Cuisine

Cuisine

Cheese, greens and lavash are steady participants of any Armenian meal. Genuine lavash is a thin, easily rolled, about a meter long stripe of unleavened dough backed on hot wall of underground oven (tonir) kindled with dry vine. Fresh lavash, which can be kept up to 6 months without being spoilt, is an important part of several rituals and ceremonies and is included in the UNESCO list of intangible heritage. Very tasty bread, matnakash, is baked of sour breed yeast dough. Important components of traditional Armenian cuisine are grass-based dishes. Cereals are used to prepare pilaf, to cook porridges, and to season soups, shorva and arganak. Prepared of the wheat flour is harishta (a kind of noodles) and khashil – made of browned grains flour. Armenians adore pungent appetizers; one can make sure of this by tasting basturma, beef dried in air and crusted with spices or sujugh, plain beef or lamb sausages filled with pungent relish. Armenians eat a lot of salads of interesting combinations of different ingredients. Armenia is still privileged with organic food, fruits and vegetables with their amazingly authentic tastes without any artificial modification. The most popular of sour-milk stuff is matsun, which is also used to cook spas, a soup with wheat cereals. The beaten matsun dilute by water, tan, is a cooling beverage indispensable in summer heat. Meat is first of all khorovats (barbeque), khashlama – boiled mutton in bouillon, and ghaurma – boiled meat, fried and coated with oil. Pride of national cuisine is tolma with grape leaves (matsun mixed with ground garlic being served to it) and kyufta, a dish of meat beaten with a mallet. The summer tolma is a very aromatic dish of meat-filled vegetables, mainly eggplant, tomato, green pepper. For aroma plum and quince are added. Traditional winter dishes are: harisa – porridge of wheat cereals with chicken boiled to filaments, and khash – Armenian national soup resembling cow-heel before cooling down. It’s prepared of wetted cow-shanks boiled in water until meat is completely separated from bones. In Armenia it’s also very common to produce wine out of fruits and berries, in particular pomegranate, blackberry, cherry, quince etc. Another pride of Armenians is the vodka made of varieties of fruits: mulberry, apricot, cornelian cherry etc. Due to its climate conditions especially the sunny weather, Armenia is gifted with amazingly mouthwatering fruits: apricot (endemic Armenian fruit called Prunus Armenicus meaning Armenian plum in Latin), peach, plum, cherry, apple, pear, melon, watermelon, pomegranate, varieties of grapes and berries. Armenians are fond of sweets. A very typical sweet is gata made of flour, butter, sugar and nuts. The gata making techniques and traditions vary from region to region. Armenia has really old traditions of storing or canning products in sweet, salty and other ways. Thus it’s land of wide selection of dry fruits, jams and pickles. A desert for important occasions is ghapama made of pumpkin, rice, honey, dry fruits and raisins and baked in the oven.

Bone appetite!!!

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