Moulin de Plovdiv

Plovdiv is a lovely town. I had a great visit there and look forward to returning soon, especially after visiting Moulin de Plovdiv! They have a boulangerie/patisserie or bakery right in the center of town. The folks at Gaillot Chocolate told us about their French friend that was a baker, so I knew immediately that is where I would be having breakfast.

The first think that caught my eye were the Galettes, a buttery cookie that has just the right amount of sweetness… got some of those!

The assortment of delights was unreal. I couldn’t resist the croissants, so got a few of those, a pain chocolate, and a Breton galette with apricots…

And of course the bread… didn’t really need a loaf, but should have brought some home.

Everything was amazing. Angel, Gabriel and I sat in our hotel room covered in crumbs savoring every bite. Finding a good croissant is hard, but they aced all that we tried. Wonder if I can persuade them to open a shop in Kyustendil.

UPDATE – March 8th 2014: While in AGRA again this year, I followed the advice of my own post from last March to Moulin de Plovdiv, only to find out that they moved, almost immediately after the post was published.  I have updated the photos to include those of the new shop, but I have to add that I was deeply disappointed with the quality. I was there bright and early on a Friday morning and ordered a few croissants, but they were not fresh, not in the least, it was as if they were leftovers from the night before. I ordered three different varieties, original/butter, ham and kashkaval. All of them were deeply unsatisfying. I expect that a bakery, a French bakery, should have fresh croissants! I hope this was a fluke. Please share your thoughts.

Ul. Leonardo Da Vinci, 21
4000 Plovdiv, Bulgaria 
Hours Mon – Sat: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm 
Phone +359 87 886 7720

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Сирене и Вино за Приятели

For those who follow my site, know that I am always looking to try and experience different aspects of Bulgaria, and at present, mostly Sofia. It is hard living in Kyustendil to discover new places and spaces without help. I was fortunate that someone on EGL’s Facebook page suggested Сирене и Вино за Приятели, which translates to Cheese and Wine for Friends. I had asked if anyone could recommend a nice spot for lunch, in the area around Orlov Moct; this was the spot suggested, and I must say that it was quite a good find indeed.

The interior of the shop is warm and inviting and warmth refers both to the coziness, as well as the temperature. When I first opened the door on a brisk afternoon, the heat from the ovens and the smell of freshly baked bread imediately caused me to salivate. Cheese and Wine for Friends (CWF), is a delicatessen, bakery, sandwich shop and with a selection of grocery items. 
The philosophy of the place is to emphasize good quality food, but at an accessible price. The majority of the goods sold are Bulgarian made and highlight small farms and producers. There are many boutique shops that offer similarly products, but the majority of the competitors’ offerings are foreign goods. This focus on local products enables CWF to keep the costs manageable by avoiding import taxes and delivery fees, as reported in Kapital.
Cheese and other dairy products are on display throughout most of the shop. They have traditional Bulgarian cheeses, but also Bulgarian interpretations of Italian cheeses as well. CWF works with Dobrev Cheeses for their dairy goods, which has a a few dedicated cheese shop locations in Sofia, and Burgas. Besides cheese, the cold counter also offers meats and sausages, plus all the nibbles one would need to put out a good antipasto spread.
My original purpose for visiting CWF was lunch and I ordered a sandwich on a freshly baked roll with cheese and meat, I forget the specifics. The cost of this sandwich was a shock at 2.90 lv. With a bottle of water, my lunch was less than 4 lv. The size of the sandwich was large and satisfying. The simple sandwich was made with fresh and quality ingredients, which made for a tasty lunch with a friend. A sandwich at a similar delicatessen shop like Dar ot Bogovete, which sells foreign products can cost upwards of 8 lv. While not everyone will consider 2.90 lv cheap for a sandwich, but despite the price the quality and taste was high and this is important.
I am not sure if the owners or managers are friends with Gourmet Publishing, but Menu and DiVino magazines are available for customers to peruse while lunching or shopping. The selections of wine are fantastic and quite familiar after Taste 2012. You can find many if not all of the Bulgarian Association of Independent Winegrowers‘ labels available. I do however question how the warmth of the interior effects the storage of the wines?
I am grateful for the recommendation and I look forward to exploring the cheese and dairy offerings from Dobrev. My family and I are big fans of cheese… all cheese. Worth a visit if you are in the Orlov Moct are and hungry for a quick bite!
Сирене и Вино за Приятели
Tsar Ivan Asen II 62 (on the corner of Rakitin)
Tel: +359 87 728 7900 
Hours Mon – Fri: 8:30 am – 7:30 pm 
Sat: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm

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JoVan – the Dutch Bakery

The first time that I met John Hulbosch (aka JoVan the Dutch Baker), it was a few months after I moved to Sofia and was having an early bite with a Dutch friend of mine Koos.  When I heard about his bakery I was immediately intrigued. It opened in 2005 and is still going strong.

From the street I could smell the aroma of freshly baking bread. The counter and shelves were abound with all sorts of breads, it was truly and international variety of bread styles to suit all whims and fancies, not only Dutch.
While they offered ready to eat freshly baked sweets and savory treats, I wanted a small fresh roll to nosh on, but they seemed to only have larger loaves on display. I was drooling to bite into a crusty loaf, but didn’t want to have to a) eat it all (I could have, but would have felt like a glutton afterwards) or b) carry it around with my on my long walk around Sofia.
I ended up just grabbing some “American” cookies, which were good, but I don’t like raisins in my chocolate chip cookies. I wish that I lived in Sofia, because I would be getting my daily loaves straight from JoVan’s. They also offer delivery service, which you can check out on their website, but I doubt Kyustendil will be on their future expansion lists… at least not for now.

Also, check out this great article about John on Novinite.com

Angel Kanchev Street 37 (ул. Ангел Кънчев, 37)
Sofia 1000 Bulgaria 
Monday / Saturday from 08.00 to 20.00 
Sunday from 09.00 to 15.00
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Take a Cake Bakery

I have long been a fan of cupcakes.  When I first moved to Bulgaria back in 2006, I was looking for some way to engage myself.  I found it difficult to find work in the film and television industry, so I suggested to my husband to be the first person to bring the American cupcake craze to Bulgaria.  I had been reading articles about cupcake bakeries in the Middle East and other spots around the globe. I love baking, but I am not a baker, plus the thought of living in Sofia was a drag, so my cupcake idea never materialized.

Fast forward to Jan 2011, the first dedicated cupcake bakery opens it doors in Sofia, Take a Cake.  Since I have been in the US for almost a year, I am a little behind the times on the comings and goings of food places in Sofia, but a few days after their 1 year anniversary, I made my way to the shop, which is located at 1 Tulovo Street (off Blvd Evlogi Georgiev, near Eagle’s Bridge) ул. Тулово 1, 1504 Sofia, Bulgaria.

The shop is small there is a counter/cupcake case that greets you as you enter, but very little room for sitting, although they have 2 small tables, which my friend and I sat at as we enjoyed a cupcake and latte.  If you are looking for a place to sit with more than two people, or if you need to write in a notebook, this might be a bit tight. 
I ended up start with the simple vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting, which was good. They had a nice and interesting selection of flavors that changed often.  I was very satisfied with the taste and texture, my only complaint was the size.  In my opinion, the cups are under filled.  Even after baking, the cake doesn’t peek above the paper wrapper.  Whether it is cupcakes or muffins (they do both) I want a nice cap on my cupcake and a sizable muffin top.  There is something to it that I don’t think has made it to Bulgaria yet, I mean they sell baking pans that are solely for producing the tops, it is part of the allure of these tiny baked treats.
The shop is a charming alternative to some of the other baker offering in Sofia. Maybe I am being a sentimental American that has a slight infatuation with cupcakes, but I would recommend stopping by Take a Cake for a breakfast muffin, afternoon cupcake or just an anytime of the day snack attack to eat in or take out.  They also have coffee options and I enjoyed my latte. For 3 cupcakes and 2 regular latte’s the bill was about 7.50 lv. As I left, they added a Cherry Coconut cupcake to the daily offering, which I greedily took to go.
You can find their page on Facebook, so you can get updates about the daily offerings.

Zlaty, is one of the cupcake bakers at Take a Cake.  She and I became aquatinted when she worked at My Organic Market.  I think it was because of her that I found out about the bakery.  So, thank you Zlaty.

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