”To taste good, the dish must be seasoned with love” – they say in Armenia.
Armenian cuisine is as old as Armenia’s history, one of the oldest in Asia. It is a combination of different tastes and flavours. Already in ancient times, the Greek historian Xenophon and the warlord Alexander the Great admired Armenian national dishes.
The development of Armenian cuisine began as early as 1000 years before Christ. Bread is the most important food in Armenia. It plays such a central role that in Armenian the words “have breakfast”, “have lunch” and “have dinner” are replaced with the expression “eat bread”. The typical Armenian bread is “lavash“, a very thin flat bread made of flour, water and salt. Traditionally, it is baked in a “tonir”, a special oven made of clay with a fire burning in the middle. The thinly rolled out lavash dough is stuck to the walls of the oven and baked until it blisters. In the villages of Armenia, lavash is often baked in stock and then dried. Piled up in several layers and covered, it keeps for several months. If necessary, it is “refreshed” with water.
Խորոված/Chorovats – grilled food – very popular are various grilled meats, be it pork, beef or lamb with the combination of grilled vegetables: aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, etc.
Fish is also very popular in Armenia. In the past, even Armenian princes had extra ponds dug to breed fish such as trout in. In addition, Armenian agriculture provides an almost unmanageable variety of fresh fruits and vegetables such as apricots and peaches, both of which originated in Armenia and were brought to Greece by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC, from where they came to Rome. Other examples are cherries, apples, grapes, figs, pomegranates, pears, quinces, plums, oranges, lemons, a wide variety of melons, pumpkins, aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, cabbage, onions, potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts, etc.
Another special feature of Armenian cuisine is the abundant use of herbs and wild plants.
The production of wine and brandy in Armenia has a long tradition. Historians have found that the history of wine cultivation goes back more than 6000 years. The dry and warm climate, the nutrient-rich soil of the Ararat Valley and the soft water from the mountains provided favourable conditions for this. According to legend, Noah planted the first vine on Mount Ararat after the Flood. Armenian wine was very popular in antiquity and even today you can find vessels in which wine was stored at archaeological excavation sites. In addition, some good beers are brewed in Armenia, such as the brands Kilikia, Kotayk, Dilijan, Erebuni, etc.
For those who love to discover culinary adventures, Armenia is just the right case.