How an apiary received as a wedding gift became an occasion for the return to Plovdiv of two newlyweds from Silicon Valley in California


Jen and Mitko have probably never imagined that they would turn their backs on their promising careers in the United States in order to return to Bulgaria and take care of the family apiary in the Karlovo region together. However, they decided to follow their hearts and move to continue the family tradition, passion and heritage in the production of the best honey in the world.

When they arrived in 2019, they first took a sightseeing tour of the country, where their goal was to decide where to settle, but unanimously chose Plovdiv. Along with honey production, Jen also works on creating new products, combining honey with other super foods – chili, hot peppers, ginger. As an artist, she also designs labels and packaging, and they are always accompanied by more experienced family members who help with experience and advice.

Part of the first Bulgarian honey, produced by their apiary, is already traveling across the ocean to California, and the young Katsevi family, together with a Bulgarian brewer, is currently working on creating a special mead recipe.

At the moment you can find their products online on their website or in specialized farmers’ bazaars, and Mitko and Jen Katsev don’t stop working together on various ideas to promote pure Bulgarian products and help restore the bee population.

Jen shared her impressions of Plovdiv for the only digital guide under the hills:

When friends visit Plovdiv for first time we go to…

The Old Town. After a nice walk up to the top of Nebet Tepe, we like to sit down for a Bulgarian meal at Rahat Tepe restaurant, where you get a panoramic view off the side of the Old Town hill. The ancient theater of Philippopolis is simply breathtaking. If it’s later in the day, we’ll stop by to listen to live jazz at Contrabass.

When it’s party time I go to…

We don’t party too much, but we do hang out at the bars. Hopium Taproom is our #1 favorite place to grab drinks because they offer the BEST and most diverse craft beers on tap (from IPAs, stouts, to sours) and a huge selection of bottled beers.

The most underrated place in Plovdiv is…

Maybe the Free Plovdiv Tour. I never went on it until a year after moving here and wish I had discovered it earlier! I learned the history behind all the sights I would see on a daily basis and it gave my experience of living in Plovdiv so much more depth and meaning.

A place in Plovdiv that always wows people is…

When we first moved to Plovdiv, we were living quite close to the Hadzhi Hasan Mahala. This “Gypsy quarter” is much nicer than the ones on the borders of the city, and there is actually a very famous Shkembe Chorba (tripe soup) place.

For a delicious food I usually go to…

Tams House in Kapana, owned and run by a couple who were Michelin star chefs in Napa, California (which was a frequent weekend trip destination for us before moving to Bulgaria)! They have an amazing menu with Asian and Latin inspired fusions. The entire 3 course meal for two cost about what the octopus alone (which by the way was made to PERFECTION) would have cost back in California.

For fast food, we love Taco Reyes. As a native Californian, and after trying all the other Mexican restaurants in Bulgaria, I can say with confidence they make the best tacos in the country!

The coolest place in town is…

Definitely Kapana. There is so much energy, great food, and colorful graffiti.

My alternative route in Plovdiv is…

The street behind the main pedestrian street “Otets Paisiy”, which took me months to discover because I was always taking the main street! There are several fine dine restaurants, excellent craft beer shops and bars, and an amazing donut shop.

My least favorite thing in Plovdiv

Poop and litter in the streets

Link: Expats in Plovdiv (Jen Katsev) (