Bread as Experience – Bread Festival and Workshops
Bread and bread-making are an integral part of the Bulgarian culture. As bread has been traditionally a main food for the Bulgarian people, bread-making is accompanying every traditional rite, custom and holiday in Bulgaria. Historically, the art of bread-making was and secrets of making traditional breads were passed from generation to generation within the families. Nowadays when the majority of the people relocated to the cities and towns, got used to purchasing industrially-produced bread and lost the immediate connection with the land and tradition, the families started to lose that traditional knowledge. In order to revert the trend, many cultural centres and education institutions began to organise festivals and culinary master classes on bread-making. Thus, participation in bread-making events – particular on the eves of the major religions holidays – has become a popular trend in urban culture as well as family-reunion and team-building. Bread-making classes are offered to visitors and tourist as special-interest tourism products as well.
Dobrich Municipality – regional centre of Dobrudhza area, known as Bulgaria’s granаry as well – organises a traditional Bread Festival every year in September. The festival takes place on the central square of the town of Dobrich. The programme includes culinary demonstrations, workshops for children and adults, traditional product exhibitions, competitions for the slection of the best home-made bread and pastry, folklore and modern music performance and so on.
Tents, hosting workshops reconstructing different periods in Dobrudhza’s history, are pitced in the square during the festival days. Each tent represents its period with typical bread, ritual, table and clothing. The organisers want to stage all important steps in ritual bread making - from the first kneading with crushed grains and salt to the nine-times sifting of the flower. Visitors are able to take part the workshop in each tent, making something related to the era –either bread or traditional craft item - with the help of moderators.
In the “Prehistory” tent, necklaces from shells and bone figures of the mother goddess are made. In the “Antiquity” reenactors play Roman and Thracian women at a royal bread feast and the visitors can make pasta mosaics. In “the Middle Ages” old authentic scales are used to weigh wheat, men's and women's caftans from the period are on display, and the visitors can make rulers' coats of arms and dough figurines. The” Renaissance” present the ritual of traditional bread-making and the visitor can elaborate model bread decorations on the spot.
The instructors and students of the vocational schools in tourism and culinary arts interpret the traditional recipes as to the modern culinary techniques and food taste.
Technologies are used to enhance the visitors’ experience. The place and function of bread in different historical eras - Prehistory, Antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance and Modern times, is presented through 3D computer visualizations and exposition tours.
The Art Galley of Dobrich feature reproductions of paintings from the Gallery's collection dedicated to bread and Dobrudzha. Against their background, visitors are able to have their photo taken with appropriate costume and props.
Bread festival finished with a flashmob "Together to knead", in which everyone will be able to join in the great bread kneading, receiving flour, salt and water on the spot.
Key partners and supporters
The Bread Festival is part of Dobrich’s cultural calendar. It was supported by the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture through the National Culture Fund. The Regional Historic Museum, Art Gallery and Cultural clubs (“chitalishta”) in Dobrich are the local partners – particularly regarding the re-enactments. The Culinary Arts Institute is a partner that organised the master classes in bread-making and brings the traditional recipes in the modern professional kitchens.
Participants, local community and customer segment
The Bread Festival and workshops welcome visitors from all over Bulgaria and abroad. The number of participants - both exhibitors and tourists - has been increasing year by year.
Communication and dissemination channels
The organizers of the bread festival and workshops carried out marketing steps, which helped raise people's awareness. A number of social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as thematic web-sites for tourism and travel have been widely used for the promotion of the event. The festival programme has been announced on the regional and national media – particularly the news agencies, TV and radio-stations.
Specific elements and features
The bread festival is organised in the of Dobrich. It can be easily reached on foot, by bicycle or public transport form anywhere in the town. Parking options are available for those who prefer to use their private vehicles to reach Dobrich from the neighbouring villages and towns. There is a bus-line connecting Dobrich and the district centre of Varna that runs every 15 minutes.
The bread-making workshops are organised in Dobrich and Varna, in training kitchens at the campuses of the Varna University of Management that are located in the centres of both towns. The visitors can reach them on foot, by public and private transport easily at the times when the workshops are organised.
Images Sources: Dobrich Regional Historic Museum
Dobrich, Central Square;
Dobrich, Culinary Arts Institure at 3 Bulgaria Street
Varna, Culinary Arts Institute at 13a Oborishte Street
Bread Festival is organized annually in September in Dobrich.
Masterclasses for bread-making are organised on the occasion of main holidays – Christmas (December) and Easter (April), as well as ad hoc.
Organizer and contact information
Dobrich Municipality, Regional Historic Museum Dobrich
Culinary Arts Institute (for the master classes)