The square in the center of Ivaylovgrad is surrounded by reflections of the town’s past. An old Communist Party headquarters has been transformed into something new and a monument to days past oversees passersby. A festival is held annually that celebrates the past in the present, bringing the traditions consumed around Thrace into one place. Surrounding the central square dozens of tables were erected, each section representing a different craft or village. The Huhla table (mentioned previously) was remarkably stuffed with delicious baked goods and the proprietors had a decidedly Hawaiian theme. Regional variations on banitza, here proffering rice and purslane or pogacas, both savory and sweet, filled with almond or cheese, exist in innumerable varieties. Local purveyors or honey and tahini are also present, along with a representatives from nearby Greece and Turkey. The Thracian Food Festival is a celebration of regional history and unity through food, and it does not seem to matter where it is from, as long as it is delicious. My particular favorite was potato kofte, also from Huhla, that was so delicious I went back for seconds. I cannot wait to return next year.
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