Grocery shops in Sofia that offer gourmet and luxurious treats from all over the globe
Written and photo by Dobrinka Boeva, edited by Scott Green
Bored with the good old sirene, lutenitsa, and lukanka? Looking for a refined and luxurious experience? Or simply trying out flavours from different corners of the world? Here’s our list of shops offering products from all over the globe, where you can satisfy your gastronomic curiosity and desires.
La Casa Iberica
A small and charming shop, La Casa Iberica brings flavours from all over sunny Spain right to the heart of Sofia. The assortment of aged and fresh cheeses in La Casa Iberica is an excellent representation of the great variety of cheeses that Spain produces. A must-try is the famous Manchego cheese, which is produced from the raw milk of Manchega sheep and aged for a minimum of 12 months. In La Casa Iberica, you can also find cured meats such as chorizo, morcilla (Spanish blood sausage), the Catalan fuet, cecina, and of course the signature Jamon. For all of you truly dedicated gourmet lovers, at La Casa Iberica you can even buy an entire Jamon Iberico, made from 100% Iberian bread pig. Smoked and sweet paprika, saffron, pâté, as well as high-quality olive oil, olives, and sweets such as the Spanish turrón are also available. Finally do not forget to check out the fine selection of Spanish wines for a complete experience of this rich and beautiful country.
Gift from the Gods
Many countries in the world are involved in the argument of who produces the best cheese. However, if you want to do your own research, we recommend visiting Gift from the Gods, which is a shop that focuses on high-quality cheeses, cured meats, pâté, terrines, wine, and bread from different corners of the world. One of the few shops in Sofia that offers a good assortment of fresh, soft, aged, hard, and semi-hard French and Swiss cheeses from small farms and organic production. Worth trying is the P’tit Basque cheese that is produced from sheep’s milk originating from the Pyrenees mountain in the Basque region of France and that ages for 90 days. From Switzerland, you can find aged Gruyere, Kaltbach Cremoso, or aged Emmental cheese. England, Spain, Italy, and Holland are also very well represented in the shop, you can even find goats’ cheese from the Canary islands!
In Isensi you can satisfy all your Italian food cravings for high quality and gourmet products brought to you straight from beautiful Italy. The shop works with high-quality brands and supplies fresh cheeses such as mozzarella, ricotta, and burrata every two weeks. The selection of cheeses also includes a few types of pecorino that have aged different amounts of time, scamorza, Grana Padano, parmesan, and many more. The rich choice of cured meats and hams will definitely catch your eye, you can select from different types of prosciutto crudo, bresaola, guanciale, and more. For those of you who have a sweet tooth, you can choose from the variety of Italian chocolates, freshly prepared desserts such as cannoli, and typical Italian cookies. You can also add olives, pâté, high-quality pasta, olive oil, coffee, and wine to your Italian shopping list with Isensi.
Le Petit Quché
Le Petit Quché offers a great variety of luxurious foods, wine, and high-end cosmetics for your home and body. The shop sells products from the luxurious French brand Comtesse du Barry, such as terrines, foie gras, fine chocolates, pâté, and high quality canned fish. The assortment of wines covers various sources, such as Italy, France, Spain, and boutique Bulgarian wine from the Zornitza winery, which produces only several hundred barrels yearly. If you like indulging in truffles, you can find products such as whole truffles, truffle shavings in oil, truffle flavored oil, and truffle salt. For a healthier but yet luxurious experience, try out the fine alcohol-free aperitifs form the German brand Van Nahmen. Nothing in Le Petit Quché is ordinary, including the olive oil which originates from the award-winning Spanish biological produce Nobleza Del Sur.
Once you enter Bakalia, you immediately feel like you have stepped into a grocery shop somewhere in Greece. The first thing you notice is the mouth-watering Greek sweets such as Greek delight, baklava, cookies, and kadaif placed right in the middle of the shop. A step away is the display stand with Greek cheeses such as feta, goat’s cheese, halloumi, aged cheeses from Larisa and Crete. For meat lovers, you can find cured meats, salami, and Greek sausages with different flavours such as orange or oregano. You can also find appetizers that will go with your meaty treats like tzatziki, tirokafteri, and more. A Greek shop can’t go without olive oil, hence Bakalia offers high-quality olive oil produced from trees that grow in the high grounds of Peloponnese and Crete. In Bakalia you can also find Greek beans of the gigantes sort, Santorini fava, lentils, herbs, tea, spices, crackers, bread, and many more products.
If you have travelled to Germany at least a few times, you probably have indulged in wursts, beer, or pretzels, especially during the time of the Weihnachtsmarkts. If you miss these typical German treats, there’s no need to travel to Germany anymore, because you can now find them in Sofia, at Bismarck. A first of its kind in Sofia, Bismarck is a shop that sells beer, food, wine, and other products that are strictly of German origin. You can choose from more than 150 German beers, authentic German wursts that you can have freshly grilled for you, accompanied by sides such as homemade pretzels, fried onion rings, crispy French fries, different sauces, or jalapeno. Typically, Germany is not popular as a wine country, but in fact, you might be surprised to find out that there are many high-quality German wines and now you can have them at Bismarck. You can even find completely alcohol free wine if you want the taste, without the hangover. Bismarck also sells a variety of German chocolate, leberkase, salami, cheese, coffee, and products for your home.
Alex-Fish is an on-line shop that offers more than 1400 seafood, fish, sushi, and Asian products from more than 30 countries. If you are a seafood lover and want to experiment with staple seafood dishes from all over the world, you can buy many different types of shrimp, prawns, crab, octopus, squid, shellfish, mussels, including luxurious items such as king crab legs or lobster tails. A variety of fish is also available that you cannot find in most of the regular shops in Sofia, such as red snapper, wild mahi mahi, fagri, black salmon, and many others. Alex-Fish also puts an accent on sushi and Asian products that are also typically hard to find in Sofia, such as panko breadcrumbs, tempura mixture, mirin, sticky rice, fresh lemongrass, wakame, many different types of nori, rice and tapioca starch, daikon, tonkatsu sauce, and more.
Small, but well-stocked, Little London is a shop that sells over 500 products explicitly delivered from the UK. From British ale to black pudding, traditional sausages, pork pies, crumpets, Scottish Haggis, and much more. Little London can satisfy your cravings for British treats and snacks. An English butcher regularly supplies the shop with freshly baked pork joints with the skin on, stock-dry cured bacon, British sausages, and gammon. No British shop can go without tea, so Little London offers real types of British tea for those of you, who honour the tradition of having the hot beverage at 5 pm or breakfast. You can also find Dutch frozen snacks Frikendellan, Bitterballen and Party Mix. Some quality British ale from the Black Sheep Brewery will make your dinner complete, such as Black Sheep Ale, Riggwelter, Velo pale ale, or Chocolate & Orange stout.