World-renowned artists, singers, performers and even sports personalities hail from the country of Armenia. It is the first country that had adopted Christianity completely and it is also the home of the oldest vineyard in the world! With an appreciation for the arts and just as well as making chess a part of the daily curriculum, these are just the beginning of instances that showcase the uniqueness of Armenia. This culturally rich country also has a rich cuisine that you must dive into right away! Herbs, meat, grains and vegetables all come together to make a regular appearance in most products from this cuisine which can even date back to talk about a considerable part of their history. Here’s a look at some of the unmissable food items to try from their kitchen:
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What looks mouth-watering in the picture is just as mouth-watering as it melts into your mouth! But what is it really? Meat, generally beef, is spiced up with onions, garlic, pastes and a whole seasoning of herbs. This mixture is then wrapped in either vine or cabbage leaves and cooked to produce this local favourite. Also, what may look bite-sized actually takes considerable amounts of effort on account of the kneading and other processes involved, so, make sure to give your regards to the chef!
Are you a part of the worldwide group of dumpling lovers? I know I am! From ones stuffed with prawn to mutton to chicken or just fresh veggies, the translucent skin leading to a stuffed interior is something a lot of us truly relish. Well, if you are part of this gang too, then the Armenian folks have something that they would like you to try, their very own form of dumpling. Meet the topik a local dish which is made even more unique as its key ingredient is chickpea. Tahini, cinnamon, potatoes, pine nuts, etc. all make this quite the fusion party in your mouth!
A visit to Armenia cannot be complete without biting into this flatbread that is eaten all over the country. Lavash has been eaten by the Armenian folk for centuries and possibly even a millennium! From meats to fresh veggies, kebabs with an array of sauces to the local style garlic yogurt, the lavash takes a number of forms and each comes out tasting lavishly, to say the least. The bread is made through a process involving first baking and then the most important flavouring of it by cooking it upon the Armenian tandoor called tonir. It is considered to be one of the tastiest breads in the world!
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If you are looking for something beyond the baked goodies, then how does a warm broth sound to you? Presenting to you a soup from Armenia, khash. The consumption of this dish isn’t simply a meal but almost akin to a ceremonial affair. The bowl containing it sits on top of a lit up candle to ensure that the flame keeps making it warm. At the same time, it is also draped to trap the heat inside itself. Prior to sipping into it, folks sitting around the dinner table may even make a toast or two depending upon the occasion for such a gathering.
As for things that beyond being simply delicious are also quite unique and rare to come across, there is a dish named basturma. This is a delicacy which involves air-dried beef strips. It can be made with lamb fillet too as an alternative. It is spiced up with fenugreek, cumin and turmeric amongst a blend of other herbs and spices as well. It can be served within a sandwich, a baguette or simply eaten away on its own. Although it might resemble a simple snack, its preparation into its spiced form is a time-consuming process which can even go as long as 2 weeks!
The Armenian kitchens love their yogurts! So, get prepared to see its seasoned forms accompanying your dishes, it being used as a regular side for main course options and in this case, even as a drink! Made with cucumber, herbs, mint, salt and pepper, this drink takes you dipping into a savoury taste. It is the perfect companion for hot summer days where it can leave you refreshed and cooled off in an instant. The dish is also quite popular on account of the addition of nutrients in it which makes it not just a tasty but also a healthy affair.
Now if your mind and even your tongue enjoys being left tickled by unique things as mentioned earlier, then hey, we have another one for you! The word ghampana in the Armenian language literally conveys being cooked in a covered pot. In its famous form it actually comes stuffed inside a pumpkin. Made for occasions such as New Year’s and Easter, it involves rice with raisins, nuts and walnuts. The ingredients are tossed and placed inside the pumpkin once it has been cleaned. The pumpkin is baked lightly on a greased pan to add a glaze to it as well. Then the carved pumpkin is cut into slices to be eaten along with each of the stuffing.
Now to make our ends sweeter, adding to the sweetness of ghampana is the sweetness of sudhjukh. The use of dry fruits is very common in Armenian cuisine, especially in their desserts. So, even beyond this one, there are a number of desserts that involve them. This sausage-shaped dish sees dry fruits stuffed inside a large sized dried grape. Once completed, it results in a candy like form that most cannot get enough of! Who’s feeling sweeeet?
So, fellow foodies, which dish are you going to bite into first and foremost?!
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