the famous lyutenitsa relish.
What we offer by way of preserves varies with each year's crop. As with any organic garden, ours is regulated solely by the climate, so whether it's more beans and roasted paprika, or tomato juice and fig marmalade for the winter, depends entirely on how rainy the spring was or how hot the summer.
The peaceful surroundings, a speedy Internet access and various comfortable working spaces make our guest house in Startsevo an excellent retreat to get things done.
No matter if at night or during the day - you can always relax on our porch or balconies with a breathtaking view of the valleys below.
Besides the delicious offerings of the authentic local restaurants, you can request home-made cuisine from fresh organic produce right out of our garden.