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The signature dish of Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko is the famous national culinary icon – Shopska salad. It not only represents the spirit of the hotel’s local region but also reflects the company philosophy of being surprisingly daring in creating traditions and memorable experiences.

Shopska salad has been the symbol of the Bulgarian cuisine for ages. It’s a cold salad made from the following ingredients: four ripe tomatoes, two long cucumbers, an onion, a red or green pepper, 1/3 a bunch of parsley, two tablespoons of olive oil, three tablespoons of red wine vinegar, a cup (1/2 lb) of Bulgarian cheese. The recipe for preparing Shopska salad is well - known and easy to complete: chop all the ingredients and sprinkle with the oil and vinegar, and then mix it all together. Finally, grate and add the cheese on top and voilà!

The ingredients of the salad are in absolute colour consistency with the landscape of the country. The White Cheese symbolizes the snowy peaks of the Bulgarian mountains, the green cucumbers reflect the virgin green Bulgarian forests, while the red tomatoes and peppers represent both themselves and together with the onion the famous Bulgarian red and pink – respectively - roses cultivated in one of the most fertile lands in the region - the Bulgarian Valleys.

“The salad is highly appreciated by both international and Bulgarian guests of the hotel” says Nikola Todorov, the sous-chef of Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko. “More than 1 000 salads were served within our Mediterranean Restaurant and by Room Service in the past year. What is interesting to all guests is our original presentation of Shopska salad – in the likeness of the Bulgarian national flag. This authentic arrangement surprises even the locals who are already familiar with this salad but have never seen it served like this before.”

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.

The salad is most often consumed as an appetiser in perfect combination with the hotel’s signature drink – Rakia (similar to the Italian grappa). Rakia is the traditional drink of Bulgaria. It is a clear alcoholic beverage made from the distillation of fermented fruits. There are different types of Rakia, all depending on what fruit it is made of - grapes, plums, apricots, pears, apples, cherries, figs or quinces. In Bulgaria, the most popular Rakia is made from grape.

Guests who are willing to experience the authenticity of the Bulgarian cuisine are welcome to savor the exceptional combination of Shopska salad with Rakia at the Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko’s restaurants.

About Kempinski:

Created in 1897, Kempinski Hotels is Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group. Kempinski’s rich heritage of impeccable personal service and superb hospitality is complemented by the exclusivity and individuality of its properties. Kempinski now manages a portfolio of 75 five-star hotels in 32 countries and continues to add new properties in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Each one reflects the strength and success of the Kempinski brand without losing sight of its heritage. The portfolio comprises historic landmark properties, award-winning urban lifestyle hotels, outstanding resorts, and prestigious residences. Each one is imbued with the quality guests have come to expect from Kempinski while embracing the cultural traditions of its location. Kempinski is a founding member of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2014.

For further information please contact:

Emiliya Kordeva ▪ Sales and Marketing Coordinator ▪

Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko ▪ 96, Pirin Street ▪ 2770 Bansko ▪ Bulgaria

Tel. +359 749 88888 ▪ Fax +359 749 88560 ▪ emiliya.kordeva@kempinski.com

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