Bulgaria can rival Thailand in producing exotic flavour combinations.
By Aneta Nedyalkova
This is not a story about exotic Thailand, a country where this contrasting combination of flavours transforms every bite into pleasure. On the contrary, everything begins at the Varna Farmers’ Market, where everybody knows the trademark Eden Garden Bio Ltd, held by Velin and Maria Pasovski. Their bold, risky flavourful combinations transform what seems like a simple jar of jelly or jam into a sensory tango— strawberries dancing with mint, apricots with lavender and lime, peaches with brandy, figs with chocolate, and even a combination of opposites such as chilli jam.
Everything started off as a kind of joke. Both Velin and Maria were culinary experimenters, giving sets of unconventional but original flavours as Christmas gifts to their friends. The problem was that only a short time later, their friends would come back asking for a refill of the now-empty jars. This encouraged Velin and Maria to produce significantly larger quantities, while also organising Varna’s first ever farmers’ market.
Undoubtedly, Eden Garden faced a lot of competition and chose to rely not only on tradition but also innovation. Their classic products are delicious relishes, unmatched anywhere else on the Bulgarian market. The minty strawberries present a superlative freshness, thanks to the freshly cut mint. Bulgaria being a world leader in lavender production, allows the apricot-lavender-lime combination, “Apricot Provence”, to become a customer favourite. Meanwhile, the fig-dark chocolate mix is the children’s pick. They would otherwise never touch this fruit, it is so full of seeds. Finally, every jar of “Peach Brandy” has 10 millilitres of VSOP Pliska, and the bio-rose water raspberries are a hit with tourists.
Special attention is paid to the production of “Eden Garden” products, catering to the client’s high standards when it comes to natural products. Every jar is made with Mauritian Demerara brown sugar, the highest quality sugar in the world. Not only is much healthier than classical white sugar, but it also ensures the lasting and unaltered taste of the fresh fruits and spices. Velin and Maria are extremely precise with their fruit selection, ensuring a minimum of 65% of their product is solely fruit, a rare high for the Bulgarian market, and picking from the best fruit distributors, ensuring their selection is the best suited to the production of their products.
“Eden Garden” products have made their way into several chains of small gourmet and bio shops, the main outlet for the products, even keeping the same retail price as the farmers’ market, where Velin and Maria can be found every weekend.
Surprisingly, it turns out that Bulgarian clients are very open to the new, which is perhaps why the Eden’s Chilli Jam is one of the market best sellers. Chilli, pepper, soya sauce, vinegar, ginger and sea salt— definitely an atypical combination of ingredients in a jar, but responsible for bringing salads and bruschetta to life, and growing the size of Bulgarian jam culture.
Despite the countless attempts at imitations, clients choose to rely on the black-labelled jar, distinguishable as Eden’s product.