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Hotel Signature Dish: Kempinski Hotel Zografski presents the tastes of Bulgaria

While selecting its signature dish, the team at Kempinski Hotel Zografski thought how best to bring unique Bulgarian tastes together with an artistic touch for both locals and international travellers. After heated discussions and culinary experiments rooted in the exceptional diversity of Bulgarian cuisine, the choice fell on oven-roasted lamb in the St George style.

“This typical national dish embodies the culinary traditions of Bulgaria relating the tastes and lifestyle of a whole nation,” said Executive Chef Andrey Stoilov. “We went through dozens of suggestions until we decided on the authentic lamb recipe. It combines ingredients of the best quality, it is popular, easy to identify – easy even to prepare and has its own story!”

In Bulgarian tradition, St George Day is one of the most beloved Bulgarian holidays. It is celebrated on 6 May not only as the day of the army but also to honour the most popular male name in the country originating from the myth of St George as one of the strongest warriors against injustice. The celebrations in different regions are accompanied by various rituals - but always with St George’s Day lamb to crown the holiday. The dish is so loved that its preparation and serving has long left the frame of St George Day and Easter period and can be now enjoyed at any time of the year.

The lamb, prepared by Andrey Stoilov according to his grandmother’s recipe, contains the promise to discover different tastes as you savour the hotel’s signature dish. And here is a small secret for successful preparation: the whole lamb, well salted, is roasted for hours in an oven while continuously pouring water and its own sauce over it to achieve the authentic delicate and crispy taste.

St George’s Day Lamb is complemented by the authentic “drob surma” prepared from lamb liver and rice and Rhodope Mountain capes mushrooms crowned with Bulgarian yoghurt mint sauce. It is also garnished with a traditional Shopska salad – a wonderful and fresh mix of sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and onion and topped with grated sheep cheese.

“As a foreigner, I believe that one should explore each new country in its entirety, including its national cuisine,” said Kempinski Hotel Zografski Sofia General Manager Gerd Ruge. “I have listened with interest to all the arguments of my team when we were deciding on the signature dish. In March, together with my colleagues from all Kempinski properties, we prepared the signature dishes of each of our hotels by ourselves at a unique event. Cooking is one of my passions, and I was happy that with the help of our chef, I learned how to cook a typical Bulgarian dish. The resulting pictures became one of the most ‘liked’ posts on our Facebook page. That convinced me that we have gone for something truly iconic and tantalising. I would like to invite you to our hotel to taste the way we cook and serve it.”

St George’s Day Lamb goes perfectly with famous Bulgarian wines, white for warm weather on the Intermezzo lobby bar terrace facing the unique Japanese garden, or red in the winter months.

The hotel has posted the recipe on the hotel blog, so that everyone interested in preparing the signature dish can do it in several easy and simple steps.