Armenian national cuisine

 

It is impossible to immerse oneself in Armenian culture and not to try Armenian national dishes. The cuisine here is so rich and various, that it will satisfy the tastes and preferences of any tourist. Even the most rigorous gourmets won’t remain indifferent. Armenian cuisine is one of the most impressive things visitors are offered to explore in Armenia.  The cuisine reflects the history and geography where Armenians have lived as well as incorporating outside influences and not only the history of the people, but his mentality, spirit and character.

Armenian cuisine is the most ancient in the Caucasus region, it is as ancient as its history, as the land it is standing on. Armenian culinary traditions are over 2000 years old.

Armenian cuisine distinguishes itself from other regional cuisines in the following ways:

  • The flavor of the food relies on the quality and freshness of the ingredients rather than on spices.
  • The extensive use of fruits and nuts in dishes. Of primary use are: dried apricots, fresh quince, fresh apples, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts (the latter mostly in Cilicia).
  • The use of pickles and pickled vegetables in foods.
  • The use of fresh herbs either as spices or as accompaniments.
  • The extensive use of stuffed items. In addition to grape leaves, Armenians also stuff cabbage leaves, Swiss chard leaves, eggplants, zucchini or squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, various meats (particularly organ meats), whole fish, apples, quince, and even cantaloupe.

All these features make Armenian dishes unique, unrivaled, delicious and fragrant - a real treat for any gourmet and connoisseur of true culinary traditions.

 

Soups

 

Soups in Armenian cuisine are very popular. Soups are prepared both based on meat broths and from fermented milk products. Lots of greens are used to give a special flavor and as a decoration of dishes.

The most known Armenian soup is called khash (from “khashel” – to boil). It is prepared from beef hooves and tripe. Traditionally Armenians eat khash in the early morning, before breakfast, or at breakfast, adding chopped garlic and plenty of spicy greens.

Spas – Spas is an Armenian soup made of matsun (like yoghurt) and cracked wheat. The soup might contain onions as well.

Bozbash is the soup from young lamb and big peas. The large chunks of meat together with small bones are semi cooked. Then they are removed from the broth and slightly fried.

Yaini - soup from beef with dried pitted and halved apricot

Tarkhana – a version of chicken noodles

 

Meat Dishes

 

It is hard to imagine an Armenian table without meat products.

Harisa  is one of the most beloved dishes of Armenian cuisine. It is made of cracked wheat and chicken meat, mutton or beef. They are cooked in water and are mixed until they turn into a porridge-like substance.

Barbecue is prepared here using special Armenian recipes and is called “khorovats”. Armenians usually make barbecue from pork or chicken.

Delicious, appetizing, delightful… This is how Armenian tolma could be described. It is usually made of grape or cabbage leaves. Among other must ingredients are ground meat (beef), onion, rice and various spices (savory, basilic).

 

Kyufta – tender meat balls made from specially beat meat boiled in broth.

Tisvzhik – beef heart, liver, lungs, and lard are cut into identical slices and then fried a pan until semi cooked.

 

Bread and Farinaceous Dishes

 

Traditional bread of Armenia– lavash (unleavened wheat cake) – is loved all over the world. Armenian cuisine without lavash simply does not exist. Not without a reason the expressions meaning to eat, have dinner, have breakfast, have supper in Armenia are replaced with one – “to eat bread”. It has been included in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2014.

Also popular is bread of oval or round shape called matnakash and small cheese sandwiches - durum.

 

 

Fish

 

Fish dishes are also very popular in Armenia. Different types of fish are bred in Lake Sevan, but the most delicious is a trout, which is called “ishxan” – “a royal fish”. The fish is boiled, stewed, fried, and cooked on skewer or on coal. Traditional fish dishes are kchuch and kutap.

 

Sweet Dishes

 

Do you have a sweet tooth? Armenian cuisine has something special for you too. Gata is a multi-layered cake, each layer of which is saturated with melted butter and sugar. That’s why it has such soft dough and delicate flavor.

Alani - dried peaches and other fruits stuffed with nut paste and fructose as well as raisins and other stuffing.

A sudjukh is a must for any feast and New Year tables. It is prepared from grape syrup and walnuts.

Armenia is also famous for its dried fruits. Dried fruits are Armenia's national treasure. Armenian manufacturers have come up with a new technology to make dried fruits tastier and healthier. Dried fruits are added to baked goods, breakfast, sweets.

 

Traditional Drinks in Armenia

 

Armenia highly appreciates the culture of consumption of traditional drinks. Among the Armenian soft drinks the most popular are local Jermuk mineral waters as well as matsun, an analogue of kefir. After an abundant repast the Armenians prefer to have “surch”, i.e. coffee. The most popular national alcohol drink is cognac made from selected grape varieties, grown in the Ararat Valley. In addition, the traditional alcohol drinks are represented by mulberry vodka “Artsakh” and Armenian wine.

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