ITALY IN BULGARIA

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The tastes of the Apennines conquered the Balkan country


How often do you eat Italian food? The initial reaction to such a question is to start wondering when did we for the last time ordered pizza, made pasta or had risotto in an elegant restaurant. But it is enough to open our fridge to find out the importance of Italian tastes in our life. At the supermarkets we buy, without giving it a second thought, mozzarella, mortadella, gorgonzola, prosciutto. We have several types of pasta at home and our favourite Italian olive oil, olives, wine. We exchange with friends recipes for mascarpone cheesecake. When we want to pamper ourselves, we buy gelato, and espresso... is it possible to live without these few, aromatic gulps of coffee?

Italian food is so ubiquitous that we have accepted it as a part of our life and have stopped noticing it. We have forgotten that is was not always like that. About 30 years ago, under Communism, Italian food was exotic, known only from movies. Pizza arrived in the 1980s, changed beyond recognition in both name and quality as the so-called garnished bread. Spaghetti were the only type of pasta people were familiar with, and only with tomato sauce.

With democratisation in the 1990s, Italian food was among the first foreign culinary traditions to arrive in Bulgaria. Naturally, it started with pizza and pasta, but gradually the range diversified and specialised shops and restaurants appeared, until we reached the present state of things in which Italian products are sold in every supermarket. Bit by bit, people learnt more about Italian cuisine. Bulgarians started to travel and work in Italy, and Italians settled in Bulgaria. It transpired to everyone that the tastes of the Apennines are much, much richer even from what movies show.

Seductive and delicious, healthy and diverse, Italian food in all of its variety conquered us, and this will hardly ever change.

La Bottega Monte: New location with the well-known quality

La Bottega Monte Sofia

Connoisseurs of good Italian cuisine are aware for long that when they look for uncompromising quality, they just need to find the closest La Bottega restaurant. The chain's culinary map is now richer, with the latest member of the family – La Bottega Monte (Sofia, 191 Cherni Vrah Blvd, reservations 088 93 444 93, www.labottega.bg). The restaurant has a wonderful garden, shop for gourmet products, a fish showcase and a variety of wines from Italy and Bulgarian farmer products. In the menu you will find specifically created suggestions, and if you want to eat at home or the office, choose from the homemade food corner.

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