Signature Dish Shopska Salad

History

In the beginning of the 20th century, ripe tomatoes were underestimated and rarely used as a cooking ingredient throughout the country because they were considered bad for the health. That is why when raw versions of the salad first emerged in the mid-1950s, they were considered a bold culinary innovation. At the beginning, the salad featured mainly tomatoes and was served without any cheese. The grated cheese was added for the first time in the mid-1960s. This add-on has become the most significant step towards establishing the salad in its present form because the cheese helps soften the vegetables and creates a unique and recognisable taste. During the 1970s, the salad began to appear in almost every restaurant and home throughout the country. Because of its mass popularity, it gained the status of a “typical Bulgarian salad”. According to local culture, the salad is named after an ethnic subgroup of people known as shopi, the local residents of the capital region, Sofia. The predominant color of their traditional clothing is white same as the grated white cheese that covers the top of Shopska salad.