Armenian cuisine is more than two thousand years old and it still looks good!
What are the traditions of the Armenian culinary?
The Armenian cuisine is one of the oldest in the world. On the basis of archeological excavations, scientists came to the conclusion that two and a half thousand years ago, Armenian people already knew fermentation process in bread baking. Such modern popular dish as shish kebab (khorovats) dates back to high antique.
Armenian food has an original and pungent flavor. Pepper, cumin, various vegetables and garlic are used as spices. It was estimated that for food preparation Armenian culinary specialists use about 300 types of wild grasses and flowers which are used as spices and even as main dishes. The reason for that can be a favorable climate and a variety of flora supplying the oriental cuisine, particularly Armenian, with various ether-bearing plants.
The Armenian cookery widely uses beef and mutton; pork is seldom used. They cook an original Armenian dish stuffed with minced meat, rice and sweet grasses –Tolma - from fresh grape leaves in spring and from apples, quince, eggplants, pepper and tomatoes in autumn.
Besides vegetables and meat, in the diet of Armenians, farinaceous and groat dishes occupy an important place. Flour is used for Arishtu - original noodles, wheat grits for Arisu porridge with chicken, rice is good for different types of so popular pilaw.
From old times Armenia is famous for fish dishes what is conditioned by the geography of the Armenian Mountains; the rivers and lakes of Armenia are rich in such fish, as Sevan trout, whitefish, karmrahait (lemming), etc. Many Armenian kings and naharars (governors) in order to provide fish stocks created special reservoirs where they farmed especially valuable fish, such as brook trout. Fish was cooked, fried with oil, on a spit, on coals, stuffed with spices.
Bread occupies a special place in the diet. Lavash is an indispensable attribute of a feast. It is a long thin easily folded strip of yeast-free dough about one meter long. Even now, lavash is baked in ancient tonirs (clay furnace of a cylindrical form dug in the ground). Tonir is heated with either brushwood, or manure cakes. It heats up quickly and the dough layer put on it easily bakes. Along with bread, cheese must be on any Armenian table. From time immemorial, they make various types of cheese out of cow, sheep and goat milk in Armenia. Some sorts of cheeses are made and stored in the jugs dug in the ground and in wineskins. In some kinds of cheese, various sweet grasses and seeds that give original flavor and aroma are added.
The Ararat Valley is rich in juicy fragrant fruit such as apricots peaches pomegranates cornelian cherry pears plums grapes fig quince and etc. Dried fruit, candied fruits, compotes, juices and jam are made of them. As a dessert , in the Armenian cookery dried peaches stuffed with crushed nuts with sugar are very popular. Honey 16-layer baklava melts in the mouth.
For Armenian cuisine, however, as well as for other national cuisines of Transcaucasia, it is typical to select not only tasty, but also extremely healthy products, which in a combination with clean mountain air have glorified the Caucasus as the land of long-livers. Come to any Armenian region, and any Armenian of an average age will tell you that his grandmother (or grandfather) is fit as a fiddle, feels good, is still active and hot-tempered. Most likely, sound health, cheerfulness and vigorousness result from the quality of food. Healthy food actually helps to be strong, and why not to remember a Latin saying about “a sound mind In a sound body "?!