Greek yogurt has been all the rage for so long it’s hard to remember what sort of subpar yogurts we were spooning down before. Now, one producer is hoping we’ll shift our yogurt preferences north and east to that hotbed of cultured protein, Bulgaria.
Atanas Valev is the man behind Trimona, a Bulgarian–style whole–milk yogurt brand made in New York State. Valev, an agricultural engineer who came to the US in 1991, custom-selected the live cultures for Trimona himself and brought them here from Bulgaria, a country with a surprisingly rich yogurt making history.
“Obviously people have been eating…yogurt for thousands of years,” Valev told FoodNavigator, “but the culture now used as standard in yogurt production was discovered by a Bulgarian microbiologist, Dr. Stamen Grigorov, back in 1905.” So though Bulgaria might not stir up the Mediterranean dreams of its Greek counterparts, Valev emphasizes his country’s unique place in yogurt history as part of the sales pitch. In fact, lactobacillus bulgaricus, the standard culture Valev is talking about that is used in yogurts around the world, is named after the Eastern European country.