In a region admired for folksy museum-villages, it's fitting that central Bulgaria dishes up a lot of traditional cuisine. Expect hulking portions of pork, sword-sized shish kebabs and rich mish-mash (scrambled omelettes of cheese and peppers). Even salads are on steroids, with national favourite shopska usually hiding under a blanket of salty sirene cheese. Family-run guesthouses with attached mehanas (taverns) often serve the best.

Italian food comes a close second, and larger cities such as Veliko Târnovo and Stara Zagora have a cosmopolitan pan-European restaurant scene.