Spanak Tseluvki or Spinach Kisses

Having an abundance of organic vegetables can be a creative challenge. In winter, when everything in my garden is dead, dormant or covered in snow, the hardy Spinach does amazingly well in the cold climate. These bags of greens require occasional imagination to keep them desirable. The leaves are packed full of nutrients such as Vitamin A…

Detoxing the mind, body and soul

Throughout my life I have been on restrictive diets for various health and welfare reasons, to eliminate physical problems and to care for the world around me. My first hand knowledge of dairy free, lactose intolerant, vegetarian, vegan and gluten free eating has meant we can offer all these specialist diets to our guests. The…

Redressing the Balance part 2

In October 2016, I wrote a blog on the devastation resulting from the heavy snowfall that fell in one night in March 2015. This caused a huge number of pine trees to topple, as the root system is not splayed out like an oak tree and so cannot support extra weight on top. Which then…

Gluten-free doesn’t mean missing out

One diet I often get asked to cater for at Melanya Mountain Retreat is gluten free. It is becoming widely known that our bodies find it hard to process certain foods and the glue that holds them together is often the culprit. Gluten is a protein that helps our favourite breads and pastries stay in…

2017 yearly roundup

A dramatic 2017 was the year of a very long hot summer after a dry winter, with very little rain for over 4 months and I was very aware of the forest fires that raged in Portugal and caused a lot of suffering. So when our mayor phoned me to tell me there was a…

Mountain Rescue Part 2

You never really think something is going to happen until it does and we have had lots of surprises in our remote village in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains. Living here we had become accustomed to the extreme environment and thought we had learnt from the last time someone got lost in these mountains but somehow…

Melanya Online Facelift

After many years of success with our original website, time has come for our rustic retreat to upgrade it’s digital space. A fully responsive experience that works well on all devices, together with mobile friendly forms, will ensure our visitors enjoy a quality online experience, similar to the quality experience found at our mountain retreat….

If only they could talk

and listen and understand… I’m talking about my farm animals of course. They all have their own languages to talk to each other but I wish they could speak mine. It would make life so much easier.  Like telling me when they’re ill and what the problem is… Chickens are the most vocal of my…

Super Soup

A very basic dish that I find one of the most rewarding because its so easy-to-make and packed full of healthy nutrition without the preservatives added in processing. Also a great way to use up surplus organic vegetables, wild mushrooms and the remains of roast meat. Soup can be enjoyed fresh throughout the year but also easily freezes…

Variety is the Spice of Life

In Bulgaria the four seasons are very different.  There is a vast difference between the hot and dry Mediterranean summers and the snow covered -20°C winters. Whilst we relished the chance to experience ‘proper’ seasons in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains, we had become used to the all-year-round availability of fruit and vegetables in UK supermarkets. Large…

2016 yearly roundup

After an easy winter and a dry start to 2016, the weather turned wet, with a rain shower almost every day until mid June. What followed though was the driest summer we’ve seen and our 13,000 litres of backup water storage wasn’t enough to keep us and our guest house low maintenance! Even now at…

Marrying the Old with the New

We feel incredibly lucky to have found our little piece of heaven in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains, a small but strong community village, frozen in a bygone era, and have embraced the old ways of living for health and happiness. Living a more rural way of life has many benefits but we’re glad we could bring…