APPETISERS, ANTIPASTO AND MEZZE or AN OVERTURE TO A BIG WINE OPERA
Bulgarians have few major seasons of celebration – when there is a wedding, a birth, a christening, a funeral and when a friend pops in. It is always observed with great care of marking the event. As the occasion calls, we have to show big deal of generosity and no effort for a head-spinning meal is spared. And we always take it as if there will be no other wedding, birth, christening, and funeral or (God forbid!) the friend doesn’t come ever again.
So the big pots come out and big and skilful women start sorting the kitchen regiment in kitchen-hand troops and battalions.
While the main meal offensive is in the making at the kitchen headquarters, the drinks are spread around the tables and every one is warming up for the big feast.
That’s the moment when all the hopes are in our brimful cellars and pantries, as the deep, somewhat religious believe in our lands is that drinking has to go with a good snack of appetisers, or as we call them – mezze.
Mezze usually is anything appetising that one can find laying around in their pantries.
However, we are so obsessed with keeping our honour of well stoked and prepared hosts, that our average cellars can put to shame any major delicatessen shop in the City Business District.
And here is the table – hardly fitting all the salami, pickles, fresh salads, spreads and drinks and it is almost like an overture to an opera as grandiose as Verdi’s “Nabucco”.
Yes, we start sparingly, as the night is young and we take time to serenade the stressed hostess that shuffles between the stove and the kitchen oven.
Songs are just one of the good way for digestion of the quantity of alcohol and food we are about to pour down our throats…
And as Bulgaria happened to sit on the Crossroads of the Mediterranean world, The Balkans and the Middle East, here the food is all that – Balkan, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fusion. We cook fabulously like Greeks, drink mightily like Serbs, Croats and Bosnians, make love passionately like Italians and sing like Jews on the roof...
I never was a drinker, but always enjoyed this kind of getting together and I really didn’t need to drink to help myself from the table snowed under with irresistible snacks, bites, salami, salads and pickles…
I didn’t need to get drunk to get on the table and dance either.
It was time to be happy, to party and to have fun and I was enjoying every moment of it.
It was time to drink, eat and sing till we forget what got us together…
Now I have spread on my table a bit of everything that I've found rolling in my pantry.
Yes, you guessed it right – my dear friends Ilva and Simi just popped in and we are going to have fun yapping, eating; then talking more and eating some more, till we get up on the table dancing like Zorba.
Come and join us and bring some more food!
Till the next wedding or dear friends stopping by,
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