‘A sublimely special offering in the heart of Sakar region.’
The Zaara Estate Hotel and Spa is far from ‘just’ a hotel. The facility’s wine production has been in operation for just a couple of years, and already it is winning fans, both in Bulgaria and abroad.
In fact, the Zaara Estate Dogma Syrah 2018, won Gold in the Balkan’s International Wine Competition 2019, and in the Spanish Escuela Espanola De Cata the Sliver Augustiada 2018, and it is of course, really very good, yet it was the wine tasting ‘experience’ at Zaara that really stole our hearts.
Zaara Estate’s wine tasting room is located in the centre of the hotel, and really wouldn’t look out of place in New York, London or Dubai. Furnished in sumptuous yet muted natural hues, the private tasting room is dominated by a vast wooden table allowing seating for up to 12 comfortably, furnished with local artworks and of course, taking central stage- the wine racks.
The experience allowed for five bottles, plus two large and completely unexpected platters of delicious freshly made bread and local cheeses.
Of the reds on offer at Zaara Estate, we opted for the Dogma Syrah & Cabernet Franc and the Dogma Red. The clear favourite was Dogma Red’s deep, dense and rounded mix of Merlot, Syrah And Cabernet Sauvignon, with notes of raspberry, dark chocolate and cinnamon. Slightly lighter, the Dogma Syrah & Cabernet Franc was by no means inferior and offered hints of white chocolate, forest fruits and spices.
With two white wines on offer at Zaara Estate, we decided to sample both. The Dogma Chardonnay was fruity with notes of peach and apricot, while the clear favourite was the light and summery Dogma Sauvignon Blanc.
Another ‘win’ for the winery was the fragrant Dogma Rose Syrah 2018, which has just secured a Silver award in the 2018 Balkans International Wine Competition and Festival. The wine offered hints of red fruits, apple and citrus, everyone agreed it was a perfect summer drink.
A compete surprise to the senses was the small sampling of the Estate’s newest creation a unique and not yet available on the market- Raspberry wine. Deep, fruity and completely unexpected, it was an instant hit everyone, especially the younger members of our group.
After such an engaging and interesting experience, no one was in any particular rush to leave, so we simply moved through to the outdoor dining area for a late lunch.
The location of Zaara Estate is extraordinary, yet as the drive approaches the hotel from the rear, it’s really only when you walk out to the ‘al fresco’ dining area, that you appreciate just how special the site really is. Located on a hill overlooking the region, on a clear day, Zaara Estate allows views of both the Rhodope and Stara Planina mountains, plus the vast Thracian plain lying between the mountain ranges.
And, the staggering views were not the only surprise either! The menu came as another very pleasant surprise, short and concise, with thoroughly contemporary dishes, all using the very best of local produce when ever possible.
We all know how fresh, unique and diverse the produce of Bulgaria really is, yet outside of the main cities it’s near impossible to find restaurants re-imagining them in a modern and international way. Yet Zaara Estate has clearly chosen to ‘buck this trend’ and craft a unique menu incorporating the very best produce from Sakar’s farmers and hunters with a few favourites from outside the area.
The leg of hare, stone baked silver carp, hock of Angus beef, pheasant fillets- stone baked, and the delicious roast quail stuffed with crispy bacon, were all sourced from local producers, while the baked Camembert, salmon fillets and ostrich options- quite obviously arrived from a little further afield.
The dishes at Zaara Estate are more expensive than the almost all local restaurants, with salads costing around 12 Leva, appetisers between 9 and 22 Leva and main dishes from 22 Leva to 46 Leva for the Black Angus Denver Steak. However, given the presentation, the setting, taste and inventiveness of each dish, the restaurant clearly distinguishes itself as something really rather unique in the Sakar region.
Cost: 20 Leva for five bottles/15 Leva for three bottles (regardless of the number of people attending)
Location: Glavan village, 50 minutes away from Konna Baza Sakar
Opening hours: Open 7 days/24 hours
Tel Number: +359 (0) 88 877 6605
Booking: Pre-booking required, ask for a translator for non-Bulgarian speakers
Ideal for: Celebrating special occasions, impressing visitors and satiating that need for a truly great beef steak!
What else should you do: Try the food, marvel at the view, check-out the Salt-room in the spa
Liked this? Then, read about our trip to Castra Rubra winery