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The Route of Cheese in the Eastern Rhodopes

On September 18th 2012, many guests, tourists, farmers and locals tasted the delicious home-made cheese, yoghurt and butter of the Huskov family during the opening of the tourist attraction “The Route of Cheese” in the family's sheep farm in the village of Plevun, Ivaylovgrad Municipality (Eastern Rhodopes). “The Route of Cheese” was officially opened by Ivaylovgrad Mayor, Diana Ovcharova, and the leader of the Bulgarian-Dutch project New Thracian Gold (NTG), Frank Zanderink.

The new attraction "The Route of Cheese" is developed and co-financed by New Thracian Gold during the period November 2011 - August 2012. The aim is through demonstrations of traditional farming and production techniques and tasting of home-made products to attract more visitors to the region. Visitors who will spend money in the regional economy and help improving this way the living standard of the local population. Tourists and visitors can witness the milking process and the production process of the yoghurt and cheese.

Miroslav Huskov expressed his special thanks to NTG for supporting "The Route of Cheese". "We had the idea in our minds, but it wouldn't have happened without New Thracian Gold”. He is member of the NTG network and the project supports him with training and co-finance.

Ivaylovgrad Mayor, Ms Ovcharova, wished Miroslav's example to be followed by more people in the region. "He is a man who does not complain and tackles the problems with his own hands," she pointed out. The NTG team leader, Frank Zanderink hopes that more and more tourists start to come to Ivaylovgrad and to the Eastern Rhodopes and the NTG project is actively working on its promotion. Michaela Kircheva, NTG coordinator on ecotourism said that attractions like "The Route of Cheese" will make Ivaylovgrad and the region a more appealing tourist destination.

Farmers and B&B owners from NTG’s network welcomed the Huskov family as their new partner and wished them success with the new activity.

The Huskovs have a herd of  300 sheep since 2004. In 2011, Miroslav Huskov won a competition of Green Balkan, financed by the German Foundation EURONATUR, for farmers in areas with a high biodiversity (Natura 2000 and Green Belt). The project plan of the Huskov family is approved for funding under the Operational Program Rural Development and the family will renovate two guest houses in Plevun village.

Since 2009, NTG tourism component has supported financially eight owners of guest houses in the Eastern Rhodopes. Two of them were approved for funding so far under the Program for Rural Development. So far, one project is completed. Three will submit their projects in October 2012 and the approval is expected in 2013. Other three have reconstructed their houses on their own.  NTG’s tourism component has funded a wide spectrum of eco-tourism stimulating initiatives: marking ecotrails, developing Trans-Rhodopean route, publishing a tourist map and an tourist guidebook, training courses for more than 100 entrepreneurs and farmers in the areas of Madzharovo, Ivaylovgrad, Stambolovo, Krumovgrad and Kardzhali, Kardzhali, organizing seminars for Kardzhali and Ivaylovgrad tourist guides and young people from of the Eco club Rodopi, the construction of a hide for monitoring and photographing wildlifein the Studen Kladenets reserve.

See here photos from opening of the Cheese attraction and herevideo reportage

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