After-midnight Snack

When the city is asleep, there is always somebody that is awake; somebody that is clubbing and dancing, somebody that is studying hard or writing a paper, but in the men time there is also people who just stay up waiting to look after the late-nighters.

Being far away from home and living alone in a campus, makes me miss a lot of little details from the living-with-my-parents life. What I personally seem to be missing a lot lately, is the after midnight fridge check (as I used to call it). I miss that feeling of being hungry late at night and being able to cook something for yourself, or just have you mom make something for you! The student life unfortunately does not please you that well, that often. But conducting a student life life-style though, teaches you how to use subsidies very well.

There is a place near my campus that can please late-nighters, and hunger very well at the any hour of the night, or morning. And if you ask any AUBG-er about getting an after-midnight snack, I bet they will lead you to 3 AM Banica. For all of you who don’t have a clue what I am talking about I will explain briefly.

Coming and living in Bulgaria, made me learn a lot of tradition and getting familiar with the culture as well. At the beginning you might as well pass through a culture shock! But it takes just a little time to appreciate everything that Bulgaria has to offer you; you get to appreciate even the little simple things like Banitsa.

Banitsa is a traditional Bulgarian food, prepared by layering a mixture of whisked eggs and pieces of cheese between filo pastry, in simple word it is a sort of cheese pie. This kind of filo dough pies, are typical for middle-eastern and Balkan cuisine, and in the Bulgarian they are the usually the typical breakfast.

The 3 AM Banitsa, also known as Jumaica, is the place where almost every AUBG-er gets their early breakfast, or late night snack. Krasimira is the nice blond lady that takes care of us when we are craving banitsa  after 3 am.

My and my friends happen to visit her a lot, but tonight was the first night that I really got to know her. “I have been doing this for 12 years” she told me, and right there I understood why that banitsa tastes so freaking good! She also bakes pica, jumaica, and croissants, but what seems to be the most sold is the banitsa. She opened the business a long time ago,

“This is a family business. When we first started it, the whole family involved. I have 2 sons, and since they were in high school they have halped me a lot. Now the elder one works at the police station and is very busy so of course he cannot help me anymore. The younger one is in England. They were brought up with the love that banitsa gives people every morning.”

She stars preparing and baking banitsa everynight from 1am- 3am, and at 3 am sharp she opens her little shop which stays opened until noon. She confessed that even though it’s tiring, she works with a lot of passion and pleasure.

“Meeting a lot of people, and getting to know them gives me a lot of incentive. There is a lot of people that come here just to get something, and that make feel good, that give me some kind of incentive for my work, students from AUBG too, or even you for example, all of these make me love my job”

Of course, AUBG students are not the only ones that buy banitsa from Krasimira, she told me that a lot of taxi drivers, body guards, people that coming from clubs and bars go there very often too.

I am one of those people that is usually awake when everybody is sleeping. And is 5 am now and I am still working on all the little things that I should have done during the day. It’s already Monday and most of you have a busy week ahead.

And don’t forget, when the city is asleep there is for sure somebody that is baking too…       

                               baked banitsa, pizza, jumaica  unbaked banica

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Sweet Business

The sweetest a business can be, is to be profitable and easy at the same time. And when you think about it, what can be better in business than combines these both: easiness and big income?

I am double majoring in Business Administration and in Journalism Mass media Communications, so as a curious amateur journalist and also as a future business administration graduate, I decided to find out more about what exactly is considered as a “Sweet Business”.

Starting the blog recently, inspired me and made me wanting to know more if people who are into the desserts industry, do it because they love it, or because it is profitable. For instance, Dunkin Donuts it’s a huge American donut, baked goods company as well as a coffee chain. This company is not only established in US but it has branches all over the world, and this makes it a global company. The profits that Dunkin Donuts makes, to me, are unimaginable. And isn’t this what all business people want; A well-established company that is known by everybody. Add to that formula a bunch of sugar, chocolate and caramel, and tell me if this kind of business is not sweet!

In order to discover more about the subject of sweet businesses, I did my own little research in the city where I’m living, Blagoevgrad. Blagoevgrad is a city in Bulgaria, that I thought is not very big but it turns out to be quite the opposite. I study in an American University here, and the dorm where I live, and the community I am part of is a pretty closed community, so I cannot say that I am an active citizen of Blago. “Baking Love” pushed me out of my comfort zone this time. I went out there in search of a sweet business without even having a precise idea what was I actually looking for! And… there it was, right in front of my eyes: “Ani’s Donuts” just behind Prego Restaurant. I went inside of the store to get a donut to my morning coffee, and on my way back to classes, I was so satisfied and happy that I had randomly found a donut shop in Blagoevgrad (I almost thought the only thing they have for breakfast in Blago is banitca). I just wanted to meet the person who started that business, and moreover I was curious about the name that coincided to be the same as mine, Ani. So long story short, I bring my Bulgarian friend with me one day and just go there. We asked if I could interview the owner of the place, and the old nice lady just called her immediately and gave us the phone. So we set an interview place and date.

I finally met Ani on Saturday. She had two lovely kids, and she was the kind of person who would smile the whole time. Lucky me, she could speak Greek, and my best friend is fluent in Greek too, so she translated for me the whole time. Ani offered us some coffee and donuts during the interview to make the interview even friendlier. Her business in Blagoevgrad is pretty new. She started it a year and a half ago. It took me just a simple question to understand how much she actually loves what she does. I asked her how does this business affect her life… “Mine? My life? It sweetens it!! I like it! I like it very, very much!”

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Let’s turn the oven on…

First rule in baking is to ALWAYS turn on the oven a couple of minutes before you actually put something in it. So to heat up the atmosphere, I decided to make a short introduction of my on my very first post. I started this blog because I believe that love and sweetness can be found in small things or activities of your everyday life; things like reading a book, taking random photographies, having an early morning coffee with a dear friend, watching a movie at 2 am when you have a 9 am class, and other things as such. I discovered that besides all the above mentioned what I also enjoy and love doing is baking.

My relationship with baking started a summer ago when I got my very first job as a cup cake decorator. I had never baked before in my life… I only used to enjoy what my mother would bake for me. At the beginning, I didn’t really  take the job that seriously, because to me it was just a summer job. But those cupcakes that I used to bake and decorate, made me realize that pleasure can be found even in them. This is how I started exploring by putting different kind of ornaments or frostings on them, finding different recipes or even inventing new ones. It was a very pleasant way to start my day, and it was even more pleasant watching people loving them. They would buy my cupcakes for weddings, for big events, or just to sweeten up their cup of coffee.

Getting back on track, the reason why I really started this blog is to find out about other people that share the same passion as me, and to find out how much love can you put in the oven, and how much love can you get out of it 🙂