I had the loveliest lunch and afternoon today! Tina and Kevin, the gracious British couple who own and run Cottage Farm Alino, invited for me lunch. I found their web site several months ago and I have been following their updates about the farm, the animals, the vegetables, and the delicious food that are part of their lives and work ever since then. And today I got to meet them and spend several wonderful hours in their company.
It was a perfect day to make the one hour trip from Sofia. The scenery along the road was simply stunning in the late summer light. I got to the farm and Tina and Kevin greeted me warmly and invited me into the den. The house is decorated with an eclectic mix of traditional Bulgarian village and English cottage styles, very inviting and comfortable. I could already smell something heavenly being cooked but we went on a tour of the farm first so I can meet the animals. As we were making our way by the vegetable patches towards the barn, a whole bunch of kittens were following us pretty much single file, only interrupted by Queenie the puppy who would joyfully wrestle them while the two fox terriers were playing around our feet - it was a sight to savor!
I met Big Mama and her piglets, the goats, the chickens, ducks, guinea pigs, and the two latest additions - the peafowl. All the lovely beasts as Tina calls them looked so happy. We then embarked on our lunch - and it was truly remarkable. I devoured two generous helpings of panzanella salad that was so delicious I could have been perfectly happy if that was the only dish they served. But no, there was more. The salad came with freshly baked crusty bread with homemade goat cheese. Then followed the most flavorful roasted chicken with white beans puree. And to top all this scrumptious deliciousness off, Tina and Kevin served a freshly baked upside down plum cake with homemade plum ice cream. Let’s just say this was a meal I will daydream about for months to come….
By the time we were done with lunch and coffee, nearly four hours had gone by! Tina and Kevin are not simply wonderful hosts but great conversationalists, too. It was so interesting to hear about their life - back in the UK and in Bulgaria, which they have been calling home for ten years now.
Tina and Kevin host regular Farmers’ Table Lunches/Meet the Animals as well as private lunches and events and trips to Alino Monastery. Visiting them is a fabulous way to spend a day in the beautiful Bulgarian countryside, which is particularly lovely this time of year.
[This is Day 63 of my “92 Days of Summer” series - as I travel Bulgaria and a few other parts of the Balkans this summer, I am recounting my experience across the region. Flying Raconteur - Bulgaria Travel Inspiration www.facebook.com/FlyingRaconteur/]