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Living in Bulgaria: Cost of One Week's Food

We are a working couple with no children who enjoy good food. We don't buy 'ready' meals as we find there is little real convenience with them. Not only do they not satisfy us but are full of all sorts of things which can be unidentifiable, preservatives and addditives. We love to eat well with a varied diet and have meat every day. At the end of the week we enjoy a relaxing dinner out in a decent restaurant. Many will have seen the "feed your family for a fiver a day" pitches from Tesco and Sainsbury. Anyone who has tried to do this has certainly found that it really is difficult to do.


Unless you buy everything from the 'budget range' or the 'date limit basket', then it's well nigh impossible, especially if you want to provide organic fresh fruit and veg and fresh good meat every day. Plus there is the risk of compromising on health and quality.


Cost of one week's food in Bulgaria

This is a sample of our last week's menu, together with costs, to provide a budget for :
• feeding two people for a week including breakfast, lunch and dinner
• having a midweek special treat
• going out to a decent restaurant for a nice meal on a Friday evening
• and having 16 meals ready for later in the freezer

All prices are in leva. The main meals generally feed more than two people, so two portions were eaten and the remainder frozen (see 'lunch feeds' comment for quantities made).

- yoghurt
- whole roast chicken with roast potatoes, carrots, yorkshire pudding, stuffing and red wine garlic gravy
- shopska salad

- scrambled egg and toast
- ditto from yesterday but this time with green beans for veg
- cheese sandwich

Costs for the weekend:

Breakfasts 2.20
Lunches chicken 8, veg 1, yorkshire puds 1, gravy 1 = total 11
Lunch Feeds : 8 total (plus the bonus of all the bits of skin and unwanted meat for the dog)
Dinners 1.00
- cereal
- home made cornish pasties with beans and leftover gravy
- tuna, mayo and tomato sandwich with leafy side salad

Breakfast 1.00
Lunch minced meat 4, veg .50, pastry 2, baked beans .50 = total 7
Lunch Feeds : 6 total
Dinner 4
Tuesday (special mid-week meal)
- yoghurt
- tomato soup, filet mignon of pork with sauted potatoes, sweetcorn, peas and prune sauce
- mixed salad with drizzle of balsamic vinegar, slice of cake

Costs (including mid-week lunch treat)
Breakfast 1.50
Lunch filet mignon of pork 3, veg 1.50, sauce 1 = total 5.50
Lunch Feeds : 4 total for the soup, 2 total for the filet mignon
Dinner 1.10
- tomatoes, baked beans on toast
- liver, bacon and onion casserole with two veg and mashed potato
- egg mayonnaise and salad

Breakfast 1.00
Lunch liver 3, veg and bacon 1.5 : total 4.50
Lunch Feeds : 6 total
Dinner 0.60
- fried eggs, slice bacon with toast
- chili con carne and rice
- baked potato with cheese, fruit

Breakfast 1.10
Lunch minced meat 4, red beans 1.50, rice .50 = total 6
Feeds : 6 total
Dinner 1.00
Friday (dinner in a restaurant)
- yoghurt or fruit
- cornish pasties and baked beans
- dinner out in a mid-range restaurant, starter and main course

Costs (including dinner out):
Breakfast 1.50
Lunch 0 (already made on Monday, from the freezer)
Dinner usually 30 with drinks




All food for the week plus 16 extra meals

At the end of the week, the total food bill, excluding dinner in a restaurant, has come to 50.00 leva (23.17 British pounds), compared with the average food bill in the UK for two people of 129.50 leva (60 British pounds).

We do take the mainland European view and serve jugs of water and fresh bread on the side with most lunches and dinners, preferring a small crispy loaf called 'pitka', which is only 0.25 leva a loaf (0.11 pence).

We additionally have dinner out once every week at a decent restaurant for the sum of 30 leva (13.90 British pounds) including drinks: compared with the average meal for two in a mid-priced UK restaurant being 86.35 leva (40 British pounds).

During the week, we take a glass of wine with our main meal (a couple of glasses at the weekend). Good reds (Cabernet Sauvignon) and the high quality white wines (Misket) bought directly from our local vineyard are 2.40 leva a litre (1.11 pounds a litre). Which means a glass of wine at home costs us just 0.27 leva (12 pence). A similar quality wine in Britain would be 9.20 leva (4.26 pounds) for a bottle of 75 cl, not for the full litre, which is 1.56 leva a glass (or 72 pence).

And let's not forget, having spent only 50 leva for the food, this has also made another 16 homemade meals which are in our freezer from this week, already paid for and just waiting to be eaten. Including 4 chicken curries made from the roast leftover, two cornish pasties, 2 tomato soup, 4 liver and bacon casseroles and 4 chili con carne!

The following week we would probably exchange the chicken roast for a joint of pork, then swap out the filet mignon for boeuf en croute (fillet of imported British matured beef, with homemade chicken liver and cognac pate, all in puff pastry). The boeuf en croute is an extravagence but only adds 5 leva (2.31 pounds) to the overall bill, so what the heck.  Changes would be made to the recipes for making other meals with the leftovers: swap chicken curry for chinese pork and, say, the pasties for lasagne, tomato soup for leek and potato, etc - again freezing those portions unused during the week.

Tip: When wishing to reheat frozen meals, don't empty the freezer box contents into a pan and heat directly as it loses too much flavour and liquid. Make sure you use boxes for freezing which will be alright in hot water. Take the freezer box with the contents and the lid still on, then bring a pan of water to the boil, gently place the meal in, lower the temperature and very gently 'poach' the whole box (if you have a bain marie, all the better). The water should only be hot enough that you can still dip your finger in and not be totally scalded. This way you seal the flavours in - try it, you'll taste the difference.


Incredible value

You'll be amazed how quickly you fill your freezer(s) and at the end of only two weeks you'll already have some 28 main meals with a different choice for every day of the week for the coming weeks- at no additional work and no extra cost!

Six weeks worth of main meals made with fresh organic ingredients - all for only 100 leva or under 47 pounds.

Note: Exchange rate correct at 21 September 2009 from