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Armenian Cuisine

Armenian Cuisine

The glory of versatile Armenian cuisine and its traditions is well famous outside the country. Almost everybody who traveled to Armenia from foreign countries adore and highly value Armenian cuisine with its abundance of meals and menus offered to general public.

Armenian pork barbecue, called “khorovats”, is probably the most famous and popular of all exciting dining dishes, a queen for all major events and dinners, and for wedding parties as well. One cannot simply pass away and stay indifferent from its tempting and charming smoke, magnificent aroma, baked vegetables, saturated with the smell of coals. How about a tenderly cooked oil dolma melting in your mouth! delicious? No words can describe their fascination and taste, simply fantastic and You Should Try It! All dishes of Armenian cuisine are wonderful and loved by travelers, still popular among locals as well. Let’s research and find out what is the historical background, the explanation for this phenomena, Armenia cuisine?

Traditions of local cuisine are dating back to ancient times, since the very first moments of Armenian civilization, about 2000 years ago. A wide selection of meals with meat; pork, beef, lamb in Armenian cuisine is justifying a very well developed cattle breeding in nowadays Armenia. This industry is also a source for many dairy products; particularly brine-ripened cheeses sorts and sour-milk products that serve as a basic ingredient for many traditional Armenian meals and beverages.

Developed agriculture of Ararat valley and other agricultural areas of Armenia has historically contributed to a wide application of diverse cereals in Armenian cuisine, all made of organic products;  spelt, millet, barley, wheat, rice; beans – string beans, lentil, mountain peas, not to say about the vast variety of organic vegetables and greens which are a corn-stones of Armenian dinners.

Armenians have traditionally done a lot of cooking on fire. The clay furnace has been named “tonir” and still preserves its name, being widely applicable in nowadays cuisine. Clay kitchen utensils have been popular for centuries. “Tonir” was widely used for baking bread, cooking mashes, fish and poultry, vegetables, soups and other dishes. Armenia’s contribution to world cuisine and some meals is very significant. Many authentic Armenian dishes and receipts are still popular and practiced in many European countries,  thanks to Persians and Turkish cuisine wider integration to western societies. It is mostly because their national cuisines has been influenced by Armenian over the past centuries. (for instance, dolma). Reciprocally, Armenians have inherited a lot of meals and receipts from Turkey, Iran and Arabian cuisines, which has also enriched Armenian culinary culture.

It is worth mentioning that cooking techniques for some meals are very sophisticated. Meat has one of the most difficult approaches to cook. Most fish and vegetable dishes require stuffing, whipping, puree; all that takes a lot of efforts and time and hard work of course. Dishes of chopped meat are very popular in Armenia, and local cuisine comprises all possible variations for that type of meals.

An important and indispensable component of Armenian cuisine is an abundance of greens on any dining table. There are lots of the green groceries and spices used in meal preparation process. On average, cooks and chefs in Armenian apply about 300 kinds of green, grasses and flowers that could be also used as seasonings or as basic dish as well.

The following spices and ingredients are very popular in cuisine: pepper, coriander, fenugreek, black pepper, mint, tarragon, basil, onion, thyme and of course garlic; combined with sweet ingredients; cinnamon, cardamom, clove, saffron and vanilla. Amazing, but reality that we need to consider – Armenian cuisine uses very little fats. Most of meals are prepared by melted butter, which is applicable for soup preparation, stewing and roasting of meats, poultry, fish and vegetables and sweet dishes. Vegetable oils are not so common in Armenian, and are basically used for some minor instances; for fish and some vegetable dishes (string beans, eggplants). Meanie, the sesame oil is very popular as well. Armenian cuisine in most aspects resembles other Caucasian countries’s cuisine. However, it differs significantly from Georgian. Meat is not always fried and cut in large chunks. It is also boiled, stewed or baked for many other meals and dishes.

All these makes Armenian cuisine unique, extraordinary and very delicious. It is an amazing opportunity and a real paradise for a gourmet and a real authority of culinary traditions.

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