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Sofia Palace

ОбѢдъ на 3 мартъ 1935
Luncheon for 3 March 1935

Банички съ мозъкъ
Banitsa (a traditional baked Bulgarian pastry) filled with a mixture of sirene (white goat’s cheese), lambs brains, onions and mushrooms

Рилска пъстърва съ шампанско
Rila Trout (from lakes in the Rila Mountains of southwest Bulgaria) baked in Champagne

Агнешки бутъ гарниранъ
Roast Saddle of Lamb with Roast Vegetables

Грахъ съ масло
Buttered Peas

Кремъ Надежда
Baked Custard (similar to a Crème Brûlée) named after Boris III’s sister Princess Nadjeda


Menu dated 3rd March 1935

Luncheon hosted by Their Majesties Tsar Boris III and Tsarina Giovanna at the Royal Palace, Sofia, to celebrate Liberation Day from the Ottoman Empire.

This menu is for the Liberation Day celebrations, which were an annual event at the Palace to mark the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano between Russia and the Ottoman Empire at the conclusion of the Russo-Turkish War on 3rd March 1878.

Under the treaty Bulgaria was made an autonomous Principality with a much larger territory. The Principality eventually became a Kingdom in 1908.

Usually, menus at the table of the Bulgarian royal family were written in French. However, given the nationalistic nature of Liberation Day, this menu is written in Bulgarian and features the national dish of pastries, called Banitsa, stuffed with lamb’s brains bound in a sauce made from mushrooms and goat’s cheese.


The host of this luncheon, Boris III, had two particularly bad meals in his life: both food poisonings. In 1925 a palace chef allegedly put typhus germs into the King’s soup; who became extremely ill, but survived.

The second food poisoning was more successful. In August 1943 German Führer, Adolph Hitler, summoned Boris III to a meeting in Berlin. While the Bulgarian King had declared war on the distant United Kingdom and United States, he continued to refuse to involve Bulgaria in the war against the Soviet Union. Shortly after returning to Bulgaria for his meeting with Hitler, Boris III suddenly died from unexplained heart failure. It is widely concluded in history that the King had been poisoned by Hitler in an attempt to put a more obedient pro-German ruler in place of Boris III.

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Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria

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