Watermelon with Bulgarian Cheese

A popular summer snack recipe in Israel is watermelon with Bulgarian cheese. It’s sweet, it’s salty and best yet it requires little preparation. Simply cut up a watermelon and sprinkle chunks of Bulgarian (Bulgarit) cheese on it and that’s it! Curious to know more about Bulgarian cheese? Read on . . .

Watermelon Snack

What is Bulgarian cheese and where can you find it?

Bulgarian cheese, or Sirene, is a Balkan cheese similar to Feta. It’s a briny (salty) cheese and comes in blocks. It’s not commonly found outside of the Middle East and Balkans. In Israel, it’s referred to as “Bulgarit.” You can substitute sheep or goat’s milk feta, though it must be high in fat and salt!

What kind of Bulgarian cheese should I buy?

During most of the year, you can find Bulgarian cheese from goat, sheep and cow’s milk in the Middle East and Balkans. I recommend goat’s milk first, which is not always available. My second choice is sheep’s milk, which is a bit easier to find than goat’s milk and just as tasty, just a bit more creamy. And finally, cow’s milk. No matter which milk you choose, don’t skimp on the fat.

Which brand Bulgarian cheese is the best?

Unfortunately, I’m not very happy with any of the brands available in most supermarkets (in Israel). Most of them have additives and preservatives that I’d rather not eat, though in a pinch I’ll make do. Find freshly made Bulgarian cheese in the souk (shuk) or farmer’s market of your choice. Purchase it in a large block and be sure to have the seller leave it in its own brine.