Armenian Cuisine resembles a poetry where each verse has its own flavor. It guides us to the feasts of the rulers, the shepherds and the monks, enriched with the ancient Hellenistic and Middle Eastern receipts.
The essence of the Armenian cuisine is in its myriads of big and small secrets. Poems were written about it and got an epic reflection.
Various herbs, fish, meat, dairy, bread, salt and spring water combined with the art of cooking give the Armenian Cuisine its subtle and unique taste.
Cheese, herbs and lavash (traditional bread) are the indispensable components of the Armenian table. Every Armenian longs for the traditional bread lavash in any part of the world.
Lavash is baked in toneer which is a round-shaped clay oven dug into the ground. Lavash has an oval shape and 2-3 mm thickness. Armenians use lavash to wrap herbs, cheese, khorovats and other kinds of food.
Alexander Dumas was very impressed with the Armenian khorovats (BBQ) during his trip to Caucasus. He was recommending his French friends to taste it. Lamb, veal or pork are used for cooking khorovats. The meat is specially chosen, marinated and then cooked on metal skewers. Whole lamb or goat is stuffed with rice or cracked wheat and hung into toneer.
Another famous dish of the Armenian traditional cuisine is kyuftah which is prepared from minced veal.
Dolma is prepared from ground meat which is wrapped up either in grape leaves or cabbage. In summer they stuff also eggplants, tomatoes and peppers. Grape leaf dolma is served with madzoun and garlic.
Armenian cuisine has a few dishes related to the winter season. Armenians skillfully smoke meat, fish, poultry. One of the most popuar winter dishes is ghavurma which is fried veal or lamb put in terracotta jars and kept under the soil.
From ancient times Armenian Cuisine is famous for its fish dishes. Rivers and lakes of Armenia are rich in fish. Lake Sevan is especially known for its variety ishkhan, bakhtak, sig, beghlu, koghak.
Madzun (yogurt) is an indispensable from Armenian table. Madzun is used for making spas and tanapur (traditional soups) and to marinate meat.
Armenia is famous for its fruit - pomegranates, apricots, grapes, peaches, pears and figs. Armenians are superb winemakers. Today you may try not only wide range of Armenian grape wines but also very tasteful pomegranate wine. And the Armenian cognac has been world famous renowned for a long time. Great cognac gourmet Winston Churchill preferred to drink only Armenian cognac.
Here are some typical Armenian dishes:
Harisa – porridge made of wheat and sodden fibered chicken
Basturma – dried beef in spicy covering (caraway, garlic, red pepper)
Dolma (or tolma) – ground meet wrapped in grape leafs
Qufta – tender meat balls made of stewed beef
Lavash – national unleavened wheat bread
Zhengyalov Hats - a baking stuffed with greens, typical for Republic of Nagorno Karabagh
Lahmajo – patties with ground meat, tomato sauce and pepper
Spas – soup made of tan (yogurt) and wheat
Sujukh – thin dried sausage
Ghaurma – boiled and fried meat, covered with butter
Khash – national soup made of macerated beef shins
Khashlama – boiled beef in broth
Khorovats – barbeque